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.
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 presents 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. Russell has a number of exciting projects in development and has most recently been seen hosting Celebrity Big Brother's Mouth on E4.
In 2005 and 2006 Russell continued his work on Big Brother, hosting Big Brothers Big Mouth. Which was very successful and is now lining up to another series for the forth coming Big Brother 7 this May. He also performed at Edinburgh again last year, with his hit show Eroticised Humour. He will be performing there again this summer. Russell has gone back to MTV to host a new music and enteratainment show, 1 Leceister Square.