By Durga Chakravarty
New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Tickling the funny bone comes naturally to Russell Peters, who makes people chuckle with his jokes on cultures, ethnicities and stereotypical accents. The Indo-Canadian stand-up comedy star says he has experienced racism and prejudice at a very young age.
“I experienced racism and prejudice at a very young age and it really affected me. I couldn’t understand it, so I’ve spent most of my life exploring race and culture and our so-called differences,” Peters told IANS.
Even though he jokes about everything, religion is something the funnyman will not touch.
“I won’t touch religion. People are prepared to die for their religion, so what’s the point of going there?” he said.
Peters has drawn criticism that his humour banks on stereotypes. He stresses that it exists for a reason.
“Stereotypes exist for a reason. I’m not making them up. I’m very honest in my act; if I don’t know anything about a group of people I won’t say anything about them. I also won’t do jokes about people that aren’t in the room to hear them. The positive feedback that I get is that I’m actually acknowledging everyone and speaking to them from a place of knowing them and understanding them,” he said.
“There’s no malice in my act. It’s fun and silly,” added Peters, who is popular for his catchphrase “someone’s gonna get hurt real bad”.
He says his late father helped him shape his comedic voice.
“My dad was the funniest guy I ever met. He was dry and very British. He also had a real love of comedy and the spoken and written word,” said the 48-year-old.
Peters returns to perform in India in October as part of a return leg of his smash hit “Deported World Tour” with Zee Live.
“I’m not a political guy but I am a brown man born in Canada, and living in the United States. The possibility of people who look like me being deported is a reality for a lot of people these days,” said Peter, explaining the relevance of the word “Deported” in the title.
He is excited to be back in India. “I really do love being there, so when these dates became available, I was like ‘I’m in!’. I’ve also never been to Pune, Ahmedabad or Hyderabad, so this should be fun. These shows are also among the final dates for Deported.”
He calls this tour more personal.
“I talk about life as a middle-aged man with health issues, young children and struggling with relationships. There is, of course, my usual racial and cultural observations and other assorted silliness.”
Post his shows in India, Peters is off to “Kuwait and then a show in Indiana and The Deported World Tour will be over.”
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at [email protected])