Fifteen years ago, Russell Brand was a controversial MTV VJ who struggled with addiction and his own rising fame. After 13 years of sobriety, a celebrity marriage and Hollywood stardom, Brand has started to use his platform and quick wit to tackle big issues and dispense his unique brand of ideas.

###On Pornography

“Our attitudes toward sex have become warped and perverted and have deviated from its true function as an expression of love and a means for procreating. Because our acculturation, the way we’ve designed it and experienced it has become really, really confused. I heard a quote from a priest who said, ‘Pornography is not a problem because it shows us too much; it’s a problem because it shows us too little.’ I think what he’s saying is pornography reduces the spectacle of sex to kind of an extracted physical act. This sort of cloud of pornographic information … is making [it] impossible to relate to our own sexuality, our own psychology and our spirituality.” – The Trews (Episode 261)

###On Drugs

“Drugs came into my life like they come into normal people’s lives. I was like, ‘Ah, finally, something that takes the edge off.’ Same with booze or whatever. But then in the end, you realize that anesthetic doesn’t work. What you’ve got to address is the core feeling. Now, I believe that the core feeling is a spiritual yearning: A yearning to be connected. A yearning to be loved and to love—a longing for union.” – The Trews (Episode 292)

###On Recovery

“One day at a time, I surrender to the fact that I am a drug addict. The reason people are addicted to drugs is because there’s sort of a deficit of happiness, a deficit of community, a deficit of connection—I recognize now that the thing that I was chasing after in my years of addiction was probably some sort of sense of communal connection or a connection to a higher thing.” – Interview with Democracy Now, Nov. 2014

###On Poverty & Income Inequality

“The less privileged among us are already living in the apocalypse. I’m only alive because of the compassion and love of others. Men and women strong enough to defy this system and live according to higher laws. … A system that serves the planet and the people. I’d vote for that.” – A Column for The Guardian, Nov. 2013

###On The Message of Christ

“Some people don’t know, but I think that Jesus is really brilliant. All those things He did: the miracles—that was kind. The sacrifice of His own life that we may be free from sin; I think that was a really, really nice thing to do.” – On Jimmy Kimmel Live, 2013