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About (Late) Last Night: Russell Brand is learning to drive

December 7, 2010 |  7:18 am

Russell Brand, perhaps more well known stateside as Mr. Katy Perry, overpowered Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" not necessarily with the quality of his jokes, but more with the volume of his voice. During less of an interview and more of a stand-up routine, Brand seemed to push Leno into the role of straight man, acting as boisterous and British as possible for one guy in a chair.

Brand, wearing a "festive" holiday sweater adorned with skulls, mostly carried on about learning to drive, but only after mocking "The Tonight Show" mug he was drinking from, marked "Guest 1."

"Has this got Slash's spit in it? Or Vanilla Ice's wee-wee?" Brand asked.

Then it was all automobiles, a Leno specialty. "When I saw your glorious museum of cars, Jay, I thought I should learn to drive a car," said Brand. "Not an aircraft hangar of cars, but a car." Leno appeared pleased, but couldn't really get a word in edgewise.

"The key thing for me with learning to drive is do not use my personality during the driving," Brand continued. "My personality is not equipped to deal with rules, regulations, minor misdemeanors, caution towards others, sexual control -- all things that are necessary in a driving situation."

Cue punch line: "I must behave as if I'm at a funeral, otherwise we soon shall be."

"Have you ventured onto the freeway yet?" Leno asked. "The freeway is the crack cocaine of driving," said Brand, describing the rush. But Leno, the car connoisseur, forced Brand to fight for the honor of his ride. "That is a beast, the Prius," Brand assured him. "The Prius is a monster."

But how much damage could it really do? Leno asked Brand about his track record for accidents. It was the set-up Brand had been waiting for. "I knocked over what in my country we call bins," he explained, "but you call pedestrians." But of course -- surely he bowled them over.

-- Joe Coscarelli