“I didn’t think I’d do it after last year but I am,” shrugs lascivious comedian, actor and self-proclaimed S&M Willy Wonka Russell Brand regarding his hosting of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), airing live from New York’s Radio City Music Hall this Sunday.
“(The producers) did say straight after, ‘Do you want to do it next year,’ and I went, ‘Yeah, alright. I sort of agreed immediately after.”

Brand’s reappearance as VMAs master of ceremonies is a shock not only to the masses but to the 34-year-old Brit himself. While overseeing the event last year, his controversial quips about the likes of then-president George W. Bush, Britney Spears and cherubic musicians The Jonas Brothers garnered everything from guffaws to dropped jaws and even death threats.

Regardless, ratings shot up like a rocket. The vaguely familiar comic became an instant hit for both his humour and ability to wrangle ’em in via lambasting key Americana figures and causing quite the embroilment.

“It doesn’t take much, does it? Bloody hell,” he grunts. “I was saying things that were completely daft. There were some good things in there too but it’s all just jokes. I’m only mucking about. These are not serious views; I’m not trying to push this through Parliament. But this year, they haven’t said anything is taboo … just the usual stuff like not getting people to march onto the street and overthrow the government or promote Communism.”

Brand’s presence this year is already causing a whirlwind of activity. Who will he jab? Where will he stop? At that, while last year’s roster of VMA talent and presenters seemed loaded with prime targets for one-offs, this event proves to be a barrel full of fish for a comic of his disposition: performances by the likes of Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Green Day and Pink as well as awards presentations by Katy Perry, Ne-Yo, Nelly Furtado and Chace Crawford beg for more of his randy wit. So, who exactly is Brand looking to poke fun at?

“If you drop the words ‘fun’ and ‘at,’ then Lady Gaga,” he admits. “I’ve got more than words for her. I’m rather interested in that individual. Overall though, it doesn’t do to get negative about people. It ends up making you feel bad. I just think: ‘They’re all just people who were born and they’re gonna die. So just be nice to ‘em.’”

Call it the Brand adaptation of the ages old stage fright cure: viewing your audience as in their underwear?

“Yeah. See them as babies. Then…corpses.”

Still, Brand admits that while the VMAs are responsible for his higher profile in North America, this second engagement will most likely be his last as he refocuses/returns on his stand-up comedy and feature film work.

“(This ceremony) is a big, exciting thing. I thought, ‘I might as well be a part of it,’ but it’s probably the last time I’ll do something like this. Maybe I’ll be doing it when I’m in my 50s though. If I get that old, I’ll just have a dialysis machine and a Speak N Spell through which I’ll communicate.”

Sort of a pop culture Stephen Hawking?

“That’s exactly how I’d like to see it,” he boasts. “But instead of coming up with brilliant ideas and contributing to quantum physics, I will introduce the most popular girl band of the day.”

• The VMAs will air on MuchMusic this Sunday at 9 p.m.