Comedian Russell Brand has cancelled a handful of dates on his upcoming world tour due to concerns about his safety in the Middle East.

The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star was scheduled to perform in the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon this summer (13) as part of his Messiah Complex world tour, but now Brand has pulled the plug on gigs in both countries after receiving threats from locals over the insensitive material in his stand-up routine, which features jokes about revered historical and religious figures Malcolm X, Gandhi and Jesus.

He tells the Bbc, "Those gigs have been banned, pulled because of threats from extremists that if I went there, there would be problems. The venue(s) contacted us and said we can no longer guarantee your safety."

The funnyman kicked off his stand-up tour in Chicago, Illinois earlier this month (Jun13).