Smokey Robinson cemented Motown genius when he wrote of “the tears of a clown, when there’s no one around.” Alas, I haven’t gotten my keen hands on U.K. comic comer Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook, but it’s clear his quasi-DeQuincey-meets-Dickens autobiography seconds Smokey’s emotions. This season’s supreme trickster possesses boundless ambition and puts a
meta-rockist spin on a long tradition of English dry wit that’s made him a
darling of the 2000s remix of the late Donald Cammell’s Chelsea set. Yet
America’s a far different, anti-intellectual beastie, darlin’, and it remains to be seen whether our Russell’s bling-sharp brilliance and
rapid-fire vocal deployment of subcultural Molotovs can truly translate in the colonies. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall triumph aside, here’s hoping he instigates a trend of emerging jesters armed with the lost art of timing, and unafraid-to-be-grown folks addressing their pain and pleasure to same.
Nov. 13-14, 8 p.m., 2008
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 5, 2008