BOSTON — The heavy bass of old skool hip-hop envelops the audience while two DJs turn tables atop simulated gigantic boom boxes. Between them is a brick wall with "Russell Peters" in graffiti letters. As he’s introduced by his warmup act, the Canadian comedian steps onto center stage with his trademark smirk and bright probing eyes.
The crowd shouts its adoration and applause because Russell Peters has them in his grip from the start. A virtuoso at ethnic accents, he's known for jokes about growing up in a fairly strict Indian family, being friends with Jamaicans that lived in his neighborhood, and interacting with different ethnicities around the world.
His mimicry of each accent is flawless. Whether he explains why Chinese and Indians can never do business ("Indians cannot live without a bargain and Chinese cannot live giving a bargain") or reminiscing about being disciplined by his father ("Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad"), Peters’ delivery will make you believe you’re hearing from the Real McCoy, including his aping of white folks. And now he’s added Arabic and African accents to his repertoire.
Peters comes to the Wilbur Theatre on his “Notorious World Tour” Jan. 24-26. He’s explained that he chose "notorious" because of his love of hip-hop and it’s a homage to Biggie Smalls’ death. This tour is also notorious because Peters takes you through his personal journey of joys and pains. Over the last few years he found love and married a Latina, became the father of a 2-year old daughter, got divorced, and traveled extensively in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Peters is an Anglo-Indian who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and began his comedic career at 19. He became famous almost instantly through YouTube, when a fan anonymously posted bits from a 2003 comedy act. With his insightful and keen observation of people, politics, and places, his humor has resonated with fans in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and a number of Asian countries — mainly through sold out shows in clubs, arenas, and stadiums.
In addition to his stand-up, Peters has acted, written and produced DVDs and TV specials that include, “The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena," “Russell Peters Presents,” and “Russell Peters: Red, White and Brown.” He's also written an autobiography in 2010, “Call Me Russell.”
Peters is passionate about his work and sees himself as an artist who needs the stage. In fact, he thrives on engaging his audience. Beware if you sit in the front row. You'll probably end up being part of the show. On the other hand, you'll also be invited to the after party. And share a few more memorable laughs with Russell Peters.
This program aired on January 21, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.