Russell Brand

English comic Russell Brand was basically unknown here until the 2008 Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he played a preeningly self-absorbed rock star. (Bombing on MTV’s VMA awards that year also helped.) But the film was such a hit that he’s reprising the role in Get Him to the Greek (opening June 4) and currently touring the U.S. with his mop of hair and calculated insouciance. Whether discussing drugs or prostitutes, Brand assumes a kind of innocent wonderment toward sin and transgression (chiefly his own). He seems to be asking, How could anyone find this so wrong? But his giggly, high-pitched South London accent and foppish stage demeanor are something of a façade. There’s a nimble mind at work beneath the back-combed coiffure. Brand shifts easily from politics to class issues to sports (he’s written about soccer for The Guardian), all the while maintaining his cheerful mock quest for transatlantic celebrity. Eagerly tracking his Google search rankings, he’s said more than once, “My personality doesn’t work without fame. Without fame, this haircut just looks like mental illness.” BRIAN MILLER

Fri., April 23, 8 p.m., 2010

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