Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brand and Ross? Sack'em

The most ironic thing is that the BBC is always so desperate to appear middle-of-the-road and watered down, terrified of offending anyone, but they allow bullies to broadcast under their name and pay them millions of pounds each year.

For a normal worker, being caught phoning up a pensioner, leaving an offensive answerphone message and joking about him committing suicide would guarantee prosecution as well as instant dismissal. But if you're a couple of overpaid, tax-payer funded celebrities with inflated egos you can get away with it with a slap on the wrist.

As the whole world knows, Russell Brand and his friend Jonathan Ross spent a charming half an hour last weekend making prank phone calls, one of which was to the great actor Andrew Sachs, 78, and proceeded to leave a disgusting tirate of sexual references and vulgarity about his grandaughter on his answerphone, including how Brand had slept with her.

The prank, was hilariously funny, but only for the two of them. Anyone else who heard the programme or read the transcript must have had images of them patting each other on the back, congratulating themselves on their brilliant little joke, obviously convinced that they were the funniest doubleact since the invention of comedy. The icing on this revoting cake was a comment by Brand, imagining what Sachs might do when he finds out about the fact that Russell had sex with his grandaughter, a mock news report where he jokes, "The main news again: Manuel, Andrew Sachs, hung himself today".

Apart from being as funny as tuberculosis, Russell Brand makes a living from prancing about our TV screens, talking like a 19th century dandy and using 'long words' that most people don't understand to try and make them laugh. A reformed drug addict, he once appeared on a spin-off Big Brother show dressed as Osama Bin Laden days after the 9/11 attacks, and only recently made another prank call, this time to the police.
Even when Brand was forced by the BBC to apologise to Mr. Sachs, he managed to sink even deeper by saying that he ''thought it was funny'' and to add further insult to injury, added ''sometimes you shouldn't swear on someones answerphone. That's why I'd like to apologise''.

Obviously this 'gifted' broadcaster has problems grasping the fact that his borderline Tourettes mouth wasn't really the crux of the matter, and that apologising in the form of a mocking song isn't going to do you any favours. As for 47-year-old Ross, himself a father, one would like to see how he'd react if sex-addict Brand made lewd comments to one of his daughters. I doubt he would act as he did on the show, which was akin to a playground bully, egging Russell on.

This type of so-called comedy can only go one way if it wants to stay afloat. Russell Brand is only one step away from phoning up a person with MS and asking them if they want to go for a run, or asking a blind person if they want to go bird watching at the weekend. No doubt that Brand would justify these things as 'an expression of his art'. Steps need to be taken to sack these overpaid, arrogant little boys and prevent them from broadcasting ever again. It is despicable that license payers money is spent funding these people. The most ironic thing is that the BBC make so much of an effort to appear middle-of-the-road and watered down, terrified of offending anyone, but they allow bullies to broadcast under their name and pay them millions of pounds each year.

Sacking these two pathetic individuals would be firm message to the public and to other presenters that the BBC does not tolerate this kind of behaviour. Sadly though, we all know that the chances are that some producer will get the boot and those two will continue their little boys group.


claude said...

Any bully would tell you that they were just having a laff and it was all innocent and it was funny.
I honestly can't see where the fun was in what those two overpaid egomaniacs did.

Anonymous said...

it's the celebrity culture in its gangrene stage now. Where cruelty is now actively pursued and bullying encouraged. Their "hilarious" prank was not even live, so the BBC knew exactly what they were up to. BRand and Ross are two complete idiots.

Anonymous said...

I, unlike most people here probably. was actuly listening to russell's show when these "prank calls" were made. Some of the things your saying are Rediculous. They did not make any prank calls! Andrew Sachs was meant to be appearing in the show, but when Russell and Johnathon were talking to his answerphone, johnathon blurted out, "Russell f***** your granddaughter" Later on in the show Brand, and Ross felt bad for what they had done, they went to appolagise to Sachs answerphone, but ended up calling him a few times after to try and appolagise in better words. When listening to it on the podcast, i thought i had heard the last of it! But obviously people can't let things die. I assure you this is an overreaction.
Also, don't attack Brand for Big Brother, and using big words. What has that got to do with anything?

Emma said...

Dear Anonymous,

A few points to think about.

1. When two people phone someone and proceed to swear and make malicious comments down the phone, it counts as a prank call. You're obviously the sort of person who thinks picking on people is a 'right laugh' and 'only a bit of fun', which is the usual excuse that bullies use to justify their actions.

2. Also, since when was berating a vulnerable person amusing? You have not mentioned once that it was inappropriate for them to harrass an old man, (of 78, no less). One phone call would have been bad enough, but the very fact they called him repeatedly (and to apologise? What planet do you live on?) is disgusting. You mention that they called to apologise in better words, and I find this unbelievable. Each time they said they were going to say sorry they were making it worse by singing mocking songs, swearing again and repeating the same insults adding insult to injury.

3. I have no idea what relevance the fact you listened to the show live has to your argument, and I doubt you have really. I listened to it as well, not live, but on Youtube. It was the same broadcast.

4. Was it right for Jonathan (the correct spelling) to shout out "Russell f***** your granddaughter"? The fact you gloss over this comment so quickly obviously means you have no problem with swearing at innocent people.

5. As for the Big Brother comment, it has relevance because it shows a pattern, which is important because it shows the development of Brands increasingly offensive-self-important behaviour.

6. Quite simply, you are obviously one of those spineless individuals who don't mind paying a hefty TV license to pay these morons salaries, as long as they make you chuckle, no matter what person or people they are picking on. This is sad, and you are sad my friend.

I'm sure when Brand & Ross (if they keep their jobs, hopefully not) start their own TV show about swearing at OAPs in the street you'll be there on your sofa laughing heartily.

Tell you what, why don't you give me your grandad's number and I'll phone him up pick and on him live in front of other people? (You've forgotten that half the country was listening, haven't you) That'd be fun, wouldn't it?

Fan of Brand said...

you must have a personal vendetta against Russell Brand. you're pickin on him and you dont see all the vulgarity and stuff you get on telly every day. But now Russell Brand's turned into Evil incarnate.Rest assured: Him quitting the Beeb isn't gonna change anything.

Alison said...

Have you noticed how those on Brand's side tend to say that the critics are envious, that they're overreacting, that they didn't listen to the show live? They never get into the actual details though, have you noticed? Maybe because its too difficult for the brain. Brand's brand (oops, type) of entertainment is the McDonalds of comedy. Easy, cheap, quick, throwaway.

Stan Moss said...

Great Matthew Norman in today's Indy.

Comparing the furore surrounding Brand & Ross with that affecting Chris Morris ten years ago, here's what he wrote:

Hardly the ridiculing of paedophilia hysteria that Chris Morris unleashed with such laser-guided acuteness in Brass Eye. Not even dangerous or cutting edge. Just brazen idiocy, seasoned by a dash of arrogance and garnished with a flake of indistinct, puerile nastiness.

Anonymous said...

I never said that what they did was perfectly fune and O.K.

Everyone is overreacting.
Thats the point im making..
And Russell has resigned now so...

Emma said...

Dear Fan of Brand,

I readily admit that I was hardly a Brand groupie before all this, and always found his type of humour base and lowest common denominator (which seems to appeal to the majority of the public these days, as its the easiest form to digest and requires less brainpower. Its sad) but he is/was the flagbearer of all things vulgar and offensive on TV, wether you admit it or not.

I was however a big fan of Jonathan Ross and an avid follower of his friday night show, but since this escapade have decided to boycott him immediately. The fact is that I personally would boycott ANY celebrity who I was a fan of if they turned out to be a bully, or started relying on abusing other people to get laughs. I'd see beyond the eyeliner and dandyisms and smell the coffee. Fortunately, some some people have decided to shun Brand, unfortunately others have chosen to ignore it and sweep it under the carpet with ''he was only being funny'' and ''you're just jealous'' as Alison rightly pointed out.

No, TV might not change since Brand's departure, but it will set a precident and show other people that this kind of behaviour simply isn't tolerated. That's good enough for the time being.

Pruso said...

if you didn't say that what Brand&Ross did was perfectly fine....then why do you say "everyone's overreacting?"...

Jukebox Review said...

This was a great post as it provokes the debate.

Forget whether you like RB or JR,

A) should anyone be allowed Free Speech to air "I shagged your granddaughter" to the masses or;

B) do the individuals concern deserve protection from public humiliation.

You have to choose one or the other and then decide what you make of Brand and Ross.

We plump for B) and think the gap left behind at the BBC will quickly be filled by others. Plus, NOTHING STOPS RB and JB doing their own podcast. Fuck, even I do a podcast!

Anonymous said...

just becuase what they did wasnt good, doesnt mean that everyone can't overreact, cause everyoone has got to admit, everyone has overreacted!

dont boycott Ross, everyone makes mistakes, and he is deeply sorry for his mistake.

Anonymous said...

I thought the show was quite funny. There was nothing malicious in the calls.

Andrew Sachs didn't think it was funny and wrote a complaint. He got an apology from Ross and Brand and I think that's as far as this whole thing needed to go.

I can't help but think that we wouldn't even be talking about this had Ross and Brand called somebody like Ricky Gervais and left messages on his machine. The Daily Mail wouldn't have been quite so 'offended' by it methinks.

thepatriot said...

and what exactly was "quite funny"? Would you care to elaborate/? Gimme your number and i'll show you how funny it is, go on.

ANdrew SACHS got an apology from Brand and Ross ? You call that an apology?

Your argument is pants. The thing is, you see...they never rang Ricky Gervais. They never would have. They had to go for someone old and defenseless and who wasnt there. Gervais is part of the clique these days.

Ben said...


You are making it sound like, russell and Ross were planning it all before the show.. no, in fact when they callled andrew it was to interveiw him. but when they got his answer machine, they made a few mistakes.