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Comedian Russell Brand is famous for his controversial comments and stunts, past struggles with addiction and his short-lived marriage to singer Katy Perry.
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Born in 1975, comedian Russell Brand discovered acting in school. He attended the Italia Conti Academy in London in 1991, but he was kicked out for his destructive behavior. Brand later turned to stand-up comedy and landed a job at MTV in Britain in 2000. His next major breakthroughs came with his 2007 memoir My Booky Wook and his 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Brand has several film projects in the works.
You stick a few rings and bangles about your person and it makes you incredibly bohemian, but really I'm a guy from Grays in Essex who was brought up by a single mum.
Known for his clever, edgy and sometimes lewd humor, Russell Brand has enjoyed a successful career as a stand-up comedian, actor and writer. Many of his jokes stem from his own difficult experiences, including his battles with drug and sex addiction.
Born in 1975, Brand grew up in the small working-class community of Grays, England. His parents split up when he was just a baby, and he was raised by his mother. Brand's childhood was marked by many personal challenges. Around the age of seven, Brand lived with relatives for a time while his mother received treatment for her first battle with cancer. (She would go through two more bouts with the disease by the time Brand was 16.) While always close to his mother, Brand clashed with her boyfriend, which made the times he lived with her more difficult. He suffered from depression and had an eating disorder around the age of 11, Brand told The Observer. "It was really unusual in boys, quite embarrassing. But I found it euphoric," he explained. At another point he was sexually assaulted by a tutor.
At school, Brand sought attention through painful and gross stunts, including eating ants. One teacher described his behavior as "acting the fool" and called him a "waste of space." He got kicked out of a boarding school for having girls in his room. The young troublemaker found some salvation in drama club. Playing a gangster in a school production led to an interest in acting. At the age of 16, Brand went to London to study at the Italia Conti stage school. There he impressed his teachers with his talent and started experimenting with drugs. But he was kicked out of that school and the Camden Drama Centre "for smashing things up, crying and cutting myself, breaking down in tears all the time."
While he landed a few television parts in the mid-1990s, Brand's career really started to take off with his stand-up comedy. He competed for New Act of the Year at London's Hackney Empire theater in 2000. While he didn't win, Brand soon landed a gig on MTV as a presenter. He was fired the following year, however, after showing up to work dressed as Osama bin Laden on the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks. ''Put bluntly, it was a very stupid thing to do and I put it under what I call the 'drug-brella'—stuff I did while on drugs,'' Brand later told Entertainment Weekly.
In 2002, Brand appeared in the short-lived series Re:Brand, which featured the comedian taking on several disturbing challenges. He got into a boxing ring with his father, bathed with a homeless man and performed other odd acts.
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