This year’s Big Brother has been a pile of old bum apparently. A bunch of the original housemates turned out to be possibly too ill. A series of stunts devised by the producers has backfired — the Golden Ticket housemate turning out to be an immense dullard, and the building of a “secret house next door” which wasn’t soundproof. In past years I actually watched a lot of Big Brother Live, but this year they all seem to go to bed early. Pah.
But I’m still kind of keeping in touch with what’s going on. Why? Because the spin-off discussion show, Big Brother’s Big Mouth, has become essential weeknightly viewing. They show it on E4 from Tuesday–Friday after the main Channel 4 show, but it actually feels better in its late-night repeat slot on Channel 4.
BBBM is not a must-watch because of any groundbreaking format or because of the wonderful insight that the participants have to offer. It is a must-watch because it is presented by Russell Brand.
The comedian polarises opinion. I wasn’t sure at first. But on one boring evening when I was flicking through the channels I caught him at full throttle, in the middle of an energetic tirade. I can’t remember what it was about — it might have been about one of the housemates, but it was more likely to be about his dinkle. I became a fan. Now that the programme is on at a more suitable late-night timeslot I try to catch it every time it’s on — and there certainly aren’t many programmes I can say that about.
Before he was resurrected in BBBM, Russell Brand got himself involved in all sorts of shameful debauchery. A heroin addict, he once infamously turned up to work at MTV on September 12th 2001 dressed as Osama bin Laden. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time… But he’s clean now! And he’s got loads of funnies about it all which he uses in his stand-up routines, such as: “The thing about heroin, it’s very more-ish.”
If I have a criticism of Brand on BBBM it is that a lot of the programme is actually the same every night — it has become very catchphrase-heavy over time. Regular viewers know that the script changes very little from day-to-day, as Brand tries to shoehorn new jokes into the same old punchlines.
For instance, before the end of part 1 every day, Brand will launch into a soliloquy about his ball bags. His speech will always end with the words, “the swines!” Sometimes audience members will attempt to join in with him at the end, as though it is some kind of greatest hits concert.
Although I like the regular bits, Brand is at his best when he is ad-libbing and interacting with the crowd. During the show he mingles amongst the crowd like Kilroy. He wields a Wogan-style stick microphone, thrusting it around like a rapier whilst firing off quick-witted funnies.
Once an audience member was in the middle of a banal speech about how lovely Pete is, and how he doesn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. Brand retorted, quick as a flash: “Yeah he does, he keeps on saying ‘wankers’.”
Brand doesn’t just tell rude jokes about Big Brother though. He is still on MTV (despite being sacked from it several times), and he now has a weekly radio programme on 6music. Justin at Chicken Yoghurt, though, likes him most for his World Cup column in The Guardian.
Unfortunately I’m not so much into football, so most of the jokes in that column would go straight over my head. I did read it once, but the bit I liked the best was the bit that wasn’t about football:
Shouting at a football match, like talking during sex, should only be undertaken with supreme confidence and commitment.
Yelping, “Blimey, you’ve done a goal” or “I’m gonna do a sex on you” can mar, irrevocably, the necessary tension.
- Big posh interview with The Observer
- Russell and Lea finally meet: