Russell Brand

AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

You may not automatically know who Russell Brand is when you hear his name, but that's probably going to change on Sept. 7.

The British bad-boy comedian, who played rehabbed rocker Aldous Snow in the recent Judd Apatow-produced hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall, was named today as host of MTV's Video Music Awards.

Brand has a history with the network. 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.

"I didn't mention [the incident] to them when they offered me this gig," Brand told me this afternoon from his home in London, "which leads me to believe that they haven't investigated my career history too closely."

MTV signed Brand for the VMAs after producers saw his standup act at L.A.'s famed Roxy Theatre.

"I'm planning to have lesbian kisses with Britney and Madonna individually," Brand said. "It's not going to be easy what with my genitals, but God, I will try."

Past hosts have included Jack Black, Chris Rock, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jimmy Fallon and Jamie Foxx.

Those are some mighty big shoes to fill. "I thought I might trust my luck and improvise," Brand said. "I'll have a couple of glasses of gin and just stagger out there and bellow with the Jonas Brothers."

The gin part is definitely a joke. Brand, who has been very open about his battle with substance abuse, has been sober for a number of years.

But being clean doesn't mean he won't be looking for some dirty fun during the awards show, which will telecast live from Hollywood's Paramount lot. Let's just hope no one dares him to cop a cheap feel with any number of the starlets who will be in the audience.

"One night, Chrissie Hynde encouraged me to touch Rosanna Arquette's breasts," Brand recalled with a laugh about the aforementioned Roxy gig. "And I did it. She said, 'Feel Roseanna's breasts. They're real.' It was a good experience."

But he promises not to go that far come VMA time...or does he? "No one will thank me for touching breasts during the show," he said. "But I can almost guarantee a Janet Jackson-style Super Bowl nip slip."

Expect plenty of ribbing of the Jonas Brothers, who will be making their VMA-performance debut. "We may have to cancel them, because I don't think the show will be early enough for them," Brand cracked about the JoBros. "Those boys will be sent promptly to bed if I come across them."

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