Russell Peters began his comedy career in Toronto, Canada in 1989 and quickly found international appeal with his mix of mainstream and ethnic comedy. His first major comedy special and DVD was 2006’s Russell Peters: Outsourced. He returns with his newest DVD, Russell Peters: Red, White and Brown, taken from a show he performed at Madison Square Garden in 2009.
Russell Peters' comedy is a mix of standard stand-up routines and his take on ethnicity in the world. Born in Canada to Indian parents, Peters began his comedy career focusing on the traits and habits of people from an Indian culture. He then proceeded to take aim at all the major ethnic stereotypes and point out the inherent humor in every culture.
Red, White and Brown finds Peters during a successful time in his career. He had just completed a USO tour and traveled through the Middle East, Asia, and India performing shows. He brings these experiences to the stage and has come up with a fresh show and some great jokes.
Peters has a very likable persona; he seems like an everyman and I think that is why he can make fun of all races and not seem racist. In Red, White and Brown he spears the Indian culture in particular (of course), Chinese people, and despite what he says in his act, Middle Eastern nations as well.
His jokes move from culture and race observations such as Indians being proud of being the cheapest race in the world (Chinese are a close second according to him) to his thoughts on body hair on men. While he pokes fun at his own and other cultures it is never in a mean-spirited way and I think that is why it works.
The show starts very fast with Peters commenting on the audience members, in particular a parent who brought a very young (8- or 9-year-old) boy. Peters comments that the boy would learn some new things that night. Like most modern comedians Peters is raw and uncensored and does not shy from swearing or talking about adult situations. His language is rarely gratuitous and is simply used to further the adult situations he is describing.
Red, White and Brown hits some very high notes and had me laughing nearly to tears at times but his pacing needs some work. At times there are general lulls in the act that bring you down and the momentum has to build again. Comparing this to a recent Robin Williams show (where there were no lulls I could recall) I could see areas that Peters could reorganize or tighten up a great show to make it extraordinary.
There are some deleted scenes from the show among the special features on the disc, which makes me think that editing could have led to the lulls I felt when watching the performance. Regardless of minor quibbles this is a great set and one well worth watching.
The DVD has over two hours of commentaries, featurettes, and the aforementioned deleted scenes. None of it is groundbreaking, but the extra scenes are actually quite funny and I have to wonder why they were cut.
In a nice bonus, the package also includes a CD version of the show so you can listen to it in your car/home when away from your television. It is a really nice touch, but so much of Peters' act depends on his expressions and mannerisms that the jokes don’t hold the same impact when listened to and not watched.
Red, White and Brown is a great comedy DVD with many, many laughs (that will make you feel slightly guilty at times) despite the minor lulls. Russell Peters is an incredibly funny guy with a fresh outlook on the world that translates into a great stand-up show.