Russell Dominic Peters (born 29 September 1970) is a Canadian stand-up comic of Indian descent, specifically Anglo-Indian, from Brampton, Ontario. His parents are originally from Bombay and Kolkata, India. Russell Peters focuses primarily on his cultural background, Arab, Caribbean, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and other South and Southeast Asian communities that remain invisible to the mainstream media.
Peters began performing in Toronto in 1989 and has performed in the UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, South Africa, the Caribbean, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Dubai and the United States. He has been nominated for four Gemini Awards, the Canadian television awards. He has also been nominated for Best Male Comic at the Canadian Comedy Awards. Peters has been featured at such shows as Montreal's Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival. He hosted the Canada Day Comedy Festival 2006.
Peters' comedy focuses largely around his Indian upbringing and racial stereotypes, as he often parodies his parents and South Asian culture. Much of his material explores the cultural divides between many different ethnicities and upbringings in a way that includes many impressions. One reason for his popularity is that he engages the audience at his shows, by talking to individuals and making some sort of remark at or about them.
His most recent comedy special Russell Peters: Outsourced, aired on Comedy Central on August 26, 2006. Outsourced was also made available on DVD and CD in stores on August 29, 2006. The DVD version features his uncensored "Outsourced" performance. The DVD was extremely popular, especially in Canada, selling over 80,000 copies. Peters confirmed that "Outsourced" is his first comedy DVD released. The DVD "Two Concerts, One Ticket" never had Peters involved or made deals about the DVD release. Peters and his management team never endorsed the DVD.
He currently resides in Hollywood, California.
Outsourced, a stage act dedicated to the memory of his father, showed lots of new material to his viewers. Topics ranged from different types of Asians, the English accent, terrorists, rapists, Africans, Jews, and his adventures with Chinese people in Beijing's KFC. Some of these acts were criticized as being "racist," but the show remained typical of his style. Two of his most popular catchphrases are "be a man" and "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad" (from previous shows) were used in the stage act and were greeted warmly by cheers and applauses, as these are seen as his "trademark" lines.
However, Russell told the audience that he will retire the "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad" line after the DVD. Many viewers misunderstood this message and believed that Russell Peters was retiring his career as a comedian. His popularity overseas is enormous. In Dubai, his tickets sold at a rate of one ticket every two seconds, crashing the on-line servers and creating pandemonium at the retail outlets.
In his native Canada, Russell was the first comedian to sell out the Air Canada Centre. Over 13,000 tickets were sold over two days for that one show. He ended up selling over 20,000 tickets nationally over the two-day sales period. No other comedian in Canada has ever accomplished these kinds of numbers.
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