Inequality, alienation, and comedy with Russell Brand

Episode 39 with Russell Brand

This week, we’re joined by writer and comedian Russell Brand to talk about inequality and alienation, alongside Brand’s own political journey and his creative work.

When travelling in impoverished regions in galling luxury, as I have done, you have to undergo some high-wire ethical arithmetic to legitimise your position. If you can’t geographically separate yourself from poverty, then you have to do it ideologically. You have to believe inequality is OK. You have to accept the ideas that segregate us from one another and nullify your human instinct for fairness…

The above passage is taken from a 2014 article that Brand wrote for the Guardian. In his article, Brand deals with some essential questions: As humans, are we geared toward unfairness? What kind of security and protection from everyday life does wealth provide? How are positions of power communicated in the titles we use for one another? Of course, Brand is known for his wit, and the essay is a fresh, bracing read, considering the ways that luxury and wealth allow people to build a padded barrier between themselves and the rest of society.

With Russell as our guide, we’ll discuss how to deconstruct that barrier, imagining new ways to tackle the topic of societal inequality — on scales both large and small. Paid subscribers, join us for the conversation on Friday, when it’s released on Substack. Free audio will be available Saturday on all major streaming platforms, including Pandora, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.