One of my favourite comedians is Russell Peters. Ever since his Comedy Now! special, I’ve been laughing my ass off at Peters’ observations on race and culture.
Born in Toronto and raised in Brampton (that's in Ontario, Canada, for those who are geographically challenged), Peters boasts a background of Indian heritage. His mother was born in Calcutta and his father was born in Mumbai, giving him a distinct culture that he’s constantly mined for humour.
Race is a common issue for many comedians, with Chris Rock, Paul Rodriguez, and Margaret Cho all discussing their cultures in their acts. Peters’ act relies on similar principles, as he lines his performances with notes of fondness and a sense of charm that appeals to his audience both at home in Canada and abroad.
With the new DVD, Red, White and Brown, Peters carries on where his previous comedy DVD Outsourced left off. Taped at the WAMU Theatre at Madison Square Garden in February 2008, the performance was released as a DVD/CD combo.
Peters is a master at impressions and his work is on full display here. He not only prods his own Indian heritage, but takes jabs at Asian lovers of Dance Dance Revolution and the media’s portrayal of Arabs.
Audience interaction is also an essential part of his performances, as one poor woman leaving to the bathroom learns quickly. Fart sounds and jokes about Indian food pepper her mortified exit and re-entry to the theatre, as Russell nonchalantly pokes fun at her.
Body hair, penis sizes, cheap Indians competing with the Chinese for the frugality prize, race relations, and deaf people all face the music as Peters launches into a routine of material that is both hilarious and startlingly offensive. His “hatred” of deaf people stems from his understanding of sign language to include many racist inferences.