Canadian-India Russell Peters tickled the funny bones of people across the globe with his style of comedy. Russell started stand-up in Toronto in 1989...
Canadian-India Russell Peters tickled the funny bones of people across the globe with his style of comedy. Russell started stand-up in Toronto in 1989 and since then he has performed in several countries.
Russell's parents are of Anglo-Indian descent and they relocated to Canada when he was four years old. Russell Peter's stand-up acts feature observational comedy, using humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He will be performing in Hyderabad on October 6 at Supermoon, a Zee Live IP.
Excerpts from an interview
What are your expectations from the Supermoon performance in India in general and Hyderabad in particular?
Well, I just wrapped up four shows in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai in June. I remember that I was in Hyderabad for my 'Almost Famous Tour' and the audience was fantastic. When the Supermoon asked me to come back to India for additional dates, I didn't hesitate.
In your specials, you make a lot of fun about India and Indians, however, what is your favourite part of visiting India?
Seriously, I'm not just saying this enough but I love coming to India. I usually don't get to come back so quickly, but I love it here; the food, the people, the organised chaos, the heat. You name it. When I joke about India and my fellow Indians, it comes from a place of love. In fact, when I speak about any particular group of people it comes from a place of understanding and an acknowledgement that we're all basically the same.
What are your views on how stand-up comedy is booming in India?
I think it's great that stand-up comedy has become a recognised art form and that more and more people are doing it and expressing themselves. It shows that people, especially younger people are starting to think for themselves and do what they want to do instead of a career chosen by their parents.
Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
Eddie Murphy, George Carlin and Steve Martin.
How was the field when you started and what changes have you seen in these years?
I started doing stand-up in 1989. It was dominated by American and British white guys. Obviously, that's changed now, as it should.
Where do the ideas come from?
That's a good question. My job is to pay attention to the world around me and comment on it from my perspective. Hopefully, it's funny. I never actually write anything down. I don't have a notebook or anything like that. I just remember stuff and think about it.
Have you ever just blanked out on stage?
Sure, it happens. I have wicked ADD (attention deficit disorder) and can get distracted easily. Sometimes I'll start a joke and get distracted by somebody in the audience and we'll start talking to each other. Then I'll get back to my act and forget where I was. There are some guys who write down every word, every comma, every pause. That's boring and not me. My show is more organic. Every show is different. It definitely keeps it interesting for me.
What is your advice for budding comics?
I always give the same advice to every comic, get on-stage as much as you can. That's the advice that George Carlin gave me, and I've stuck to it. I'd also remind them not to rush. A lot of new stand-ups get discouraged if they haven't 'made it' in a very short period of time. But it takes at least seven or eight years just to find your voice. You have to do all the shit gigs and bomb and come back from bombing in order to really build character and become a good stand-up. It's not a race. There's no finish line.
What are your future projects?
I recorded my new special for Amazon in Mumbai and it will drop soon and I'm filming a follow-up to 'The Indian Detective' called 'The Indian Spy' next year. I've also got a couple of projects that I'm producing. In the meantime, I'll just keep playing clubs and building a new act.