Story – Robert McKee's Creative Storytelling Magazine Issue 005 – Drew Carey - Page 13

MCKEE INTERVIEWS RUSSELL BRAND Robert McKee: I’ve always said that it’s great fun on both sides of the stage. People in the audience, of course, are having a great time when the work is going well, but so is the comic. Doing it is great fun. Russell Brand: Yeah. Yeah, when it’s good. RM: Yeah. There’s another energy in comedy, as old as comedy, which is sex. The first great performers, comic performers on stage, wore a phallus down to their knees just so that the audience understood what the real source of energy was. RB: I didn’t know that. RM: You didn’t know that? It was literally down to their knees, and then over the… RB: Was this commedia dell’arte or what? Earlier than that? RM: No, this was Aristophanes; this was the Greek. RB: Euripides and all the frogs and all that stuff. RM: This was old comedy. Flies, frogs, all the bugs, and all that stuff. This was 2000, 600, and 500 years ago. Then over the centuries, that phallus got smaller and smaller. Then by the Shakespearean… RB: Not in all cases. RM: [laughs] Then in Shakespearean times, they just wore what was called a codpiece, which was like a jock strap on the outside of your costume. Then with Victorian repression, it became Charlie Chaplain’s cane, Groucho Marx’s cigar, Woody Allen’s glasses, and on and on. Do you recognize the sexual energy of comedy, and if so, what is your phallus— your surrogate phallus? where do we go with our sexuality? In that moment when you’re caught up in your sexuality, with that thing that’s either an animal or a child, if someone can touch you there, there’s an, “AH!” And you’re going to laugh, and it is just so private. RM: You might be the first tattooed comic. RB: Yeah, that’s just one of my claims. RM: That’s sexual. RB: Well, for me, there is constant use and reference to sexuality because of its explosive nature, and because of the implied privacy and the odd contradiction of the sanctity of sexual relationships and the profanity of sexual relationships. For me, I’m constantly referring back to that energy. I suppose because of its literal biological explosiveness of the active ejaculation. My symbol of the phallus is the phallus. You know, I am forever grinding my hips and swirling around up there and referring to sexual energy, but I actually have never really translated it. But I use sex quite a lot, even in a show like Messiah Complex. If it becomes theoretically dense, I will explode it with sexual content. In terms of the frequencies of consciousness we know, Story Magazine // Issue 005 RB: Yeah, in a way. I think they ’re sort of like clowns as characters. There’s like a topless sexuality— it’s a chaotic sexuality. In terms of reputation, sexuality has always been sort of part of what I do. On stage, for me, the sexuality is about the juxtaposition and the explosion between the profane and the sacred. That’s where that stuff comes from. In terms of content, it gives you access to things that are very intimate and private. When I talk about my sexuality, it’s always in a humiliating way. Sometimes I’ll make very bold show-off statements, but then I’m always deflated. The humor is surely coming from the flaccid phallus, not the erect phallus. One of the jokes I’ve always had, actually, is that it’s nice when