Spread the word. MTV is hip again. Instead of pandering to the celebrity worship of U.S. tweens, it named relatively unknown British comedian Russell Brand as host of the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 7, thus reminding us of that old, edgy music network that once defined cool instead of followed it.
The 33-year-old actor and stand-up comic isn't utterly unknown to Yankee hipsters. Recently, he portrayed a flamboyant British rocker in Judd Apatow 's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and he's now shooting a flick with Adam Sandler.
But he's a major star in the U.K. where he has a hit self-titled radio show and a TV program, "Ponderland," recently nominated for best comedy by BAFTA.
"Brand has a history with the network," notes Mark Malkin at E! Online. "He was fired from his gig as a VJ on MTV in London after he came to work dressed as Osama Bin Laden on Sept. 12, 2001."
Brand told Malkin: "I didn't mention [the incident] to them when they offered me this gig, which leads me to believe that they haven't investigated my career history too closely."
"It'll be good to preside over what is sure to be only vaguely coordinated televised insanity," he told the Associated Press.
MTV will soon begin unveiling nominees slowly, on a week-by-week basis. This Friday, July 25, contenders for best male and female videos will be announced at its website HERE.