1. Beginning his career as a stand-up comedian and later becoming an MTV presenter, Brand first achieved notoriety in 2004 as the host of Big Brother’s Big Mouth, a Big Brother spin-off.
2. In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian’s, and the following year he landed a major role in the romantic comedy-drama Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to him starring in a spin off, the rock comedy Get Him to the Greek, alongside Jonah Hill in 2010.
3. He also worked as a voice actor in the animated films Despicable Me in 2010, Hop in 2011, and Despicable Me 2 in 2013, and played the title character of the 2011 remake of the romantic comedy Arthur.
4. Over the course of his career, Brand has been the subject of frequent media coverage and controversy for issues such as his promiscuity and drug use, his outrageous behaviour at various award ceremonies, his dismissal from MTV and resignation from the BBC, and his two-year marriage with singer Katy Perry.
5. He has incorporated many of his controversial public antics into his comedic material.
6. Russell Edward Brand was born in Orsett Hospital in Grays, Essex, England.
7. He is the only child of Barbara Elizabeth (ne Nichols) and photographer Ronald Henry Brand. Brand’s parents split up when he was six months old, and he was raised by his mother.
8. When Brand was 8, his mother contracted uterine cancer and then breast cancer one year later.
9. When he was 16, he left home because of disagreements with his mother’s partner.
10. Brand then started to use illegal drugs such as cannabis, amphetamines, LSD, and ecstasy.
11. Brand says he had a “strange relationship” with his father, whom he saw sporadically and who took him to visit prostitutes during a trip to Thailand when Brand was a teenager. He made his theatrical debut at the age of 15 in a school production of Bugsy Malone, and then began work as a film extra.
12. Brand attended Grays School Media Arts College and in 1991, he was accepted to the Italia Conti Academy and had his first year of tuition funded by Essex County Council.
13. After his first year at Italia Conti Academy, Brand was expelled for illegal drug use and poor attendance.
14. Brand performed stand-up at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year final in 2000.
15. Although he finished fourth, his performance attracted the attention of Gagged and Bound Comedy Ltd agent Nigel Klarfeld. In 2004, he took his first one-man show, the confessional Better Now, to the Edinburgh Festival, giving what he claimed was an honest account of his heroin addiction.
16. Brand drew on embarrassing incidents in his own life and the coverage about him in the tabloid press.
17. Brand appeared in a sketch and performed stand-up at Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball in 2006