January 18, 2022

A review of Russel Brand’s ‘Under the Skin’ podcast

Russel Brand began his podcast in 2017. There was nothing quite like it before, and there has been nothing quite like it since he started doing it.

Russel Brand’s very odd attitude towards Sophie Scott

Russel Brand interviewed Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist in July 2017.

I found Brand’s contributions annoying, disrespectful and sickening.

In particular, he:

  1. Caller her gorgeous, twice, at the beginning of the show.
  2. Talked over Scott.
  3. Interrupted Scott, by making jokes.
  4. Interrupted Scott, by asking irreverent questions, which made it all the more harder for Scott to maintain her train of thought (though she managed Brand very well, investing a lot of time and energy laughing him off).

It might be that this was because:

  • Brand was early on in his series, and he was getting caught up between wanting to be the funny monkey and being an interviewer.
  • Brand was interviewing a woman.
    • Did Brand have an issue with Scott because she was a woman? Or because she was a woman who was behaving sincerely and humbly?
      • Why the hell did he call her gorgeous? It seems like his evaluation of her looks or appearance, when she was on the show to talk about what she knew, was an attempt to establish domination. Brand was communicating very early on, that this show was about him and what he thought, rather than her.
      • But why the dysfunctional power grab, a very damaging move for an interview?
        • Scott came across as knowing her stuff, but happy to defer to Brand’s antics, rather than someone who felt their authority should be respected. Brand it seemed, felt nervous that Scott’s sincerity wouldn’t be as attractive and as entertaining to his listener, as he might have wished for. That is to say his use of comedic rants to destroy and nudge Scott from the limelight, was a safety blanket grab, to protect his ego. But in so doing he destroyed much of the interview, for the listener as much as for the interviewee.

Brand tried the same thing with Andy Puddicombe in January 2018, but Puddicombe worked Brand differently. He ‘urghhed’ and ‘urghhhed’ for as long as it took to Brand to finish off his joke, laugh at his own joke, and then allow for a pause. In other words, Puddicombe allowed Brand to explode and then burn himself out and as Brand paused for breath, Puddicombe took u p from where Brand interrupted him. I think this technique, perhaps, lessened Brand’s interruptions, as a parent sets a boundary with a child by responding calmly and failing to reward outbursts in a child.