Russell Peters, somebody gonna get a hurt real bad!
In the beginning
Russell Peters is Canada’s newest, hot, rising star. His popularity as a stand-up comic has grown immensely since he first arrived on the comedy scene in 1989.
Canada has spawned many great comedians through the years. With an intricate network of cross cultures it was inevitable. Russell Peters delivers his unique comedy to audiences worldwide with finesse and candor unlike anyone else.
Peters’ road to success began in Toronto, Ontario on September 29, 1970 when he was born of Anglo-Indian parents. For the ensuing 19 years Peters grew up brown in a predominantly white neighbourhood and, at least for some of that time, was perhaps unaware he was gathering material for his one-of-a-kind comedic styling.
As quoted in the Western Gazette in November 2000 Peters said, "Indians are the second largest population in the world, but we're invisible on TV - everything is either black or white."
His knack for humour
What makes his comedy stand out is his innate knack to mimic accents and his ability to cross the fine line between being rude and being funny without insulting anyone.
Not at all prejudiced when it comes to his comedy, Peters takes on all cultural quirks and stereotypes equally. Whether white, Asian or Indian doesn’t make a lick of difference to him as long as he makes his audience laugh. And laugh they do as is evidenced by his loyal fans for the past 20 years.
Who could not help but laugh at this personable, brown man possessing an ear to ear, impudent smile that, in itself, invokes laughter before he even opens his mouth? His stage presence is relaxed and inviting making acceptance of his portrayal of racial stereotypes easy. Peters’ comedy is frequently controversial, but his intent is never to be insensibly disparaging, carefully wording every routine to convey the humorous aspects of all cultures and races. He draws on past experiences from family, childhood friends and years of observation and turns what might have been some arduous times into something to laugh about with a charm and wit that is his and his alone. He’s wet-your- pants, tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks, stomach-muscle-aching hilarious. It is literally impossible to sum up his comedy in one word.
Peters is quoted as saying ‘In my act, as much as I try to make it look like we all think and talk and behave so differently, the point is, we all do the same thing. We all have the same problems. We may have a different skin color or a different accent or language, but we all have exactly the same stuff goin' on.’
Putting it in perspective
His aim is not to condone bigotry, but put it in perspective and he does it remarkably well by making his audience laugh with him and each other! Peters has shared his eclectic, ethnic humour with audiences in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, mainland China, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Denmark, South Africa, Vietnam, the Caribbean and Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Pakistan and India, Lebanon and Jordan, Dubai, the USA and, of course, Canada. He is always welcomed with enthusiasm, anticipation and open hearts and minds.
2007 – Indian Redneck 1:29
An entry from Russell Peters’ myspace blog dated July 05, 2007
With his Canadian Homecoming Tour in 2007 Peters became the first comedian to be sold out at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre selling in excess of 15,000 tickets in two days for a single show, with a final tally of more than 30,000 tickets sold nationally in the two day sales period.
An entry from Russell Peters’ myspace blog dated July 05, 2007
I just want to take this time out to thank ALL of my fans in Canada for making my Homecoming Tour such an incredible success! Every city on the tour was so supportive it really made me even more proud to be Canadian. The Air Canada Centre shows were the Extereme Height of my career thus far. I don't know if the people who were at the ACC shows knew it or not but I got very emotional before and after each performance. To be standing backstage while the video montage (that my friend and director Jigar Talati put together) was playing and hearing the reaction and feeling the anticipation building in the room was so overwhelming that I literally got teary eyed and had to use every fibre of my being to not break down and sob like a little girl! I thank EVERYONE who was there and everyone who wanted to be there I could NEVER have made it this far in this business without you guys! I will always be grateful and I hope to continue to be able to make you all laugh.
Thank You from The Bottom of my Heart!
The long and short of 'somebody gonna getta hurt real bad!'
Russell Peters has been honoured with numerous awards and recognition for his achievements. He’s been featured on "Just For Laughs" Comedy Festival in Montreal, Winnipeg Comedy Festival frequently, as well as the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. He has received four Gemini Award nominations, winning the award for 'Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series' in 2008. Hosted the 2008/09 Juno Awards and in May 2008 became Toronto’s first Global Ambassador.
Quote from indiglow.tv May 15, 2008 regarding Peters being named Global Ambassador;
“In our business we compete literally with the entire world”, said David Whitaker, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “Russell can help us break through the noise and reveal the true personality of Toronto—the diverse, cosmopolitan experiences that make it such a tremendous place to live, work and visit. Russell has demonstrated that sometimes the best way to bring people together is by laughing.”
He attributes his success to his heroes: ‘Jack Johnson (The first Black Heavyweight Champion of the world), My Father Eric Peters (R.I.P. miss u Papa!) and my Mother Maureen without you guys I wouldn't be able to do what I do! George Carlin, Don Rickles, anyone who has the guts to get on stage and do their thing! DJ's who get busy! What up Spinbad and Starting From Scratch!’ From Peter Russell’s myspace page where he also states ‘I'd like to meet the person who has been pretending to be me on myspace!’
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