Russell Brand On MSNBC: Unintentional PR Victor

Russell Brand Messiah Complex World Tour 2013My favorite public relations episode of the past few weeks is the awkwardly hilarious yet unexpectedly salient interview with Russell Brand on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. It’s resulted in some choice PR for Brand, probably wholly unintentionally. One of the hosts, Mika Brzezinski, even apologized later for the lack of professionalism that day — fully admitting not knowing whom she was interviewing.

I realize “Morning Joe” is not known for trenchant journalism, but I believe Brand was justified in calling these folks out in return for their snarkiness (among other derisive behavior). My favorite description of the whole affair is from Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post who sums it up nicely:

russell brand takedown

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I would liken the hosts to a kitten pouncing on what it assumes is a dazed snake and discovering it has latched onto the tail end of a dragon. It’s cringe-inducing. ‘You’re talking about me as if I’m not here and as if I’m an extraterrestrial,’ he observes. Never mock someone with a British accent.

Although there are some dissenting opinions, the reaction I’ve seen since has overwhelmingly sided with Brand, giving some unforseen PR juice to his Messiah Complex tour — and making for some pretty entertaining television.

Update: Read about the encounter from Brand, himself, in this article he wrote for The GuardianRussell Brand: what I made of Morning Joe and Question Time

What do you think? Was Brand out of line, or does that even matter? What would you have done in his shoes, or in those of the hosts? Let us hear from you in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Russell Brand On MSNBC: Unintentional PR Victor

  1. Bob Stocking

    I saw nothing inappropriate in Brand’s response. Given the rudeness of the multiple third-person references, and the utter lack of preparation shown by Mika B, he would have been justified in walking off the set! It was much smarter for him to point out their lack of professionalism instead, and expose which side of the news/entertainment line Morning Joe sits upon. With her “blushing” at his directness, and moving her chair away from him, Mika looked like a juvenile, not a journalist. Brand, with his incisive critiques of entertainment and media, looked the grown-up. When I see this kind of deportment from him, and writing like this (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-brand/margaret-thatcher-our-unm_b_3046390.html), I wonder why he prefers to find roles that make him look so stupid.

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    1. rsmithing

      I totally agree, and thanks for commenting, Bob. Brand is obviously articulate and witty, something the hosts might have gotten a clue about had they done a shred of preparation for the interview, or perhaps if they didn’t immediately default to snark and condescension. I just read an article he wrote about this incident in The Guardian demonstrating his deft articulation.

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      1. Bob Stocking

        Thanks for including that Guardian link, Richard. He’s just a couple of dirty jokes away from providing top-notch political analysis. Of course, that might be more typical for a Brit than for an American; they are more often taught to think critically about media and politics; we are too often taught to consume it mindlessly.

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