Russell Brand Takes On Jeremy Paxman (Plus Beard) On BBC Newsnight (VIDEO)

By Paul Vale (Huffington Post)

First the cookie monster, then a dog with a degree, now Paxman versus Brand on beards, revolution and a hatred of the Tory Party. How has Newsnight, that ageing, late night, sleep-inducer suddenly become the most watchable programme on British TV?

Brand took on Paxo... and the established social order
Brand took on Paxo… and the established social order

Wednesday’s offering continued the show’s good form, with producer Ian Katz pitting Paxo against the garrulous, unpredictable yet always-brilliant Russell Brand. And the pair played their roles to perfection.

On the back of Brand’s forthcoming guest editorship of the New Statesman, Paxo charged in: “Who are you to edit a political magazine?”

“A man who was asked by an attractive woman,” he said. Following a rant drawing in “current paradigms”, “voting practises” and “political apathy,” Brand barked across the room “grow your beard”. “You are a very trivial man,” countered Paxo, both comfortable in their cross-cultural badinage.

Brand has found a more serious edge of late, interspersing tales of shagging a not taking drugs with pleas for a fairer world, a greener world and one in which Associated Newspapers is mashed to a pulp.

“What will your revolution look like,” growled Paxo from behind said beard.

“I’ll tell you what it won’t be like,” said Brand in a moment of clarity, “a huge disparity between rich and poor, where 300 Americans have the same amount of wealth as the 85 million poorest Americans, where there is an exploited and underserved underclass that are being continually ignored and where welfare is slashed while Cameron and Osborne go to court to defend the rights of bankers to continue to receive their bonuses. This has to be addressed.”

Earlier, Paxman had attempted to find common ground by telling his opponent he didn’t “necessarily disagree” with him. “Then why do I feel so cross with you?” replied Brand.

What wonderful nonsense.

See also:

George Carlin Doesn’t Vote

One Comment

  1. What’s that about communication being 90% non-verbal… by Margo (Media Lens Message Board)

    Paxman starts off the interview with one arm thrown nonchalantly,
    confidently over the back of his chair.

    Brand owns him within 20 or so seconds, mirroring the stance
    and hooking his own arm over the back of *his* chair.

    Paxman climbs down, brings his arm forward, his options more limited now.

    Paxman’s legs crossed/closed.

    Brand spread across his chair, owning it.

    Brand calls Pax ‘darling’, evoking feminine emotion,
    leans forward, almost touching P’s knee.

    Paxman a rabbit in the headlights for a nano-second there …
    Brand’s before him, owning the space because he can, without permission,
    because he understands he needs no permission from Paxman,
    however dearly Paxman would like to make Brand believe he does.

    Paxman shrinks back in his seat slightly as Brand fails to be suitably awed.

    Paxman’s arm is protectively across his upper torso now, defensive,
    palm (unusually) turned outwards *towards* Brand.
    Not just defensiveness then, but personal anxiety.

    Whatever gravitas Paxman wields in the BAP cigar bar has just been grabbed, rolled into a ball of wax
    and bounced around the room for a laugh.
    And Paxman knows it.

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