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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Michael Vick's Redemption and Million-Dollar Comeback; Interview with Russell Brand
Aired July 17, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, Michael Vick. The primetime exclusive from NFL superstar to convict and back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL VICK, AUTHOR, "MICHAEL VICK: FINALLY FREE": The toughest moment of my life, tougher than any football game that I've lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The dog fighting scandal that sent him to prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICK: On the one hand, I love dogs. On the other hand, you know, I was in love with the competition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: His redemption and his $100 million comeback. Now Michael Vick tells his side of the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICK: I just fell into that trap and started believing what I wanted to believe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, the one man who might just scare even Michael Vick. Russell Brand. Unpredictable, dangerous, outspoken and very, very funny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL BRAND, COMEDIAN: Shut up, Piers.
MORGAN: All right. That's enough. Off you go. We'll be right back. Get off. Russell Brand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Who knows what might happen?
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Our "Big Story" tonight, the redemption of Michael Vick. He was on top of the world as the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, (INAUDIBLE) in the league was a record $130 million contract. Millions more in endorsements. But it all came crashing down in 2007 when the police raided a house that he owned and uncovered an illegal dog fighting ring. Vick spent 18 months in federal prison for his role on running the ring and his involvement in the killing of dogs. He declared bankruptcy in 2008 and was released from prison the following year.
Now Michael Vick is the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. But did he ever expect to make such a spectacular comeback? He tells the story of his long road to redemption on the book "Finally Free: An Autobiography." And Michael Vick joins me now for a primetime exclusive interview.
VICK: Thanks for having me.
MITCHELL: What does "Finally Free" mean?
VICK: The title speaks for itself. I think, you know, finally free. Frame of mind, you know, free in the body, free in the soul. And you know ready to, you know, take that step forward and, you know, leave the past in the past. And something that -- I wanted to do a long time ago. From the time I picked up the pen and started writing the book. So now it's here. And it's finally coming to fruition.
MORGAN: What did you learn about yourself? When you finished the book and you covered this extraordinary story, and we'll come to some of the details, what did you learn about Michael Vick?
VICK: Well, I learned that I wasn't as forth right as I always wanted to be and thought I could be. You know, being in prison, so you have a lot of time to sit back and think about, you know, the things that you didn't do so right. And, you know, as -- knowing myself, I know I was supposed to do those things correctly, you know, so I felt like I was a liar in a sense.
And I wanted to change it. But it was too late. I was -- I was often in the dark in a prison cell with no opportunity to, you know, explain, you know, or even, you know, ask for forgiveness.
MORGAN: What was the lowest moment for you, of the whole thing?
VICK: I think the lowest moment was when I, you know, I had to tell my son that I was going to prison and that I was going to be going for two years.
MORGAN: It came up on television. You were watching television with him.
MORGAN: And up flashes this news.
MORGAN: That you may be going to prison for several years.
MORGAN: And there's your young son. And he screams out. Like, what is this? How do you deal with that?
VICK: He just broke down crying. It's hard because I think -- I didn't think he was able to understand the prison concept and what it meant. But I think he's seen it so much and it became so repetitive that, being a young kid, you know, they're a lot smarter these days than, you know, than we were. He picked up on it. And he just knew it wasn't good. It wasn't, you know, pictures of me smiling and, you know, pictures of gratitude. It was pictures of, you know, me walking into a courthouse. And, you know, them saying derogatory things at the moment.
MORGAN: When you came to tell him what you had done, it's a hard thing for a father to do.
VICK: It's tough.
MORGAN: How did you -- how did you explain it?
VICK: Well, the situation came about when his mom told me he had been getting teased by some of his friends at school, which is solely my fault, which is a situation that was out of my control. So I really didn't have to sit him down and explain. He came to me. And, you know, what could you -- what can you tell a kid that's, you know, 4 years old, 4 1/2 years old who, you know, don't understand exactly what dog fight mean. Don't understand why his dad is going to jail.
And, you know, really can't understand the explanation in detail. And how deep it was. And the only thing I could tell him was that, daddy was leaving.
MORGAN: Hard moment.
VICK: Tough moment. Toughest moment of my life. Tougher than any football game that I've lost. Tougher than any sack that I've taken. Any amount of money that I've lost.
MORGAN: Reading your story a few things sprung out at me. Because I think they're putting context to what happened to you, on why you ended up where you did. You've got to understand some of your background, where you grew up in Virginia. The kind of culture that you grew up in. The streets that you grew up in.
It was a violent place. You know, you say in the book there was one summer where you heard gunfire every single night.
VICK: Right. MORGAN: Of that summer. I can't even imagine that kind of existence. You know, I grew up in a leafy little village on the south coast of England. It's a totally alien concept to me.
MORGAN: Tell me about what it is like to live in that kind of atmosphere.
VICK: You know, it's a very forbidden place sometimes. And it can seem that way, you know. You try to make the most out of it. At the present time, you don't see what's around you, you know. You living in the moment. And you really don't understand, you know, how detrimental it is, you know, to the environment. And, you know, hearing gunshots every night, seeing all forms of violence, you just think it's the norm and --
MORGAN: Does it -- does it desensitize violence? Does it make it not seem -- you know, to me, the concept of dog fighting, and we'll come to that, is horrific. But then I was never brought up in a situation where it seemed normal.
VICK: Yes, it make it seem like, you know, violence isn't something that, you know, everybody was against, you know, make it seem like it's right, you know, because it's so consistent. Night in and night out, you know, day in and day out. So, you know, you start to believe that, you know, there's no consequences behind it. And that's unfortunate --
MORGAN: Because it's sort of meaningless.
VICK: And it's unfortunate. It's meaningless. It's unfortunate.
MORGAN: You say on the book about the first dog fight you witnessed. You were 8 years old. "One day a friend and I stepped outside the building where I lived in the Ridley Circle housing project." You saw kids and you go into the detail of this. You said then you were scared to death of dogs that you didn't know. You jumped on a mailbox to watch it.
"And for the ringside seats, we saw guys putting their dogs' faces right in front of one another, they would grab and they would fight. I remember two of them were fighting when a third smaller dog jumped on the back of one of the larger dogs to make it two on one. I didn't know what to think of it all. In a way it captured my attention but it also seemed mean, even cruel. The bottom line, though, is that on that very day, my fascination with dog fighting began. I wish it had never happened."
What you saw as an 8-year-old boy, although horrific, seemed exciting to you, did it?
VICK: Yes, because, you know, I always had a passion for animals and I always had a dog. I kept a dog wherever I could keep it. My mom wouldn't let me keep one in the house. So I always snuck and had a dog hidden somewhere. Took care of it, you know, with my own money. However I could get it. But the day I seen a dog fight, something changed.
I didn't know dogs would react in the way that they did. And, you know, although it may seem intriguing, you know, nobody ever said it was not the right thing to do or that it was wrong. And not making excuses for anybody because, you know, nobody has to tell you anything. You know, you only go off what you see. You know, at such a young age. And, you know, I just fell into that trap and started believing what I wanted to believe.
And it was never a point in my life where somebody tried to correct me or said that this was wrong. And as I grew up, I continued to think that, you know, it wasn't any consequences behind it or that I would never get in trouble for it.
MORGAN: People will -- they'll read the book and they'll see you claiming you're a dog lover. And they'll say, how can you be a dog lover when you killed a lot of dogs because they were too weak to fight?
MORGAN: When you enjoyed and made money from dogs fighting. How can you be both? How can you be a dog lover that enjoys doing that, too?
VICK: I know it may seem contradictory but, you know, that's just the person that I was. You know, on one hand I love dogs. On the other hand, you know, I was in love with the competition behind it. And, you know, for some reason I couldn't really see, you know, the meaning behind it or why I was really doing it. What really fascinated me, you know, other than just being involved.
And, you know, somebody would have told me that -- at a young age that you would go to prison for it, then I think I would have went in a different direction. Because my whole life was predicated on me accomplishing my one dream and that's making it to the NFL. And if it was any, you know, obstacle that would stand in my way, I would, you know -- I would avoid it. And that was just the set of advice that I'd never, ever received. And I think if I would have, I would have -- you know, I would have used it correctly like I did in other situations.
MORGAN: Did nobody say to you, stay clear of this? No parent, no family, no friend?
VICK: Nobody. Nobody knew, you know. It took place in places where, you know, you would have never thought --
MORGAN: It's a dark -- it's a dark secret that you have.
VICK: The times of night that you would never thought of, you know, unforbidden, unseen. And it was an underground world, you know, that we lived in. MORGAN: Did you -- be honest here. When you were doing it, did you enjoy it?
VICK: You know, I enjoyed the competition aspect of it. You know, as far as the cruelness and, you know, the grooming part of it and just being honest and being candid, no. You know, I wish it -- I wish it had been done a different way. But, you know, to be honest if I said I didn't then I would be lying. But that's just the person that I was. And that's what, you know, that's what I believed in. That's what I thought was, you know, satisfactory to me.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break, Michael. Want to come back and deal with the consequences of what you were doing with the dog fighting which in your case, turned out to be catastrophic. One of the great downfalls in sporting history.
MORGAN: The reaction to Michael Vick as he walked to court in 2007. He's back with me now.
I mean you've been booed many times in sporting arenas.
MORGAN: But to be booed in those circumstances must have been pretty hurtful.
VICK: Right. It was tough. You know, you feel like you lose your fan base. You feel like you let a lot of people down. People who may have admired what you've done. And had a great deal of appreciation for your accomplishments. And you feel like you worked so hard to let so many people down. And for what?
MORGAN: Just before the wall came crashing down on your life, you were the $130 million superstar. Everyone loved you. You were one of the most thrilling players in the history of the NFL, many said.
MORGAN: Again, be honest with me, what kind of person did that turn you into? Suddenly going from nothing, the projects in Virginia to this incredible superstar life.
MORGAN: Did it make you somebody that now you don't really recognize?
VICK: Yes, it did. And, you know, growing up and being raised with outstanding morals and values, you know, that was instilled in me from my mom, you know, and my dad, you know, I sort of became a person that I didn't really know.
You know, I was always humble. Always respectful. And I continued to stay that way. But at some point, a splash of arrogance I think overtook me. And I can honestly say I let money change me. In a sense. And you know, anytime that happens, that's a recipe for disaster. And it led me down a dark road.
MORGAN: I mean, yes, you say money changed you. I think it would change anybody, that kind of money. Never mind somebody who's had literally nothing.
MORGAN: To suddenly got $130 million attached to your name.
VICK: At 24 years old, that was a lot. You know, and being 32 now and looking back, I just understand the magnitude of, you know, how my life changed so much. And, you know, I had all the right people around me, giving me the right advice. It was just Mike's world. I wanted to do it my way and my way only.
And, you know, like I said, it's just a situation where you kind of lose sight of what's right and, you know, head down a dead end road.
MORGAN: Now that day in 2007 when the police raided this house, they took 66 dogs away and the dead bodies of eight more. What did you think the moment you heard this has happened?
VICK: I was on the golf course. And you know, probably playing one of the best games in my life. And I just immediately thought that everything was going to come crashing down. And, you know, five seconds later, started to think of how can I turn it around, what could I do? What could save and salvage the situation? But I knew that it was -- the investigation was going to be deeper and, you know, somebody was going to try to figure out what was going on.
So immediately I was just trying to find out what I could do to get myself out of it and try to turn that corner.
MORGAN: You lied to the NFL bosses and you expressed bitter regret for that.
MORGAN: They were decent people who deserved people. You've admitted that in the book. What about your family? Did you lie to them?
VICK: I lied to my mom. You know, she really didn't know what was going on. She -- I think I heard, you know, you know, just from people, you know, word of mouth that, you know, I was engaged in illegal activity. But, you know, she couldn't put a finger on it. And nobody else knew.
MORGAN: What was the moment you told your mother the truth?
VICK: I told her the truth the day I got -- I got arraigned. And -- MORGAN: And that must have been another very difficult moment.
VICK: Man, it was very difficult.
MORGAN: How did she react?
VICK: She was just upset, disappointed. I think my mom cried for, you know, four or five days, you know, straight. And everybody else around me who, you know, loved me and cared about me. Because they just didn't think that it would go that far. They didn't think I would end up going to prison eventually. And, you know, it was a dramatic change for everybody's life.
MORGAN: There's a very poignant part of the book where you are on your way to prison with your then fiance I think she was.
MORGAN: And you got married two weeks ago.
MORGAN: Congratulations. We'll come to the happy ending later. Tell me about that drive as you're heading towards incarceration.
VICK: You know, it's the longest drive ever. I don't care if it's, you know, 100 miles away or two miles away. You know, you reflect on everything that you had. You know, everything that, you know, you won't have and what you're leaving. And, you know, you kind of -- got -- you know, wake yourself up and let -- tell yourself that it's real.
MORGAN: You cried. I mean you were very emotional.
VICK: Yes. I cried all --
MORGAN: You always cry.
VICK: I cried all the way to the prison. I mean, all the way up until -- until I got out the car. And, you know, walked up to the guards and put my hands in handcuffs. And even then, you know, I still, you know, felt like at some point this was just a dream and I was going -- that I'd wake up, somebody was going to come and, you know, relieve me.
MORGAN: When you got inside prison for someone like you, you're this hugely famous.
MORGAN: Incredibly rich superstar reduced to just the ranks of a number.
MORGAN: In a prison cell. As the days went on and reality kicked in, it began hard, right? I mean those first few weeks?
VICK: Harder. Harder. The first -- the first day was tough. Second day was tough. The third, fourth and fifth day when it start to settle in that you're not going home and you're talking to your family and, you know, they're feeling the same way that you feel, it's no form of jubilation, it's, you know, all sadness, you know, from my sinister acts.
There's no explanation for it. You know, there's no way of consoling anybody. There's no way of consoling myself. And the only thing we could do is be strong and deal with it. But it's hard to be strong sometimes. And you know, we're only human, you know, and --
MORGAN: The interesting thing about you, you're a very polarizing figure, as you know. You know, when I announced I was doing the interview on my Twitter, it went crazy, good and bad. Many people saying good, the guy served his time.
MORGAN: He deserves his redemption. You're playing better than you've ever have. A lot other people say, and I'll be honest with you, you know, don't have this guy on, he's a dog killer, he's a horrible human being. He's not reformed. You're all this kind of -- you've -- you seem the same. You're on Twitter. You probably have the same comments to deal with.
MORGAN: What do you say to those who say the crime you did was just so awful, you shouldn't be even allowed to play football anymore?
VICK: You know, I overlook it. That's the reason I wrote this book, you know, so people can have a general understanding of my life. The origin of, you know, dog fighting. What I went through. Because some of them may be naive and not know. And I try not to dwell on people's thoughts and their perception because I know I can't change what everybody thinks.
MORGAN: Do you blame them or do you understand it?
VICK: I understand it. I don't blame them. You know, I do believe that everybody's entitled to a second chance. I'm pretty sure those same people are, you know, not saints and having gone through that life and done everything right. You know, so, you know, you can't be hypocritical in a sense. I mean you've got to take it for what it's worth. And if that person is a person who, you know, has lived their life with no regrets and done everything right and very successful, then I understand.
You know, but, you know, it's a lot of sinister acts going on in this world. And this was a situation that needed attention. And that's why, you know, I'm working with the Humane Society. And there's a lot of other things that's going on that needs attention as well. So that may be the reason, you know, I went through what I went through. To help other people not -- to not go through the situation I went through.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. I want to come back and talk about the good stuff that came after all this terrible stuff. The redemption. The career back on track. Back with your family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICK: Whatever I would say to anybody who's out there who's currently fighting dogs, it's not the right thing to do. Just read between the lines. Understand that. You're going to have a pet, you're going to have an animal, you need to treat it with the utmost respect. You know, do something more productive with your life instead of taking animals and conducting a pointless activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's from Michael Vick's new PSA for the Humane Society. He's back with me now.
You've done lots of that stuff since you came back.
MORGAN: And people say, good, you should do it.
MORGAN: So I'm not going to overdo the credit for what I guess most people say is what -- the least you should be doing. What I'm interested in is how you felt when you came out of prison. Obviously a great day for you to get back with your family.
MORGAN: There's a great passage in the book again when you're reunited with your daughter who you hadn't seen for six months.
MORGAN: Before that, she'd just seen you through this (INAUDIBLE) screen.
VICK: Glass. Yes.
MORGAN: What was that moment like for you?
VICK: You know, I was elated, you know, to get back home to my family, you know, more than anything. You know, when I was in prison, we struggled. And my family, you know, had to suffer through hardships that we never thought that we would have to endure. And, you know, to be home, to have an opportunity to make change. Seeing my kids. You know, seeing my fiance at the time, you know, really gave me an opportunity, you know, to start to dream and believe again, and have faith in -- you know, that small sort of thing and seeing them that day, you know, gave me a sense of hope.
MORGAN: When you saw your little girl -- and you're honest enough to admit that she sort of wasn't quite sure --
VICK: Yeah, she wasn't --
MORGAN: -- if this was daddy or not. I mean, that's an awful moment for any father. Did you vow to yourself, you know, I'm never going to put my kids in this sort of position again?
VICK: Oh, yeah, before I even got home. I knew it was going to be that way. I could foresee it coming. You know, I said to myself that I would try to go each and every day. And I knew it would be a struggle. And try to make the right decisions every day.
And you know, it's not going to be easy. Every day, it's going to be a challenge. You know, I understand, you know, we're always going to be a work in progress as human beings. But my goal was to not let my kids down. Most importantly, not let my family and myself down.
MORGAN: You got married two weeks ago.
MORGAN: To Kiafi (ph), your fiance, the long-suffering fiance, as the book makes clear. She stood by you, right, despite it all. What do you feel you owe her?
VICK: Everything. You know, I feel like she's been there for me. She's raised both of my daughters to the best of my ability. She's great with my son. She's a great confidant, my best friend. And, you know, always, you know, guided me whenever I'm off track. Whenever I'm thinking irrational, you know, she help me to think rational.
MORGAN: Is it true the security alone for your wedding costs 300,000 dollars?
VICK: That's false.
VICK: That's false. Who has a 300,000 dollar wedding?
MORGAN: Who are you having as security, the Delta Force? What were you doing?
VICK: No, that's absurd. That's absurd.
MORGAN: How do you feel about your celebrity status, good and bad? The fact that you're not just perceived as a footballer, you're a notorious celebrity?
VICK: You know, I'm so appreciative of my fans. You know, I'm appreciative of people who aren't my fans. People in general, when I'm just out in the public, who say, you know, my team is the New York Giants but I still like you. You know, that means a lot to me.
And it makes me want to be personable. It makes me want to write the book so everybody can get a chance to know me.
MORGAN: Do you want to be liked again in the way you were before the dog fighting scandal? Or is it more important to you to be understood better?
VICK: I think it's more important to be understood. You know, some people are going to like you. Some people aren't. You know, just because of -- you know, for certain reasons that -- that are unexplainable. And I want to try to understand.
But I think it's important that I'm understood and people understand, in a certain sense, why.
MORGAN: You were banned from owning a dog for three years. And I worked out, as I walked into the studio today, that that expires now, this month.
MORGAN: Have you got a dog?
VICK: No. I haven't got one.
MORGAN: You going to get one?
VICK: Maybe so. Being honest, being candid, I still deal with my kids each and every day, you know. And for the last three years not being able to have a dog because of my acts -- And I just don't think that's fair. You know, it may be something that's therapeutic for them. And I can't take that dream away from them. That's selfish on my behalf.
You know, so, you know, got to find a way to make it right. And you know, I put everything in God's hands to make it right.
MORGAN: What type of dog would you get? Do you know?
VICK: I mean, I would let them pick it out. It certainly wouldn't be a pit bull.
MORGAN: Michael, it's been fascinating talking to you. It's an extraordinary read, the book. It's a great story of a man learning his lessons. I believe everyone's entitled to a second chance in life. I think that people that read the book will understand you better. And even by saying that, I'm going to get criticized by the people that don't think you deserve redemption.
But I'm prepared to take that criticism. Also, I'm delighted to say that you helped me win 100 pounds off Oprah Winfrey, because we had a bet, as people know about on Twitter, that I'd get to interview you before she did.
Michael, thank you very much. You may want to stick around for this. I've got Russell Brand coming next. Anything could happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Is it more fun being the cleaner-cut, well-behaved Russell? Or was it honestly more fun being the ne'er-do-well?
RUSSELL BRAND, COMEDIAN: It was all kind of crazy. I used to hang out with pimps and hookers and junkies and crooks. But the reality of that life, you know, you can snatch glistening pearls of amusement from it. But when that's your daily life, it's miserable. Otherwise I would still do it.
It's not a good way to live. There's no longevity in it. And ultimately, it's quite painful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's from my interview with Russell Brand last year. A lot's happened to him since then. A lot can happen tonight. You know never know with Russell Brand. That's why I like him. He's always so dangerously unpredictable. He joins me now for a prime-time exclusive interview. Russell, welcome back.
BRAND: All right, mate.
MORGAN: How the devil are you?
BRAND: Do you know, I'm very, very happy today. I'm very happy to be on your show. I look different in that clip, huh?
MORGAN: You do. You've got your beard back. You look more Jesus like. Don't know if you like that comparison.
BRAND: Well, I mean, he was a pretty good guy. It's never going to be an insult.
MORGAN: Let me get one thing out of the way. Because I know you don't want to talk about this. And I certainly don't want to make it anymore painful than it has to be. You got divorced at the weekend. When I spoke to you last time, you were very happily married and you were talking as if this was going to be it. How do you feel now that you're officially a single man again?
BRAND: Well, I think that the -- what happened in the weekend was just an administrative finality. So I don't think that makes very much difference. Of course I still feel great feelings of compassion and warmth for Katy. But, like, I'm very -- I'm very happy with my life.
MORGAN: Yeah, how is you life now? People write so much bilge about you. I always think that you are one of the guys who are probably one of the more misunderstood characters of public life, just from what I know about you. How is your life in reality at the moment?
BRAND: Well, the limited amount of time I spend in reality I quite enjoy. I try to only visit it temporarily, as I believe it to be a construct. As for this bilge, Piers Morgan, you're one of the primary architects of this citadel of nonsense. You contrive to build this cloud kingdom of lies and hullabaloo with your brilliant understanding of the narrative that people like to receive. About sensationalism and madness.
My life is, now, a very sort of simple kind of life. I meditate a lot. I do a lot of yoga. I work really, really hard on my TV show for FX. I work hard on movies. I try and do nice things for other people every day. You have to work hard to do that, because otherwise you just slip into narcissism.
So like it's a pretty kind of -- I'm like a farmer that's product is a TV show instead of tomatoes.
MORGAN: What do you think about fame and celebrity? The reason I ask you, when I first interviewed you for "GQ Magazine," you were just heading over the precipice of stardom. And you were quite sort of excited about it all. You seemed very unfazed. It was your moment, your time. Has cynicism crept in a little bit? Have you become, you know, a little less excited about the whole nature of fame and celebrity?
BRAND: Yes, I remember that interview very distinctly, Piers. It was one of the -- for me, it was something of a baptism of fire, my first skirmish with one of the first journalists of popular cultures -- of popular culture. It was you that tricked me into doing a number for how many women I had slept with.
I was at that point infatuated with fame, thought that it would solve all my inner problems. Now having been famous for a while, I recognize there are benefits to it, but there are detrimental aspects to it as well. I don't think -- I think that celebrity and fame and glamour, they're literally about artifice. They're literally pointless. There's no value to them.
I mean, when you think sort of like the first people that that term, famous, would have been applied to, it would have been -- in a relatively modern sense, great figures like Lord Byron or Oscar Wilde and, going back a bit, Christ or Krishna, figures of notoriety and greatness. Now I heard a great analysis. But once our heroes were Gods, the Gods of Greek tragedy.
Then they were the kings of Shakespearean writing. And now we write just about anybody, just ordinary people that have nothing to ply. I don't want to condemn them, because aristocracy is just the celebration of people because of where they're born and hereditary wealth is just, you know, sort of greatness bestowed upon people for no bloody reason.
But, one -- but celebrity is, in and of itself, pretty bloody pointless. MORGAN: Anybody can be famous for doing almost anything. Is there a way to close this down? Is there something society should do to try and put a lid on this before we all go completely mad?
BRAND: Yes. We should focus on spiritual principles and focus on what's real. I think what we have to do is sort of say, well, there's going to be all this reality TV. There's going to be E! TV, Kardashian, MTV. It seems to exist. But underneath it all, we recognize it isn't working. It's not working for me as a participant. It's not working for the people that receive it. It's not working for the young people brought up on a diet of saccharin-covered pink glittering nonsense.
Because we know there's somewhere within us we're entitled to truth and reality. We don't have the religious language anymore. We don't -- we have no relationship with mysticism. We have no narrative to relate us to the planet we live on. So now we think this planet just exists to serve us. We're infatuated with our own individualism and our own entitlement. We've forgotten that were part of a much greater thing, that we're just very, very simple life forms living on a planet as its temporary custodians.
MORGAN: This is magnificent stuff, Russell Brand. I've whipped you into this frenzy, this orgasmic frenzy of linguistic fury. I'm going to take a break. Stay primed. I'm going to unleash you on the American presidential race. May God help them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAND: Firstly, I'd like to say to both of you, I salute your work. And I want -- hello. I'm having trouble concentrating for a number of reasons. Four really obvious ones. This is like when I met Tom Cruise. I've seen all of your films.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back with Russell Brand. I was enjoying the spiritualism of that clip there, Russell.
BRAND: As you can see, that was a very profound Zen piece of art that I was making there, with Sara Jay and Angelina Castro.
MORGAN: We're going to come to your new show in a moment. I want to talk to you about politics for a moment. You said a couple of very interesting things about politics. You said I've never voted in my life. I'll never vote in my life. I don't agree with it. It's gestural politics. Then you went on,, "I believe democracy is a pointless spectacle where we choose between two indistinguishable political parties, neither of whom represent the people, but the interests of powerful business elites that run the world."
You said that at the MTV Movie Awards. A lot of people would agree with that.
BRAND: That's right.
MORGAN: A lot of people feel there's been such a blurring now that you really can't decide between the parties. What's the point of it all?
BRAND: There isn't one, I don't think. Sort of I don't know much about politics. But my mate Matt Stoler (ph), who is on my FX show with me, he explained to me that since -- since Obama has been in power, the gap between rich and poor has exacerbated, increased. I think that -- you know, people say whoever controls the Supreme Court, it makes a difference, and this kind of welfare, health care bill.
I'm not interested in these kind of minute political changes. I think we need a profound change to change our world, to save our world. So, you know, I'm massively disillusioned with the current biparty political system. But not only in America. I'm not judging America. Like it's the same in our country, Piers, and all. It's rhubarb.
MORGAN: Are you an American resident yet?
BRAND: No. There seems to be some administrative complications due to the nature of my conduct.
MORGAN: Is America refusing to accept you as one of its own then, Russell?
BRAND: I love the American people, all of them, every single individual. I have nothing but love. But remember I keep getting into fracas, don't I? I've got that temper and everything.
MORGAN: How is your temper at the moment?
BRAND: Pretty good, mostly. Do you know what? For the first time in my life, I spend more time meditating and doing yoga than I do having sex. That's only because I do a held of a lot of yoga.
MORGAN: Let's turn to your stand-up show. What is it about standup that you love? Because I know that really it's your first love, probably your great love.
BRAND: What this is, Piers, this show that I'm doing on FX, is an opportunity to look at the stories behind the news. When you read a story in the paper, you think whose agenda is this serving? And it's usually pretty funny. Like the way that they'll use, like, the nationality of a story's protagonist to take in a particular direction. The other day there was a story in the paper, Italian doctor kicks son in face at Epcot Center. And I thought wow, that story's more acceptable because he's an Italian doctor.
If it is just said doctor kicks son in face at Epcot Center, I think that's brutal. But when it's an Italian doctor, they say, Mama Mia, by bloody son, kick him in the face. And as I say, I think there are peculiar stereotypes and agendas served. So that's what -- in that sort of surprisingly eloquent political statement that you punched up on the screen earlier, our political leaders, our business leaders are working in allegiance to keep the majority of people repressed, docile, spell bound little consumers. And the media is an obvious participant in that because they have the same agenda as the aforementioned.
On my FX show, I like having a real laugh about that and trying to include a spiritual component, because I think the solutions to our contemporary problems are spiritual ones. That's why I was talking to the porn stars, Sara Jay and Angelina Castro. Angelina Castro, once you go Hispanic, don't panic, which is a terrible, terrible rhyme.
MORGAN: That's a terrible line. I distance myself from it enormously. Let's just --
BRAND: It doesn't make sense, once you go Hispanic, don't panic. Once you go black, you don't go back, that makes sense. Although I have gone black and gone back and forth. But once you go Hispanic, don't panic, doesn't really make sense. Because like, oh, no, I've gone Hispanic, don't panic. I wasn't panicking. Well, don't. It's an odd rhyme. But Angelina Castro I believe is Hispanic, and she thought of it. So it's up to her.
MORGAN: Where is the line with you and comedy? The reason I asked is Ricky Gervais, our fellow Brits, has been in an ongoing Twitter war with his followers about whether there should be any lines drawn in the comedic sand, whether there is anything that should be off limits. What do you think?
BRAND: Woody Allen said no, didn't he? Woody Allen said, as long as it's funny, then it's fine. Like Ricky lives his life by that principle. I also think if something is funny -- when we're with our mates, all of us we, we'll laugh at anything, disgusting stuff. But I suppose when you're on the telly it seems there's different obligations.
Me, I would laugh at pretty much anything. Occasionally when I hear something that hurts my feelings, then I think that's pay back for times I have said something that's mean. I don't like to say anything that's personally offensive. I try and stop doing that. I try not to be mean. I suppose I try and think -- we've al got little sexy Jiminy Cricket in our minds saying, don't do that, Pinocchio, you fool. Just try and listen to your conscience and give a little whistle.
MORGAN: Russell, it's been great to catch up with you. You look a fine feisty in form. I like the beard back. It gives you a certain gravitas.
BRAND: Thanks. Thank you for noticing my gravitas, Piers. Thank you for promoting my show, because I want people to watch it because I think it's a genuine opportunity to change the way people think.
MORGAN: Well, if you want to change the way you think, tune to "Brand X" with Russell Brand, airs every Thursday at 11:00 p.m. on FX. I will be tuning in avidly, as always.
BRAND: Shut up, Piers.
MORGAN: All right, that's enough, Brand. Off you go. We'll be right back. Get off.
BRAND: Thank you.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, my exclusive interview with one of the most powerful and polarizing people in America, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. His opinions have changed the landscape of the country, a conservative known for his take no prisoners approach to the law. He's both loved and hated in equal doses.
Tomorrow I travel to the Supreme Court for an interview with Justice Scalia inside his lair. CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin has written a best selling book on the Supreme Court. He explains why Scalia is such an extraordinary and important figure.
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JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Antonin Scalia is the most important Supreme Court justice of the last 30 years, maybe 50 years. Single handedly, he changed the understanding of the Constitution in the United States. His theory is now the law.
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MORGAN: Thanks, Jeff. It's the interview that you have to say, rare, candid and controversial. Tomorrow night from the Supreme Court, my exclusive with Justice Scalia and the co-author of his new brook, Brian Garner. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.