For the always-unpredictable, never-dull Russell Brand, life was not meant to be lived quietly. The Essex-born comedian, author, actor and overall loose cannon has embarked on his world tour “Messiah Complex,” and all eyes are glued to the thunderous philosophy-meets-comedy act. Before he performs at Balboa Theatre on Friday, September 6, get to know the man of many brands.
1. Brand’s big break in the States came in 2008, when he played obnoxious, eccentric rock star Aldous Snow in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” opposite Kristen Bell. The character soared, and so did Brand. He went on to play the same role in “Get Him to the Greek” in 2010 with Jonah Hill. Before Brand became a U.S. sensation though, he was widely known in the United Kingdom as the host of “Big Brother’s Big Mouth,” a commentary spin-off of “Big Brother.”
2. Brand’s brash humor and controversial, sometimes erratic behavior has caused him a few setbacks in his career. Back in 2000, Brand’s gig as a video-journalist on MTV had him touring European nightclubs on the show “Dancefloor Chart.” That stint ended abruptly when he showed up to work dressed as Osama bin Laden the day after September 11, 2001. Although he was fired, MTV didn’t hold a grudge forever; Brand went on to host the 2008 and 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, both receiving high ratings.
3. The comedian penned his journey from a childhood in Essex through a serious drug addiction and into a successful Hollywood career in his 2007 memoir “My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs and Stand-Up.” While typically one memoir will suffice, in 2010, Brand wrote “Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal,” which chronicled more of his debauchery inside the world of celebrity.
4. The spotlight on Brand’s personal life turned up a few notches when he began a high-profile relationship with pop-singer Katy Perry. The two married in 2010 in a traditional Hindu ceremony in Rajasthan, India, the same spot where he had proposed. Of course, the marriage didn’t last long – after 14 months, he filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. More of the couple’s struggles and downfall were revealed – in 3D – when Perry released her autobiographical film “Katy Perry: Party of Me” in 2012.
5. “Messiah Complex” is Brand’s latest expedition, a controversial comedy show of sorts that examines Jesus Christ, Che Guevara, Gandhi and Malcolm X as men who may have had a messiah complex of their own. The act is said to look at “the importance of heroes in this age of atheistic disposability,” but with Brand, you never really know what you’re going to get. The tour was scheduled to start in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon, but those tour dates were canned due to safety concerns.
8 p.m. Friday, September 6. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., downtown. $37.50 reserved seating. (619) 570-1100 or sandiegotheatres.org