Russell Brand brings laughter to the Select Committee

Russell Brand appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday and poked fun at MPs and referenced the late rapper Tupac Shakur during his speech.

Brand was speaking to MPs about his own personal experiences of drug addiction and offering suggestions on UK drug policy.

The comic claimed that there needs to be more “love and compassion” for addicts and backed an abstinence-based approach for treating drug addiction.

He also downplayed the significance of celebrities as role models in society, commenting: “As the great Tupac Shakur said, role is something people play, model is something that people make. Both of them things are fake. What I want to offer people is truth and authenticity.

“I can’t be held responsible for what the cipher of my image is used to represent… Celebrity is a vapid, vacuous and toxic concept used to distract people from what’s actually important, which in this case is treatment of disease of addiction.”

Russell appeared alongside Chip Somers, the chief executive of Focus 12, the detox centre where he sought help.

Following Amy Winehouse’s death last summer, Brand wrote a tribute to the singer.

“Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death,” he wrote. “Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today.

“We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s (Cobain) or Jimi’s (Hendrix) or Janis’s (Joplin), some people just get the affliction.

“All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, said: “Hearing from those personally affected by drugs use is essential to our inquiry.

“I welcome Russell Brand’s openness about his addiction and recovery. I hope that his experiences will help us understand the nature of addiction and the impact that it has on addicts and those around them.”