British comedian and actor Russell Brand was performing in Islington, England, when he the topic of the 2012 Olympics came up. Brand made it clear that he thought the Olympics were a complete waste of time and money. Then he added a comment about the Paralympic Games that received quite a bit of backlash.
“I don’t give a fuck about the Olympics,” Brand told The People newspaper. “It’s boring Blue Peter sport and a waste of taxpayers’ money. At least the Paralympics have some kind of novelty value or something.”
By describing the Paralympics as having just “novelty value,” Brand has been harshly criticized. The Paralympics were started back in 1948 by a group of WW2 veterans.
Natasha Baker, 21, will represent England in the next Paralympics. While talking to a reporter from the same newspaper, she said, “We’ve suffered life-threatening illnesses. It’s both patronising and upsetting for Russell Brand to describe us as a novelty.”
Neil Coyle from the Disability Alliance also had a problem with the way Brand chose to describe the event.
“It’s a shame a comedian of his stature should lower himself to have a pop at Paralympians,” he said. “It’s almost like Russell Brand has gone back to the eighties when that kind of humour was acceptable. It is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.”
There’s certainly been lots of controversy in the comedy world lately. Personally, I think Brand is great guy – his kind words for Amy Winehouse after her passing shows he has a big heart. I wouldn’t be surprised if he releases a very sincere apology asap.
Check out some classic Russell Brand stand-up from a show he did in New York City, courtesy of YouTube: