Russell Brand - The Russell Brand Show - The Best of What's Legal
Controversy fans, time to pull on your best pair of snake-hip-makin' drainpipes and cuddle up to your favourite dandy. Of course, said dandy is presented in audio form here but, after three hours plus of archive radio material, you'll feel like you're as pally with Mr Brand as his right wing man, Matt Morgan. In a comprehensive boxset, comprising three discs and a DVD, the Radio 2 show that landed Brand and Jonathan Ross in so much trouble last year gets what is effectively a 'best of' retrospective. Those who were aligned with Andrew Sachs probably won't come round to Brand's way of thinking but, for everyone else, this is edgy comedy at its finest and most dangerous.
Inevitably, the first disc kicks off with an introduction wherein Brand acknowledges the furor of six months ago, before admitting it was only a matter of time before a show that was so often close to the bone caused such a stink. This point is made well in the wealth of material that follows, which is spiced up by frequent guest spots, but generally consists of Russell and co-host Matt going off on wild tangents that veer from articulate and surreal to provocative and indecent. Tongue is placed firmly in cheek, discussion topics ranging from the familiar and everyday to crazier stories prompted by Brand's increasingly high profile. Throughout, Morgan is the perfect everyman foil to Brand's exagerrated persona, allowing for an underrated double act we don't get to experience on TV or in live shows.
Of course, this being The Music Fix and all, you might be more curious about the pedigree of musical guests on these little disky wiskys. Aside from the frequent 'grumpy uncle' contributions from one Noel Gallagher, there are references to Brand's beloved Morrissey and his VMA-ad co-star Britney. There's even a gloriously uncomfortable interview, where Brand basically propositions Laura Marling and her sister over the phone while Matt groans in horror in the background. We also get cameos from similarly music-friendly comedians Noel Fielding and Simon Amstell, keeping the laughs flowing.
Although I'm still yet to watch the 'Viddycasts' on the companion DVD, this exhaustive boxset represents value for money and the funny bone. Obviously, the scandalous phone calls aren't represented here but, by including an earlier interview with Jonathan Ross, Brand effectively shrugs off any criticisms as gracefully as he chats up one of his many groupies. For existing fans of the radio show, this is a lovingly constructed souvenir, while newcomers whose interest was piqued by the tabloid frenzy get to experience the whipsmart radio chaos conjured by our hottest comedian.