It’s a rare comedy routine that ends with the selection of sexual partners from the audience, but bad-boy British comedian Russell Brand had a reputation to live up to when he performed in Perth for the first time.

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Review: Russell Brand
Russell Brand performs at Perth Arena. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

COMEDY
Russell Brand
Perth Arena
Sunday, November 2
REVIEW JACQUI BAHR

It’s a rare comedy routine that ends with the selection of sexual partners from the audience, but bad-boy British comedian Russell Brand had a reputation to live up to when he performed in Perth for the first time.

The routine centred on Brand’s experience performing at the London Olympics closing ceremony, climaxing at the point when he ripped the crotch of his pants just before going on stage to reveal a “yawning portal into a world of shame”, which was hurriedly patched together with painfully pointy sticky tape.

This main narrative led to a number of tangents, including droll but not overly groundbreaking musings on politics, immigration, gay marriage, enlightenment, customs-related local flavour, plus the evils of big corporations and the media. A slideshow was used to visually demonstrate some of his references.

Brand got the best responses from his improvised material and off-the-cuff interactions with the crowd. Early on, he stepped out into the audience to cavort and flirt with punters.

His ADHD became apparent when, halfway through discussing his meeting with the Dalai Lama, he pulled a piece of jewellery off his arm, placing it next to his water bottle. He then proceeded to act out an oddly puerile puppet show between the bracelet and the water bottle, which ended in the bottle’s sexual climax, before making self-referential comments about what just occurred.

His self-deprecating cracks were among the funniest, in one instance describing a freeze-frame of himself as a “pie-eyed Charles Manson Rasputin figure”.

But sex was the big topic to which the famous libertine continued to return. He discussed the female anatomy and dispensed lurid advice, much to the audience’s titillation.

Brand’s appeal comes not so much from his material, but his oversexed rock star-esque persona. This image has been magnified in his film roles, which propelled him to the kind of international stardom capable of drawing thousands to the venue.

So it was no surprise when he offered to sign breasts and penises at the end of the show. Willing punters rushed to the stage for hugs and autographs as Brand’s security guards lifted a couple of young women from the crowd and escorted them backstage.

It was hard to tell whether the controversial practice of selecting what he termed “night wives” was part of the act or not, but it was enough to repulse even some of his biggest fans. But such explicit behaviour has worked for him so far.