There are obviously things I can’t talk about, he tells fans at £35-a-ticket gig
By ISAAC CROWSON and ISABELLE STANLEY
DESPITE the maelstrom of rape and sex assault allegations against him, Russell Brand defiantly turned up to perform his stand-up comic show in front of 2,000 adoring fans last night.
The crowd at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London whooped and cheered as the comedian walked out on stage more than an hour late.
One woman held aloft a sign saying: ‘We stand by you, Russell. Stay strong, stay free. We love you xx.’
Brand, dressed in blue jeans and a blazer, soaked up the adulation.
‘Thank you, I love you. Thank you, thank you. I appreciate you, I appreciate you,’ he said, barely audible over the cheers.
‘Sorry I was late. It actually was because of a f ****** traffic jam.’
He asked fans not to film him, adding: ‘I really appreciate your support. I love you. I want to do a fantastic show for you.
‘I’ve got a lot to talk to you about . There are obviously some things I absolutely cannot
‘Stay free. Thank you, guys’ he said, exiting stage right
talk about and I appreciate that you will understand. I love you lot already. I’m going to give you everything I’ve got. Let’s go.’
It didn’t take long for Brand to make a thinly veiled reference to the controversy surrounding him. Pointing at a long-haired audience member, Brand quipped that the man looked like him and was a ‘body double’. ‘That might come in handy,’ he said to another rapturous round of applause.
Fans, who had paid £35 a ticket, had waited patiently for more than an hour for Brand to arrive. They scrolled the breaking news reports about Brand on their phones, unsure whether he would show up at all.
The 7pm start time came and went, with an announcement over the PA that the comic was stuck in traffic on the M40. Meanwhile, Rebel Rebel by David Bowie was among the tracks being played on the sound system.
After finally taking to the stage, Brand launched into his usual routine of smutty sexual jokes, politics, and spirituality. He quipped about becoming a father, and said: ‘Since I’ve been married, I don’t have sex any more.’
He talked about re-inventing himself from promiscuous playboy to wellness guru, adding: ‘I’ve changed my life – I’m now a vegan and don’t look at pornography.’
Brand said he was ‘trying to love a spiritual life and discern what is real and what is false’, and touched on his fascination with conspiracy theories, which have won him millions of followers on social media.
‘I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t trust authority,’ he said to further applause from the faithful crowd. Brand had earlier accused those making the allegations against him of being part of a ‘coordinated attack’ by the mainstream media.
Some fans last night seemed to agree. One told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I believe him totally. I can’t believe he’d do anything like he has been accused of.
‘He’s in the right. He’ll be on the right side of history.’ Another said: ‘The authorities are out to get him. We believe him totally.’ A third added: ‘I was always still going to come tonight. I don’t think there’s anything to it.’
After just over an hour on stage, Brand finished his show abruptly at 9.05pm – five minutes after the Dispatches programme started to air. He said: ‘Thank you for a wonderful evening. I really appreciate you being here. I love you. I’m sorry I was so late. I hope you have enjoyed it. I hope you know I love you. Stay close. Stay awake. Stay free. Thank you.’
Fans gave the comedian a standing ovation as he left.
One said: ‘I didn’t expect it to finish so soon. It was an abrupt end. I know the Dispatches is about to start – he probably had to rush off to watch that. It’s very weird.’
dmg media (UK)