I’m sure many of you have seen Russel Brand’s expert mockery of both the news media and the anchor’s supposed social skills (see above). Videos of Brand pop up every so often and they’re ripe with applicable knowledge. His chaotically funny and flirtatious over-the-top rambling is his number one skill—nearly every female interviewer I’ve seen with him ends up a giggling school girl. This is a video of genius in many forms. The man is a comedian, and like many comedians his best skill is presenting real issues in a comedic light. He ridicules the news media, makes fun of their superficiality, and exposed their contrived images. More importantly Brand showcases an expert application of social skills. Within the first minute he has set the frame of the conversation and has designated each participant a role.
0:12 Just over ten seconds into the interview Brand begins showing his disinterest for being there. This is not an angry disinterest, but a playful one. Brand calmly spins in his chair while the three interviewers rigidly sit there as if they were puppets controlled by a puppeteer. By creating such a stark contrast between him and them he sets the stage for the later parts of the interview.
0:35 Brian, your outfit is fucked. You have no originality and you are a product of your superiors and nothing else. You have not an ounce of autonomy in your entire body. You are a gear in their well oiled machine. In terms of game, Brand deals with his biggest obstacle right away. He instantly paints Brian as boring and the only way Brian can get out of the hole Brand dug for him is to become a try hard, begging for the attention of others.
0:55 “You’re a fellow Englishwoman…” With one sentence Brand frames it so that this woman is ‘on his side’ since they share a commonality. He recognizes this woman is the less dominant of the two woman so he gets her on his side. Throughout the course of the interview she refrains from playing along with the other two’s antics.
1:13 The last thing Brand does is spark the attraction of the most dominant interviewer, Mika. Brand has her help him put the table back to her. This is already an act of compliance and submission on her part. Immediately after, he comments on her dress and how low cut it ism thus sexualizing the interaction. He flirtatiously tells her he is a man and he has animal desires. From then on this host is uncomfortably squirming around in a puddle of her own sexual juices. A woman will always submit to a more dominant man, it doesn’t matter if she is the host of a popular “news” program.
Brand creates his own reality. By non-verbally showing direct contrast to the anchors, without being overt about it, he gains the upper hand. The anchors treat him like a zoo animal, but he masterfully plays off it. Compare Brand’s expert control of an interaction with that of the average person. These news anchors try to gain dominance by pretending he isn’t there, talking down to him, and trying to trip him up in what he is saying, and of course they fail. They’re unoriginal and try to bring up the same points over and over. Brian thinks Brand’s power comes from his cold chain and open chested shirt.
Another facet of Brand’s dominance is his positive demeanor and his use of the interviewers’ reality against them. He never insults or argues with the host and instead chooses to either change the subject or make a comment that they have to comply with as to not look like an asshole. He mocks their entire existence while they smile and nod.
Brand won within the first minute of the interview. The anchors had no hope, they could not impose their will on his reality.