MTV is staking its brand on a lesser-known one: Russell Brand.

The British actor and comedian will host this year's Video Music Awards, set to air live from Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, MTV told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Brand recently co-starred in the Judd Apatow-produced comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and the Reese Witherspoon-produced fairy tale "Penelope." He is currently filming the Adam Sandler comedy "Bedtime Stories," slated for release later this year.

Brand told the AP that he hadn't started thinking about how he would approach the assignment _ not that there's much planning to be done for the infamously anything-goes show.

"I've just been invited to do it," Brand said in a telephone interview from London. "It'll be good to preside over what is sure to be only vaguely coordinated televised insanity."

Not that chaos or improv a problem for the 33-year-old comedian.

"That's how I've made my name in this country: Flying very much by the seat _ and the crotch _ of my pants."

MTV hired Brand to be a VJ on its Britain-based show "Dance Floor Chart" after catching his comedy act in Edinburgh, Scotland. He also hosted a call-in show called MTV Select.

Brand has hosted numerous TV shows and events in the U.K., performed sell-out comedy gigs and written a best-selling memoir, "My Booky Wook," published last year.

His popular radio show, The Russell Brand Show, debuted two years ago in the U.K., and his TV show "Ponderland" was recently nominated by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in the "Best Comedy Programme" category.

In 2007, he continued on the comedy circuit with his hit show "Only Joking." He also made his feature film debut _ in Britain, of course _ in 2007's "St. Trinian's," opposite Colin Firth, Rupert Everett and Emily Watson.

Previous VMA hosts include Jack Black, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon and Jamie Foxx.

As previously announced, the teen pop trio The Jonas Brothers will perform at the anything-can-happen event. Other performers and presenters will be announced at a later date.

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AP Entertainment Writer Josh L. Dickey contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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On the Net:

http://www.mtv.com/

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MTV is owned by Viacom Inc.