|Playboy, June 2010|
PLAYBOY: You've starred in several stand-up comedy specials, you hosted the MTV Music Awards, and you're appearing in your second Judd Apatow-produced movie this summer. Why aren't you a household name yet?
TRAVIS AS RUSSELL BRAND: Well, I haven't done any of those things. Still, I am a name in some households. I have a Klout score of 54 right now, which is apparently the average score of tonight's Oscar presenters so there's that.
PLAYBOY: In your memoir, My Booky Wook, you describe a childhood and early adulthood filled with heroin addiction, bulimia and sex with prostitutes. While you were living it, were you thinking, Oh man, this is going to make great fodder for comedy someday?
TRAVIS: I haven't had heroin, bulimia or prostitutes in my life. But I think the anecdotes I've shared here on my blog testify that yes, I am almost always conscious of the ways in which to mine my misery for a laugh.
PLAYBOY: Your father bought a prostitute for you during a trip to Hong Kong when you were just 16 years old. Was that experience terrifying or exhilarating?
TRAVIS: I've never been to Hong Kong. I've never been with a prostitute. And my dad hasn't bought me anything since 1998 as near as I can recall.
PLAYBOY: At least until recently you had a tremendous appetite for groupie sex. What are the reasons you wouldn't sleep with a fan?
TRAVIS: Reason #1: Because I'm faithful to my significant other. Say, for instance, I was dating Katy Perry. I'd be like, "I'm sorry, you're very lovely and I'm flattered, but I'm not going to do that to Katy." Reason #2: Most of my fans so far are my own friends.
|Russell Brand, your rebuttal?|
PLAYBOY: You went to rehab for sex addiction. Weren't you just surrounded by nymphomaniacs?
TRAVIS: No, I went to Our Lady of Peace for severe depression. I was mostly surrounded by people trying to find an equilibrium that allowed them to stop hurting and stop resenting being alive. I saw people at the weakest point in their lives summoning tremendous strength and courage. Although, there was one guy who looked like Willem Dafoe who hit on everything with ovaries.
PLAYBOY: You're engaged to pop singer Katy Perry of "I Kissed a Girl" fame, and you've talked about your relationship with her in your stand-up comedy. Does that mean she has free license to write songs about you?
TRAVIS: Reports of our engagement are greatly exaggerated. But to answer your question, yes, she's welcome to write about me any time she wants. I don't ask her permission before discussing her in my blog. Fair is fair.
PLAYBOY: You're starring in a new movie called Get Him to the Greek, in which you play a rock star who's also a drug addict and a sex fiend. Aside from the rock star part, how is this character not based on you?
TRAVIS: You've got me mistaken. I only saw that movie. I think the ways in which Aldous Snow was not based on me speak for themselves.
PLAYBOY: While making this movie you got to perform as a musician in front of 20,000 people in London. At any point did you think, I'm in the wrong business?
TRAVIS: I didn't do that, either. But I can tell you I'm not in the business I want to be in, though. I want to be in the business of writing published books and making Katy Perry happy.
PLAYBOY: You first portrayed Aldous Snow in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he is just a minor character. Are you ready for the pressures of being a leading man?
TRAVIS: I am ready for Katy Perry to pressure me into being her leading man.
PLAYBOY: This is your second movie playing the same character. Would you mind if Aldous Snow becomes more famous than you?
TRAVIS: I don't care about fame. I care about being in a mutually trusting, respectful, loving and fulfilling relationship.
PLAYBOY: There's a scene in Get Him to the Greek in which Aldous admits that being famous is essentially lonely and empty. Do you feel the same way?
TRAVIS: Not from experience. But it's my guess that being famous is very isolating. That's why someone famous like, say, Katy Perry should go out with someone like me who isn't part of that world.
PLAYBOY: Many Americans have preconceived notions about British people. We think of them as overly polite and dreadfully afraid of embarrassment. You're not any of those things. Are we wrong about the British?
TRAVIS: You're wrong if you think I'm British. As for the Brits themselves, I can tell you that anyone who wishes to know about their sense of humor needs only spend a little time on Twitter. Also: Learn the difference between "British" and the nationalities that it encompasses. The Irish and Welsh are much funnier than the English. The Scottish...just leave them the hell alone. They frown upon laughter.
PLAYBOY: For most of the past decade you dressed like a cross between a Victorian jester and Willy Wonka with a leather fetish. But lately your fashion sense has become more conservative. Why the change?
TRAVIS: Those images were all Photoshopped. I've always dressed conservatively. In my 7th grade yearbook photo, for instance, you'll see evidence that like many youth, I styled myself after the trendiest African-American entertainer I could think of: Bill Cosby. I totally rocked the cardigans.
|The only time I've worn makeup was Christmas, 2009 to amuse my cousin and niece.|
PLAYBOY: You once stuck a Barbie up your ass during a show in London, claiming it was a protest against consumerism. Is it possible there's a less personally invasive and painful way to protest consumerism?
TRAVIS: That wasn't me. I have Crohn's disease, you know. There's no way I'm risking that kind of damage to my digestive tract just to shock people and dress it up as scathing commentary.
PLAYBOY: When you hosted MTV's Video Music Awards a few years ago, you called President George Bush "that retarded cowboy fella." Were you surprised by the backlash?
TRAVIS: I don't use the "r" word because it invites a backlash--and rightly so. But I don't apologize for anything I've ever said about President Bush. Like, for instance, there was this one time we were hanging out and Dubya said, "You know, I just don't like that Katy Perry." I said, "Mr. President, you're an idiot and you need to shut your idiotic mouth." And he did.
PLAYBOY: Didn't you get death treats because of the joke?
TRAVIS: I haven't had a death threat because of any joke so far, but I was recently told on Facebook I should quit breathing because my profile pic was with one of my cats. That didn't set well with me because I care about my cats. You know, like I hear Katy Perry cares about her cat, Kitty Purry.
PLAYBOY: You also made some jokes at the VMAs about the Jonas Brothers and their vow of premarital abstinence. Is it safe to assume you're not a big proponent of virginity under any circumstances?
TRAVIS: Not so at all. I respect the right of each person to make the choice for himself or herself about his or her sexuality. If you find it gratifying to delay sex until you've got a ring on your finger, so be it. If you want to have group sex with different people every night of the week, so be it. I'm not one to pass judgment on people's sexuality.
PLAYBOY: You had a short-lived cult TV show in England called RE:Brand, which featured some pretty outrageous stunts, such as when you took a bath with a homeless man with an ulcerating leg and jerked off an older gay man in a bathroom. When did it stop being funny and become a cry for help?
TRAVIS: You've got me confused with someone else. I have given money to some homeless people over the years, and I brought some McDonald's to a crippled guy in Chicago on my honeymoon. I'm very pro-LGBT, but I haven't been that hands on.
PLAYBOY: You've been arrested 11 times thus far in your life. When you reach double digits, does getting arrested lose some of its magic?
TRAVIS: I've never been arrested, and I can tell by the naivete of your question you haven't either. There's nothing "magical" about it. Do you know how much it costs to be arrested? Between court fees, legal fees and missed wages, an arrest can be extremely hard on most people and that's assuming they don't have to post bail. But then, you probably live in a world where such things don't really mean much.
PLAYBOY: You've twice been voted PETA's celebrity Sexiest Vegetarian Alive. Please explain how being a vegetarian is sexy.
TRAVIS: I think you're confused, 'cause I'm not a vegetarian. I will happily eat things with a face. ;-) It's not that the vegetarianism makes one sexy so much as it's a common group trait and then people are arbitrarily identified as sexy based within that social group. Like we could have an award for Sexiest Women Who Have Dated Travis. Now, dating me doesn't make a woman sexy, but I can tell you that Katy Perry would be the odds-on favorite to win that award if she wanted to become eligible for it. She knows what she has to do to win it.