Russell made his theatrical debut, aged fifteen, in Bugsy Malone as Fat Sam. Essex council decreed it criminally neglectful to allow this chameleon like ability to put on hats to go un-nurtured and promptly funded an education at the fancy Italia Conti stage school, which lead to a three-year scholarship at the drama centre in Camden.
In his spare time he began performing stand up in pubs around London and reached the final of the prestigious Hackney Empire new act of the year competition. Brand was denied the victory that many assumed would be his (allegations of jury rigging came to naught) but was a runner up and his angry young man political rantings caught the eye of Time Out's Malcolm Hay who dubbed him "Essex's Bill Hicks"
Further gigs at the Empire followed and a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival with more flattering reviews and an appearance in the final of So You Think You're Funny?.
MTV caught Russell's show at the festival and gave him his own series, Dance Floor Chart, where he bantered bizarrely with intoxicated youths in discos. Additionally he presented Select their flagship tea-time phone in show. When Jackass arrived in Blighty Russell was afforded the dubious privilege of promoting it for MTV UK.
RE:BRAND followed for UK Play "a challenging look at cultural taboos." Over ten episodes he had a boxing match with his Father (long before Dennis v Mortimer), had a bath with a homeless man, who he had living in his bed, acted as pimp to a heroin addicted prostitute and tried to convert the leader of the young BNP to socialism.
He also presented his own show on Sunday afternoon for Xfm and acted in Channel Four's White Teeth (Merlin-hippy commune leader/drug dealer), Steve Coogan vehicle Cruise of the Gods, and hosted/wrote The Russell Brand for Channel Four's Comedy Lab series.
Summer 2004 saw Russell host E4's live Big Brother discussion series Efourum, and present Kings of Comedy for E4, in between which Russell took his one man show Better Now to the Edinburgh Fesitval - a hilariously honest chronicle of Russell's odyssey through a twilight world of whores, heroin and hairdos, demonstrating that the road of excess leads to the palace of unemployment. The show was a complete sellout and received 4 and 5 star reviews in The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Metro amongst others. 2005 saw another run of the now re-titled Big Brothers Big Mouth and saw Russell enjoy another critically aclaimed Edinburgh run of his latest stand up show "Eroticized Humour"
2006 has seen Russell's star take off and turn tickets for his stand-up shows into gold dust. He completed a successful run of Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth in January 2006 and managed to squeeze in filming part alongside Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon in the Hollywood movie "Penelope". Straight after that he hosted the infamous NME Awards at the Hammersmith Palais. Such is his popularity, that MTV have seen fit to welcome Russell back with open arms to host their flagship Sunday night show, 1 Leicester Square where his achievements include securing the only UK interview with Tom Cruise during his promotional tour for Mission Impossible 3.
Russell's Sunday morning show on BBC 6Music became a cult phonomenon and Russell and his co-hosts Matt Morgan and Trevor Lock's weekly podcast proved to be one of the most popular the BBC has ever provided. This summer Russell completed another successful run of Big Brother's Big Mouth and took his sell out tour Shame to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2006.
Russell was crowned Time Out's Stand-Up Comedian of the Year in 2006 and has recently embarked on a UK tour taking his unique comic talent to his fans all over the country. In November, Russell hosted a fundraising event for Focus12, a charity close to his heart, at Koko nightclub in Camden. His very own show, Russell Brand's got Issues, started on E4 before transferring over to Channel4 in November 2006.