Pundit Math: Russell Brand is Smarter than Three Cable News Anchors Combined


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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93 Responses

  1. Avatar zic says:

    Now that’s a man who knows how to preen.


    Thank you.Report

  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Since when does the left shit on Talk of the Nation and Fresh Air?

    I love both shows and consider myself a member of the left. Did I miss a memo?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Did I miss a memo?”

      Maybe? Is there a Left website out there that does not speak of PBS/NPR in terms of derision these days? I would be glad to know if there were. I would be most happy to be wrong on this point.

      But maybe I”m just misreading all the talk of “tote-baggers” and “Serious People.” Maybe those are just meant as sneers of endearment.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I have no problem w/ NPR. I have a problem w/ NPR being considered the most leftist form of broadcast channel that’s taken as the mainstream when at best, they’re centrist on economic matters and center-left on social issues.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


          I do frequently take issue with inane interviews. Judy Woodruff should be fired for her constant attempts to turn policy discussion to the horserace; Washington Weekly often makes this error.

          But mostly centrist. And this goes back to the Jindal post, as well; the selling of centrist as leftist is a large part of the myth making going on; it’s staging for the horse race, the competition instead of discussing the paths we should pursue in governing ourselves.

          Republicans/conservatives rarely criticize their own anymore; those that do risk banishment. I welcome my right, my free-speech right, to not only criticize the right for their silly behavior, but to criticize the left for their’s as well. I’m an equal-opportunity nag. I will also defend Republican policies and conservative thinkers when I think they’re making sense. I wish I they made sense more often.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to zic says:

            “Republicans/conservatives rarely criticize their own anymore; those that do risk banishment.”

            The biggest conversations in politics these days are (a) the immigration bill, (b) how can Republicans win the presidency again, (c) Syria, and (d) domestic spying. On all of these issues, there is vocal disagreement among Republicans/conservatives. There’s a battle between libertarians and social/fiscal conservatives for the soul of the Tea Party; there’s always a battle between conservatives and moderates for the soul of the Republican Party. Except for discomfort about the president’s functional hawkishness, there’s no conversation going on in the Democratic Party. It’s not a matter of those that do risking banishment; there aren’t any that do. Where are the competing Democratic budget proposals? entitlement reforms? education policies?Report

            • Avatar Michelle in reply to Pinky says:

              Who are the moderate Republicans these days?

              The immigration bill isn’t going anywhere and Rubio getting blasted by the party’s right wing for his efforts. He’s in serious danger of becoming insufficiently hard line for the base and will have a lot of boot lickin’ to do if he decides to run for president. Likewise, Jeb Bush has been skewered for his immigration views and is stepping back in deference to the base.

              Who are the Libertarians in the Tea Party? The first thing Tea Party types seem to do when they get into office is pass stricter anti-abortion laws. That’s certainly been the case here in NC.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Here I would agree. Lots of other media places are further to the left than NPR like N plus One, The Nation, Pacifica*, etc.

          *I once heard hosts on Pacifica say that the Nation was too right-wing.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Keep in mind I’ve also been called a “wet” liberal for being against what I call “Leftier than Thou” politics. This was during the summer of 2012 when you had some leftists arguing that Obama needed to lose because they country needed to go really right-wing before it would see the light and go really left-wing*. And in 2000, I was firmly against the kids on campus who said that there was no difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties.

        So maybe I am just a John Chait loving, totebagger.

        *Unger is what I rail against, I am on the side of Willis. You would probably like this essay:


        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

          The Left Wing variant of Ideology is the Enemy is the person who cannot play realpolitik and would rather have a far-right party in power than a center left one.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        sneers of endearment

        Dude, that is so Leftist.
        From all appearances, acting with derision toward a thing is what the Left typically does when trying to “save” something.

        They’re obviously trying to “save” those programs.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “NPR” is a patchwork. There’s PRI, APM, quite a few content providers — but we can call it “NPR” as a catch-all to encompass what you hear on your Public Radio station. It’s not all that well-staffed: their reporters cover much ground with few people. As such, they’re uneven. But when they’re firing on all eight cylinders, they’re wonderful; worth every penny I’ve sent ’em over time.

        I’ve talked to some NPR talent: give a lot of money and you’ll get access at little functions the member stations put on. I’m not a tote-bagger. Give a dollar a day and you get access. Bob Edwards said back in the early 90s, NPR was stung by the criticism it was getting from the Left but more from the Right. NPR really did (I dare say still do) want to put on balanced coverage of the news and current events.

        Bob Edwards was unceremoniously dumped in favour of younger talent, just short of his 25th anniversary at NPR. I’ve toyed with getting Sirius XM just so I can get Bob Edwards. I hear Bob Edwards’ voice and I can almost smell hot coffee in my travel mug.

        Perhaps we’re not supposed to care about the personalities, what the rest of the English-speaking world call newsreaders. Call it a failing. NPR is a business now. It’s heavily dependent on corporate sponsorship. It fell on hard times after 2008. Too much toast, not enough butter. Every so often, I dislike what I hear on NPR. But then, if LoOG is any guide to the matter, what I like is no guide to the opinions of the general public. This no longer troubles me, just so you know. Going through life trying to please everyone and trying not to offend anyone and you’ll end up being nobody.

        NPR’s enemies are many and its friends are somewhat fewer. Rolling up the trebuchets and hurling dung and dead cattle over NPR’s battlements has become something of a sport for the snide and feckless. Perhaps such as these should tune in to the increasingly popular Relijis News you’ll hear down at that end of the FM dial. Now there’s some frighteningly stupid shit going out over the airwaves, folks.Report

        • Avatar Patrick in reply to BlaiseP says:

          But then, if LoOG is any guide to the matter, what I like is no guide to the opinions of the general public. This no longer troubles me, just so you know.

          A moment of brotherhood.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Have you ever looked at the licences we give for the airwaves?

          Christian ownership flourishes. Yet the meme circulated is that Christian ownership is under attack.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

            What Christianity needs in present times is a great big Flavian Ampitheatre filled with Hungry Lions. Feed a few of those well-fed paranoiacs to those lions. Nothing is so entirely beneficial to a religion as a thoroughgoing persecution phase.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Pity the lions.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

                They’re exceedingly ecumenical, those lions. They’ll eat anyone.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Are the Captains of Industry cast as the lions in the current production?

                Is that a liberal reading of the story, and it’s still the Liberal Elite Media and government-run schools devouring Real America™?

                Actually, the stories of small Christian radio stations, their news slant and playlists, their financing, demographics, would make for some fascinating reporting.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

                A goodly fraction of those Captains of Industry and Lieutenants of Finance are to be found glad-handing in the foyers of fashionable fundamentalist churches every Sunday morning. My brother-in-law, the guy with two degrees in nuclear physics, became an investment advisor on this basis. He’s doing very well and those foyers are his stomping grounds. He’s livin’ the Christian Lifestyle and I don’t believe his children have ever encountered a Heathen yet, though they did meet my children. Parenthetically, my sister told those children not play much with mine, for my family was composed entirely of freethinkers.

                In the Bible, Eli the High Priest had two sons, Hophni and Phineas, whose hands grew callous holding holy things. They were not good boys, those two: they grifted and preyed on women worshippers. They took the Ark of the Covenant off to battle with them. The Ark was captured and they were killed. Thus did the Prophet Samuel (Shmuel) come into focus for the next chunk of Israel’s history.

                The Christian culture, we might as well throw the Hasidim and Mormons in there too for good measure, all these isolationist cults really have no conception of what goes on beyond Hobbiton and the Shire. And like the Shire Folk, they’re terribly suspicious and prone to gossip. They manage just fine without us, so they believe. It’s almost beyond belief, but it’s true: these folk manage to wend their way through life, never actually knowing anyone but the Faithful. Their paranoia varies directly with their level of isolation.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Nice prose poetry.

                It’s pretty to live in the Shire, never seeing the big people, doing the work of the missing Ent Wives.Report

            • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to BlaiseP says:

              I used to get in trouble in church for saying that, Blaise.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

      I love Teri Gross when she’s interviewing people she admires, who might be politicians, entertainers, or journalists: she’s great at drawing them out without fawning. When she interviews people whose politics she dislikes, she gets snippy and it’s just embarrassing how badly she fails to keep up her end of the argument.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I think Gross would be a lot better with better editing.
        Roughly half of each show could be cut and make the whole gig better.Report

      • I actually disagree. I like Ms. Gross best when she’s interviewing people who she finds interesting, but not when she obviously likes them too much.

        Her interview with Sarah Silverman was some of the most fawning radio I’ve ever heard. (True confession — I do not care for Ms. Silverman’s work.) The subject was not nearly as fascinating as the interviewer seemed to find her.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to NewDealer says:

      This was brilliant. Thank you for this, put a smile on my face.

      As for NPR, it’s one of the few journalistic outlets that actually tries to be objective to a degree. I’d rather get my news from them than any cable network.Report

  3. Avatar Angela says:

    FYI: You’re calling Brand “Banks” a couple of times.Report

  4. Avatar Michelle says:

    I saw the Brand interview the other morning. The hosts were completely gobsmacked by him, stunned that he didn’t play along with the usual celebrity interview game. They looked like imbeciles. Who knew Brand was so smart?

    The only other time I’ve seen anything else like it was when Jon Stewart appeared on CNN’s Crossfire and verbally gutted Tucker Carlson and the other host.Report

    • Avatar jaded in reply to Michelle says:

      If they’d done their homework, they’d have known that Russell Brand is a comedian but he’s also quite intelligent. He can be silly but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t bring an enlightened point of view. If they’d have even just seen “Brand X” they would have seen that. He’s quite analytical and he definitely has a way of cutting through the bullshit. If they’d seen his shows in the UK, they’d have seen that he deals with subjects such as childhood, fears, politics, desires and other human traits. He tries to show his audience that everyone is human before anything else and if we all remembered that, maybe there would be less rancor. But I agree, he pulled a “Jon Stewart” and did it quite charmingly while managing to politely tearing them all a new one.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to jaded says:

        I’m surprised those people are on tv at all.
        Well, except for that one segment that Leno did where he walks around asking questions to people to show how stupid some people are. They would probably fit in well there.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michelle says:

      The only other time I’ve seen anything else like it was when Jon Stewart appeared on CNN’s Crossfire and verbally gutted Tucker Carlson and the other host.

      There were some similarities between the two. Both Brand and Stewart went on those shows to discuss issues important to them in both their personal as well as professional life. They were both clearly – as Tod said – the smartest people in the room. And the response by the hosts in both cases, when they got knocked back on their heels, was to lash out with a non-sensical and insulting “give us some of your schtick” demand. Doing that was apparently an attempt to bring the guests back into the established rules the hosts play the game by, the rules that the guests were already flouting and openly mocking, and which effectively made Brand’s and Stewart’s respective points for them. And then the dam broke.

      I do feel bad for Mika tho. For the reasons Hanley mentioned below: she appeared to very clearly understand (while her co-hosts didn’t) that Brand was exposing the whole format as a ridiculous charade. Especially with his line about believing that the average person actually quite intelligent. She looked truly horrified, stunned, etc. And I thought his best move was to keep assuring her there was nothing to be nervous about even while he kept twisting the knife.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Stillwater says:

        Brand isn’t so much “smart” as he’s a horribly clever comedian who specialises to the transgressive. Anyone who’s seen a few episodes of RE:Brand would know this. It’s been his schtick for years now.Report

        • Avatar FridayNext in reply to BlaiseP says:

          While there might be idiot flashes in the pan like Paulie Shore, as a general rule, most comedians are much more smart, intelligent, and/or clever than most people give them credit for. Quality, professional comedy on an international stage is difficult. But it looks easy when done well, and most people tell jokes and get laughs from their friends so they think they can do it. But they can’t. So put a “horribly clever comedian” in the room with just about any other profession on cable television and they will outclass the room every time.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky says:

    I don’t know if I’m just in a mood, but he struck me as about as deep as a pot-smoking freshman trying to impress a high school townie girl by quoting half-remembered passages from an essay in an Intro to Comparative Religions textbook. (I guess I got pretty specific there, but you know what I mean.)Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Pinky says:

      I felt that, too. And yet he still seemed deeper than the three hosts.

      How bad is it when you’re made to look shallow by a pot smoking freshman trying to role play as an intellectual?Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Pinky says:

      They could’ve actually tried to see how deep his thought on that went, given the unusual topic for a comedy show. That they didn’t & treated him like a circus clown is why he went into Fish It mode.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

      I got the impression that Brand didn’t start with the intention of being disdainful or superior, but he was overcome by just how stupid they were.Report

    • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Pinky says:

      I don’t think any of this has to do with looking or being smarter than the others on the panel.

      What Brand did was make it impossible (or difficult) for the host and panel to act in their regular, pre-planned, wholly inauthentic way. Maybe all of us are smarter and more knowledgeable than Brand about politics or political philosophy. Who knows. But it took a special talent on his part to assess the situation of how they were treating him and then turn it back on them. They looked stupid and inauthentic because they wanted to act a certain way that he highlighted as ridiculous, and once he did that, they didn’t know what to do.

      I am not a pot-smoking undergrad and I couldn’t have done what Brand did. It deserves respect.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Pundit Math: Russell Brand is Smarter than Three Cable News Anchors Combined

    So is my Shih Tzu, and he has never mastered “fetch”.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    What the hell was that?!?!

    I’ve never watched MSNBC before. Well, I think I watched Maddow once for a few minutes and I think she’s on MSNBC. Otherwise, I’m not familiar with it. Are they typically so godawful? If they are normally that way and Brand weren’t there, they’d be unwatchable. And that is saying something coming from the guy drafting a 5000-word opus on “Wife Swap”.Report

    • Avatar Russell M in reply to Kazzy says:

      Forget it, thats Morning Joe kazzy.

      they dont ever reach for substance. with captain joe running the show does anyone ever except anything elseReport

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

      I was wondering the same thing.
      I’m sure the show would be a lot better if they used animation rather than live anchors.
      But then, I’m accustomed to cartoon characters acting in a more intelligent fashion.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    If you ever watched BBC’s Blue Planet there’s a scene where orcas are filmed going after seals. The thing of it is, the orca doesn’t just chomp on the seal and eat it. First, they disable the seal, and then they… play with it. They throw it around in the air. They let it wriggle free of their mouths for just a second before biting down again. It’s almost cruel, although it’s not accurate to impute cruelty to wild animals.

    What was particularly riveting was the emotional dynamic. When the hosts realized that not only had they just been irrebuttably indicted. And that they had completely lost control of the situation and were powerless to get it back until the commercial break. And that Brand had known exactly what he had been doing all along: he seduced them into yielding the initiative with his charm and good looks, and proceeded to damn them in the classical meaning of the verb “to damn.” By the end, all three hosts were reduced to quivering piles of goo hiding behind flimsy shields of vapid chatter, and Brand’s expression is the very definition of “shit-eating grin.”

    An orca feeding on a seal.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I think he came on the show with good intentions, and the people there were just too flaky.
      Soon enough, he’d had enough. When he turned in his chair was the turning point, really. After that, it was no more Mr. Nice Russell.
      But the thing started out well enough. They didn’t respect him, and they paid for it.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will H. says:

        When you’ve just described your new show about genuinely serious topics (even if your description of it is rote to the point that you repeat the same phrases every time you describe it), and someone says in reply, “I want to ask a serious question. Stand-up, television, or film?” you can be certain that you’re not dealing with smart people.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I think you nailed it perfectly.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The reaction of the woman in the blue dress was perhaps my favorite tv moment ever. She looked terrified, like she’d woken up from dream about going to school naked, only to realize it was really happening. She seemed to kn0w he was right, but her whole career depends on the charade not being exposed. It looked as though she thought the network head might come down and fire them all right then and there.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        That’s Mika, Joe’s cohost. She’s allegedly well-educated.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michelle says:

          Even well-educated people can drink the kool-aid if their pay check depends on it.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michelle says:

          Even well-educated people can drink the kool-aid if their pay check depends on it.Report

        • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Michelle says:

          I have no reason to doubt she’s both bright (Zbigniew Brzezinski ‘s kid) and reasonably well educated (Wiki says she earned a degree in English from Willams College).

          More interestingly Wiki says that in 2007 there was a tiff between her and Joe Scarborough when she refused to lead on air with a story about Paris Hilton, thinking a story about Republican Senator Dick Lugar separating himself from Prez. Bush on the Iraq War was more important, going so far as to try to light the script on fire on air, and later running it through a paper shredder.

          So she really does recognize the issue of triviality vs. news. So maybe the gut-punched look was realizing that she used to be the person doing what Brand was doing, and that she was now being called out for becoming what she despised.

          But I’d hesitate to go with Lee’s Kool-Aid comment. I’ll support the doing what your paycheck depends on, but I think it’s entirely possible that she’s been bothered by it all along, a bit of self-loathing about selling out perhaps, and her unhappiness about it was brought to the surface–on live national TV, unfortunately for her–by Brand’s incisive commentary.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

            I went through that Nine Minutes o’ Fun three times, it was that good. You’re hit the nail on the head, saying So maybe the gut-punched look was realizing that she used to be the person doing what Brand was doing, and that she was now being called out for becoming what she despised.

            Started looking a bit like Fellini’s Amarcord for a while there.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP says:

              She was on her heels from the moment right at the beginning when she leaned over to adjust the table and Brand referred to her low cut dress and said “I have instincts” and all that. Even that – for a smart person – was enough to indict the whole show. Seemed to me she was clever enough to figure out where things were heading right away.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Stillwater says:

                the moment right at the beginning when she leaned over to adjust the table and Brand referred to her low cut dress and said “I have instincts”

                That, to me, seemed like an aggressive and uncalled-for assertion of male privilege. Brand largely won me back by the end of the interview, but that early tactic of maneuvering her into a place of sexual objectification didn’t exactly set me up to appreciate his later moves.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Was it that, or was he satirizing the fact that part of her journalistic act is to dress like a sexual object (although at least, unlike Fox, her dress came a reasonable distance below her crotch)? I don’t really know; I can read it both ways, and both seem reasonable.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

                I had assumed it was because immediately prior, they had all been going on about his open shirt and chest hair.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Oh, yeah, I forgot that was the sequence. They objectified him first, didn’t they? Fascinating.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I agree with Tod on this. Brand’s comment was the same type of objectification the cast had only seconds previously put him thru. I think Mika understood that. I think she knew right away that Brand was spoofing. Not them, but the roles they play on TV. And Mika realized that there was no way to respond to the spoofery without going outside the role, which would effectively make Brand’s point. The others … eh, I think they thought they were in on the joke.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

            This is a much more intelligent explanation than mine.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

            This is a much more intelligent explanation than mine.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        “It looked as though she thought the network head might come down and fire them all right then and there.”

        They didn’t?

        Is it odd that I really did feel comforted when he, sorry, Willy, looked at the camera and told America that it would be OK?Report

  9. Avatar NewDealer says:

    “[A big, thankful hat tip to the always fabulous Alyssa Rosenberg.] ”

    I will dissent on this part. She isn’t always fabulous and she can often be the nerd sore-winner. She is not merely content with Star Trek, Comics, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones having a renaissance and being hot for the box office. She often seems to need them to displace Austen, Joyce and Beckett from being taught at university. Her tendency as a writer seems to be “What X gets wrong about Y”

    She can also have double cultural standards by being adamant about defending the right of Veronica Mars to use kickstarter while being concerned at Amanda Palmer and Zach Braff using crowd-sourcing to publicly fund their artistic projects.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      Do you have any evidence for your first accusation?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Her tendency as a writer seems to be “What X gets wrong about Y””

      That’s accurate enough that it made me laugh out loud.

      A while back I started a series of blog posts that were satires of other bloggers, done in their style but pushed a little bit farther. The title of the Alyssa post was “What Randy Jackson’s American Idol Pick of Scotty McCreery Gets Wrong About Gloria Steinhem.”

      I thought they were pretty good, but I never posted them because I thought that those I was satirizing would not receive it in the spirit of love and fandom that had been my intent.Report

    • Avatar Drew in reply to NewDealer says:

      She also blatantly misrepresented Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar performance in a way that gave me the impression she hadn’t actually watched it.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Drew says:

        I watched it. And it sucked.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Drew says:

        No she was right here. MacFarlane is a deeply unfunny man.

        She was dead wrong about an essay she wrote at slate on Romeo and Juliet though. Though the cast actors are still way too old for their respective roles as Romeo and Juliet.Report

        • Avatar Drew in reply to NewDealer says:

          My issue wasn’t with whether or not it was good or funny. She removed context from a lot of the stuff she recounted in a way that made it look like she’d read what everyone else was saying on social media instead of actually watching it for herself.Report

  10. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    I see this a little differently.

    These pundits and morning hosts and talk-show types are very comfortable and confident speaking and comporting themselves a certain way. It is an act of a certain sort. (That isn’t such an insult. As a former teacher, I can say when I taught, I was putting on a certain sort of act, too. We all do it: cops, teachers, therapists, parents, bosses, etc. You were a mask and are less nervous thanif you didn’t have it.)

    Brand came on and was doing everything he could to take that particular act of talking like a pundit away from them. How he did it was really smart. Had he been aggressively critical of them as a news organization (a la John Stewart on Crossfire), they would’ve treated him like an aggressive liberal pundit and asked if entertainers had legitimate things to say about politics. Had he been a flaky actor type, they would’ve just kept making fun of him in a condescending way asking the sort of questions they were asking. In fact, they tried making fun of him in a condescending way, and he just responded by saying that he was a human being and this isn’t how you should talk to a human being. This was his most effective point,

    He alsosuggested he was open to talking about ideas (his show’s topic or even Bradley Manning) but they didn’t want to go there and have a real conversation with him because that didn’t fit the pundit act they were used to. When he joked that the environment looked like journalism but wasn’t and that sometimes in media they stir things up in fake ways, the panel looked more inauthentic.

    I should add that guys and girls like Brand (comedians, some actors, some attractive people) know how (I suppose it is more subconscious than intentional) to use their gaze and a hint of flirtation to completely rattle you. (Therapists have a similar technique in using a flat affect and silence.) That was part of what he was doing here.

    Brezinski did not deal well. I actually felt bad for her. It seems to me that she is good at putting on the act of being a TV/Host pundit, but is extremely nervous without the act (the other two were flumoxed, but they seemed happy to just let Brand go on and wait for the commercial), and when he forced her to stop the act by not playing along, she really panicked and he pounced but trying to talk like a human being about her nervousness, which just took away her pundit act even more, because pundits aren’t supposed to talk about being nervous. Brilliant.Report