Russell Peters

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Russell Peters
RussellPeters08TIFF.jpg
Peters in 2008
Birth name Russell Dominic Peters
Born (1970-09-29) September 29, 1970 (age 48)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1]
Medium Stand-up, television, film, radio, books
Years active 1989–present
Genres Satire, observational comedy, improvisational comedy, black comedy, insult comedy
Subject(s) Racism, race relations, stereotypes, multiculturalism, Indian culture, Asian culture
Spouse Monica Diaz (2010–2012; divorced; 1 child)
Signature Russell Peters Autograph.svg
Website RussellPeters.com

Russell Dominic Peters (born September 29, 1970)[1] is a Canadian stand-up comedian and actor.[4] He began performing in Toronto in 1989 and won a Gemini Award in 2008. In 2013, he was number three on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid comedians, and became the first comedian to get a Netflix stand-up special.[5] He also won the Peabody Award and the International Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming for producing Hip-Hop Evolution (2016). He currently lives in Los Angeles.[6]

Early life[edit]

Peters was born in Toronto, Ontario to Eric and Maureen Peters. When he was four, the family moved to the suburb of Brampton. His older brother Clayton now serves as his manager.[7] Peters was raised Catholic and is of Anglo-Indian descent.[8] His late father was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India and worked in Toronto as a professor of applied physics at the University of Toronto. Peters regularly features stories about him in his comedy work.

Peters attended Chinguacousy Secondary School for grades 9–10, and North Peel Secondary School in Bramalea for grades 11–12.[9][10][11] In school, he was regularly bullied because of his ethnicity. He eventually learned boxing, which helped him resist the bullying.[12]

Peters also became a hip hop "junkie" in his youth. By the 1990s, he was a well-connected disc jockey in the Toronto scene.[13][14]

Career[edit]

Peters began performing in Toronto in 1989. He has since gone on to perform in several countries worldwide.[15]

In 1992, Peters met American comedian George Carlin, one of his biggest influences, who advised him to get on stage whenever and wherever possible. Peters said he "took that advice to heart, and I think that's the reason I am where I am now."[16] In 2007, 15 years later, he hosted one of Carlin's last shows before Carlin's death the following year.[12]

Peters credits his 2004 performance on the Canadian TV comedy show Comedy Now!, which was uploaded onto YouTube and became viral, as the turning point in his career. While the initial video upload featured his entire 45-minute performance, YouTube users subsequently uploaded segments of the performance in which Peters focused on individual cultural groups. According to Peters, those segments made their way to the "targeted" cultural groups and were well received by them. The video and its viral nature was referred to by Peters on his performance, Outsourced; when the audience cheered when he referred to earlier jokes, he exclaimed, "Look at you, you filthy downloaders!"[17]

In 2017, Peters made an appearance on Top Gear America in the third episode of Season 1 as one of the guests.[18]

Notable performances[edit]

In 2007, Peters was the first comedian to sell out Toronto's Air Canada Centre, selling more than 16,000 tickets in two days for the single show. He ended up selling more than 30,000 tickets nationally over the two-day sales period. He broke a UK comedy sales record at London's O2 Arena when he sold over 16,000 tickets to his show in 2009.[19] His show in Sydney on 15 May 2010 had an audience of 13,880, making it the largest stand-up comedy show ever in Australia.[20] Peters's performances on May 5–6, 2012 in Singapore also set attendance records for a single stand-up comedian at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.[21]

Peters hosted the Canada Day Comedy Festival 2006, and participated in a USO tour of Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Africa and Greenland in November 2007 with Wilmer Valderrama and Mayra Veronica.[22] He also produced and starred in the radio situation comedy series Monsoon House on CBC Radio One.

Peters was the host of the televised 2008 Juno Awards ceremonies in Calgary on April 6, 2008,[23] for which he won a Gemini Award for "Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series".[24] The show received the second-highest ratings of any Juno Awards broadcast. Following the show's success, Peters accepted an invitation to host the Juno Awards for a second consecutive year; the 2009 Juno Awards took place in Vancouver on March 29, 2009.

On September 28, 2013, Peters was awarded the 2013 Trailblazer award by the Association of South Asians in Media, Marketing and Entertainment (SAMMA) for his contributions to the world of comedy. He is among the first South Asians to achieve international success in the field.

DVDs and book[edit]

Peters released his debut comedy album, Outsourced, of his performance aired on Comedy Central on August 26, 2006. The DVD version is uncensored; it has sold more than 100,000 copies, and remained on the National DVD Chart over one and a half years after its release. Peters released a second DVD/CD combo, Red, White and Brown, in Canada in 2008, and in the U.S. in early 2009. It was recorded on February 2, 2008, at the WAMU Theatre in Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was self-produced and financed by Peters and his brother Clayton. In May 2011, Peters released The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena, a live performance recorded in front of a total audience of 30,000, over two nights at O2 Arena in London, England.[25] The show was directed by Dave Higby, who produced Outsourced.

On October 26, 2010, Peters published his autobiography, Call Me Russell, co-written with his brother Clayton and Dannis Koromilas.

Earnings[edit]

According to Forbes, Peters earned an estimated $15 million between June 2009 and June 2010, continuing his run as one of the highest-paid comedians, after earning an estimated $5 million the prior year. Forbes ranked him as the third-highest-paid comedian.[26][27] In 2013, he earned $21 million, according to Forbes' estimate.[28]

Comedic style[edit]

Peters's stand-up performances feature observational comedy, using humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He often refers to his own experiences growing up in an Anglo-Indian family, and impersonates the accents of various ethnic groups to poke fun at them. As he told an audience in San Francisco, "I don't make the stereotypes, I just see them."[29] In a 2006 interview with The National, Peters observed that he did not intend to put down or offend different races and cultures, but tried to "raise them up through humour".[30]

Peters is widely known for his punchline, "Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad." It ends a joke he tells about his childhood with a traditional Indian father, who used corporal punishment on his sons. Another punchline he uses is "Be a man! Do the right thing!", which relates to a story of a Chinese man trying to get him to pay more for an item at a shop.[31]

When interviewer Larry King asked Peters, "Is there such a thing as too taboo?", Peters replied, "I don't talk about religion because I think people are a little weird about religion, especially nowadays, and I'm more of a science guy than I am a beliefs guy. I'm more into facts than I am into beliefs."[32][33] In an interview with Al Jazeera, Peters said he "refuses" to talk about religion.[34][35]

Personal life[edit]

Peters with Khetchian

Peters dated Sunny Leone, a former porn star, who has been a Bollywood actress since 2008.[36] He was in a relationship with her before she began shooting boy-girl scenes in 2007, which led to their breakup.[37]

He proposed to girlfriend Monica Diaz on July 10, 2010 at the Los Angeles International Airport and announced their engagement via Twitter. The couple married on August 20, 2010 at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The wedding was attended by about 20 guests, including an Elvis impersonator. Soon after, Peters told The Canadian Press that Diaz was pregnant, saying, "Did I get married because she was knocked up? I would say that expedited it."[38] Their daughter Crystianna Marie Peters was born two months early on December 14, 2010.[39]

In a March 2012 interview, Peters revealed that he and Diaz were divorcing.[40][41] As of October 2016, he was engaged to Ruzanna Khetchian.[42]

Peters lives in Los Angeles, California and owns two homes there. He also owns homes in Las Vegas and Vaughan, Ontario.[6]

In 2010 Peters established the Russell Peters North Peel Scholarship, an award worth up to $21,000 and intended to finance up to three years of college.[43] It will be awarded annually to a student from Judith Nyman Secondary School (formerly North Peel) with a strong academic record and the intention of attending college.[11][43]

Filmography[edit]

Russell Peters has appeared in many films. He acted in the Punjabi-Canadian Breakaway (2011), alongside Camilla Belle, Anupam Kher, and Vinay Virmani. That year he also acted in Duncan Jones's Source Code (2011) as Max, an amateur comedian with a bad attitude; and as Pervius in National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus (2011).[44]

He appeared in Senior Skip Day (2008), which starred Larry Miller, Tara Reid, and Gary Lundy. That year he was also in The Take (2008) as Dr. Sharma. Earlier he had cameo roles in Boozecan (1994) as Snake's Friend, Tiger Claws III (2000) as Detective Elliott, My Baby's Daddy (2004) as the obstetrician, and Quarter Life Crisis (2006) as Dilip Kumar.

Peters has guest-starred on the TV series Mr. D as the school superintendent. In 2011, he starred in a Canadian TV Christmas special, A Russell Peters Christmas. Guests included Michael Bublé, Pamela Anderson and Jon Lovitz. The show attracted the highest number of viewers of any CTV Canadian holiday special.

Films[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Boozecan Snake's Friend
2000 Tiger Claws III Det. Elliot
2004 My Baby's Daddy Obstetrician
2006 Quarter Life Crisis Dilip Kumar
2007 Let's All Hate Toronto Himself
Heckler
2008 The Take Dr. Sharma
Senior Skip Day Uncle Todd Direct-to-video
2010 The Con Artist Pogue
2011 Bobby Khan's Ticket to Hollywood Jack the Store Manager
Source Code Max Denoff
National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus Pervius
Breakaway Sonu Singh
New Year's Eve Chef Sunil Segment "Jensen and Laura's Story"
2012 Girl in Progress Emile
The History of Canadian Humour Himself
The Robot Giant Zork Voice
2014 Chef Miami Cop
Ribbit Deepak Voice
Delivery Himself
Lennon or McCartney
Meet the Patels
Wings: Sky Force Heroes Jumbo/Boss Man Voice
Wings: Sky Force Heroes - Bringing the Characters to Life Himself Short
2015 Being Canadian Himself
2016 Fifty Shades of Black Dean Jordan
The Jungle Book Rocky the Indian Rhinoceros Voice
2017 Ripped Harris
Chef Remake of the 2014 original
2018 The Clapper Stillerman
Supercon Keith Mahar
Adventures in Public School Mr. Germaine
2019 Street Justice Hasidic Pre-production

Television[edit]

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Comedy at Club 54 Himself
1997 Comedy Now! Himself "Show Me the Funny"
Comics!
Just for Laughs
1999 The Big Stage Episode #1.2
2003 Lord Have Mercy! Ryan Sarma
2003–2008 Just for Laughs Himself Episode dated September 11, 2005 and "Best of 2007: The 25th Edition"
2004 Comedy Now! Himself
2005 Royal Canadian Air Farce Episode dated January 7, 2005
2006 CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival Himself/Host Episode: "No Place Like Home"
2007–2008 Video on Trial Himself Guest juror
Season 3: #3.3 and "Video on Trial: 100!"
2008 Juno Awards Himself/Host
Def Comedy Jam Himself Episode: #8.4
Comics Without Borders Himself/Host Executive producer
2009 Juno Awards Himself/Host
Russell Peters Presents
Angelo Tsarouchas: Bigger Is Better N/A Executive producer
2010 The Dating Guy Himself Voice
Season 2 episode 13: "20,000 VJ's Under the Sea"
2011 8 Out of 10 Cats Himself Episode: #12.9
26th Gemini Awards Himself/Host
A Day in the Life Himself Season 1 episode 2: "Russell Peters"
A Russell Peters Christmas Special Himself/Host Executive producer/producer
Writer
2012 Red Light Comedy: Live from Amsterdam Himself/Host
Are We There Yet? Toby Palmer Season 3 episode 29: The Nick Gets an Assistant Episode
2013 Mr. D Jody Green Season 2 episode 1: "Gerry's Evaluation"
Who Gets the Last Laugh? Himself Episode 9: "Gregg "Opie" Hughes vs. Russell Peters vs. Paul Rodriguez"
Off Season: Lex Morrison Story Romulus TV movie
2014 Last Comic Standing Himself/Judge Season 8
Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever Santa Voice
2015 Just for Laughs: 15 Years of Gags Himself
World's Funniest Himself/Panelist Season 1 episode 5: "Gravity: It Kinda Sucks"
Spun Out Ray Season 2 episode 1: My Brother's Speaker
Codename: Dragon Hacker Ted TV movie
Co-producer
Royal Canadian Air Farce Dr. Malcolm Sidwell "Air Farce New Year's Eve 2015"
2016 Family Guy Padma's Father Season 14 episode 20: "Road to India"
BoJack Horseman Driver Voice
Season 3 episode 2: The BoJack Horseman Show
Life in Pieces Dr. Tak Oh Season 2 episodes 2 and 4: "Receptionist Pot Voting Cramp" and "Cheap Promotion Flying Birthday"
Hip-Hop Evolution N/A Executive producer
4 episodes
This Is Not Happening Himself Season 3 episode 7: "Adventure"
Dying Laughing
2017 Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala Himself
Juno Awards Himself/Co-host
Wild 'n Out Himself
The Problem with Apu Himself
Big in Finland Episode 4: "Näyttiks se siltä et mul on iso kyrpä?"
Man of a Funny Age
2017–present The Indian Detective Doug D'Mello Executive producer
2018 A Little Help with Carol Burnett Co-host

Comedy specials[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
2006 Outsourced Himself Executive producer
2008 Red, White and Brown Himself Executive producer
2011 The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena Himself Executive producer
2013 Notorious Himself Executive producer
First special on Netflix
2016 Almost Famous Himself Executive producer

Books[edit]

  • Call Me Russell (2010, Random House Digital, Inc.) – ISBN 0-385-66965-8

Awards and nominations[edit]

Russell Peters awards and nominations
Wins 5
Nominations 15
Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1997 Russell Peters – Comics! Gemini Awards Best Performance in a Comedy Program or Series Nominated
2003 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-Up Nominated
2004 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-Up Nominated
2004 Russell Peters – Comedy Now! Gemini Awards Best Individual Performance in a Comedy Program or Series Nominated
2007 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Dave Broadfoot Award Won
2008 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Canadian Comedy Person of the Year Nominated
2008 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Best Large Venue Stand-Up Won
2008 Juno Awards – as host Gemini Awards Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series Won
2009 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Canadian Comedy Person of the Year Nominated
2009 Juno Awards – as host Gemini Awards Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series Nominated
2010 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Canadian Comedy Person of the Year Nominated
2011 Russell Peters Canadian Comedy Awards Canadian Comedy Person of the Year Nominated
2012 A Russell Peters Christmas Special – with Clayton Peters, Luciano Casimiri, Kristeen von Hagen, Jean Paul Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing in a Television Program or Series Nominated
2013 A Russell Peters Christmas Special – with Clayton Peters, Luciano Casimiri, Kristeen von Hagen, Jean Paul Gemini Awards Best Writing in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series Nominated
2016 Hip-Hop Evolution Peabody Awards Peabody Award[45] Won
2017 Hip-Hop Evolution International Emmy Awards Best Arts Programming[46] Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Russell Peters biography". Tribute. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b Alan Cho, Gauntlet Entertainment (2005-11-24). "Gauntlet Entertainment — Comedy Preview: Russell Peters won't a hurt you real bad! - 2005-11-24". Gauntlet.ucalgary.ca. Archived from the original on 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  3. ^ "Said with a Punch". The Official Website of Russell Peters. 2006-12-01. Archived from the original on 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  4. ^ Le, Vanna (February 14, 2014). "Why Russell Peters Is Notoriously Unknown". Forbes.
  5. ^ "The famous comedian most Americans don't know". edition.cnn.com. 16 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Hough, Robert (September 2009). "Lighten Up". Toronto Life. Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  7. ^ Comedian Russell Peters talks about his manager and big brother, Clayton. Toronto Star. Accessed on March 25, 2013.
  8. ^ "Archive from The Official Website of Russell Peters". Russellpeters.com. 2013-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  9. ^ Post Reply. "Russell Peters". Mahalo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  10. ^ Jonathan Morvay (2010-04-30). "Punchline Magazine Blog: " Russell Peters creates $20,000 college scholarship — Comedy Blog, Comedy News, and all things in Stand Up Comedy". Punchlinemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  11. ^ a b "Comedian Russell Peters awards scholarship to Randy Adams". Digitaljournal.com. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  12. ^ a b "Call him grateful", The Globe and Mail. Accessed on November 6, 2012.
  13. ^ FAQ, RussellPeters.com. Accessed on November 6, 2012
  14. ^ "RUSSELL PETERS: COMEDIAN, DJ, ANTI-FIST PUMPER", DJ Mag, Accessed on November 6, 2012
  15. ^ Mohr, Jay. "Mohr Stories 87: Russell Peters". Mohr Stories. Fake Mustache Studios. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  16. ^ Russell Peters - 10 Comics to Watch Archived 2013-04-03 at the Wayback Machine. RussellPeters.com. Accessed on March 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Russell Peters: Outsourced Aired on COMEDYP — Ark TV Transcript". tv.ark.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  18. ^ https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/10/top-gear-america-episode-three-exclusive-preview-magnus-walker/?guccounter=1
  19. ^ "The Official Russell Peters Website, Hi-lites". russellpeters.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  20. ^ "World laughs with you". Sydney Morning Herald. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  21. ^ "Have a hearty laugh". TTGmice. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  22. ^ "USO visits Bagram". United States Department of Defense. November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  23. ^ "Russell Peters to Host The 2008 Juno Awards, April 6 on CTV" (PDF). CARAS. February 5, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  24. ^ "Self-proclaimed 'mainstream' Nickelback reigns at Junos". CBC Arts, Mar 29, 2009
  25. ^ De Giorgio, Lorianna (31 May 2011). "Russell Peters releases third DVD, panic ensues". Toronto: thestar.com. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  26. ^ Lacey Rose. "In Pictures: The 10 Top Earning Comedians - 7) Russell Peters". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2010-12-17.
  27. ^ Lacey Rose. "In Pictures: The 10 Top Earning Comedians - 9) Russell Peters, (tie)". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  28. ^ Feeney, Nolan. "No. 3: Russell Peters - In Photos: The Top-Earning Comedians of 2013". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
  29. ^ Piccalo, Gina (16 April 2010). "No joke — Russell Peters is a famous comedian". LA Times. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  30. ^ Clifton Joseph, "Russell Peters Interview on CBC The National, May 30th 2006"
  31. ^ Nguyen, An (19 May 2009). "Defying Stereotypes and Breaking All Laws of Decency, Russell Peters Lets It All Hang Out". (Cult)ure magazine. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  32. ^ Larry King Now, Ora TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kunZO5i2JnA (1:30)
  33. ^ "Russell Peters: I Don't Talk About Religion".
  34. ^ Al Jazeera English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKXxiccJx9c (3:30)
  35. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Russell Peters avoids religion in his comedy act".
  36. ^ Goyal, Samarth (September 2013). "Sunny Leone is a real sweetheart: Russell Peters". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  37. ^ "Comedian Russell Peters Goes Off on Trevor Noah + Names His Top 5 Comedians". YouTube. Sway's Universe. June 28, 2018. 12 minutes in. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  38. ^ "Russell Peters and wife, Monica Diaz, expecting baby girl in February". 680 News. October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  39. ^ "Russell Peters eases into fatherhood and film". CTV News. May 31, 2011.
  40. ^ "Russell Peters: Bring on the Funny". Gulf News. March 19, 2012.
  41. ^ "A busy Russell Peters divorcing, renovating, touring world". The Globe and Mail. June 15, 2012.
  42. ^ "Russell Peters Is Engaged!". Z1035 Radio. October 4, 2016
  43. ^ a b Morvay, Jonathan (2010-04-30). "Russell Peters creates $20,000 college scholarship". Punchlinemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  44. ^ Compolongo, Gabrielle. "EXCLUSIVE: Russell Peters Talks Source Code, Working with Jake Gyllenhaal". Movie Fanatic. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  45. ^ "Hip-Hop Evolution". Peabody Awards. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  46. ^ "Canadian documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution wins International Emmy Award". Toronto Star. November 21, 2017.

External links[edit]