Brand brings his provocative comedy to Tampa

September 19, 2013 

Even before the hirsute comic offended the fashion world by joking at the GQ awards about sponsor Hugo Boss' support for Nazis, Russell Brand was a love-him-or-hate-him kind of entertainer.

Always brashly iconoclastic and unconventional, he's also twitchy, loud, egotistical and purposely obnoxious, owing as much to Howard Stern as to George Carlin.

The artist formerly known as Katy Perry's husband will be in Tampa on Friday with a touring show called "Messiah Complex."

He describes a messiah complex as a mental disorder that causes people to think they're saviors, and posits that Hitler and even Malcolm X may have suffered from that delusion.

That's fairly innocuous, but Brand also wonders whether Gandhi and Jesus Christ had a messiah complex.

The show is apparently intended primarily to be an examination of why we feel the need to exalt leaders, politicians and celebrities.

Reviews of earlier shows on the tour have not been especially impressive. Generally, it seems that hardcore Brand fans loved the show, and others were not bowled over.

But Brand includes a decent amount of improvisation a local references in his performances, so each show is different.

He also tends to include profanity and frank or even graphic talk about sex, so it's probably a good idea to leave the kids at home.

Details: 8 p.m. Sept. 20, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets: $55-67 plus service charge and up. Information: 813-229-7827,

-- Marty Clear

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