Budding British film star and comedian dresses up his partying exploits
had high hopes for Russell Brand’s loose autobiography, “My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up,”
published in the U.S. in March, after seeing his brilliant recent Comedy
Central special, “Live In New York,” and its storytelling. And in this
book, Brand has 20, 30, 40 or more crazy stories in his life where most
people just have one or two good ones.
But after awhile, the selfish and self-destructive behavior Brand
chronicles gets a bit wearying. He does turn in the occasional twisted
whimsy in turns of phrase like referring to the aftermath of a romp with
two girls that has to be sorted out by their landlord, as “admin.” But
it takes way too far into the book to even get to parts of Brand’s
career like the obscure but transgressively innovative British satellite
show, “RE: Brand,” where he often pulled thought-provoking stunts like
peering into the everyday lives of a prostitute and her husband, then
blowing all objectivity to shreds by asking for the woman’s services.
Yet, there’s absolutely nothing in the book about “Forgetting Sarah
Marshall,” for those who might only know Brand from that movie, and not
very much about his own stand-up material, such as how he wrote it,
what’s behind it, or even any recounting of any of it. If you’re craving
more of Brand as a performer, based on that movie, you should wait to
first sample the aforementioned special, coming to DVD in an extended
edition next month.
What Brand does give is tales of his congenital inability to behave in
any way, ever -- as a young kid, he enjoyed drawing a face on his penis
and exposing himself -- no wonder he ends up in a sex addict treatment
center later in life. Although sober now, for about four years, he used
to abuse alcohol and various drugs incessantly as well -- plenty of
tales of which are in “My Booky Wook” as well.
Brand’s book is reminiscent of what Howard Stern did with “Private
Parts” -- as a personality and comedian writing his life story in loose,
disconnected fashion -- although it falls a bit short of that for US
readers who aren’t as familiar with Brand’s various British radio and TV
shows, with not enough about those shows to clue them in -- and on its
own merits jumps around at Brand’s whims as to what stories of himself
he will tell.