The Bentley, the Porsche and the house in Malibu (one of three homes he calls his own) came from tapping into many veins of immigrant culture rather than mining one particular niche."Nice to see at least part of you," Peters says to a woman in a hijab seated in the front row of his Nokia Theatre show last week.A giant screen behind Peters shows the logo of his Almost Famous tour: a generic "Hello My Name Is" tag with "Russell Peters" scrawled in the blank space."Are you black or Indian?'Cause it's hard to tell," he says to another surprised audience member, whose image is projected onto large screens at each side of the stage.
Comedian Russell Peters hasn't been punched in the face. Within minutes of sitting down for dinner, he addresses the African American waiter as "The Black Greek" ("Dude, your name's Nico?
"), hides under the table when he learns a dining companion is of Iraqi heritage and lampoons someone with a "weird" Indian name: "What parent does that to their kid?!! 15 Calendar section about comedian Russell Peters said that the upcoming movie TV movie "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" would air on the USA Network.
The movie will air on Lifetime.------------Then he sees a South Asian waiter."Hey, are you Sri Lankan? Yes, says the waiter, excited to be noticed by the comedian."Tamil? Get your [butt] back in the kitchen."The diverse wait staff, a microcosm of his audience two days later at the sold-out Nokia Theatre, bust up laughing.
Though teetering on offensive, Peters is one of them, and they love it.
"And so goes the first half of his 90-minute show — improv bounced off nervous but willing participants, much like the waiters in the restaurant.
Every time he asks about someone's background — Filipino, South African, Chinese, Indian, Persian — segments of the audience explode in applause."You see Seinfeld, you see a majority white audience," Peters says back at dinner."See Chappelle and you see a cross-section of white and black and hipsters. Hipsters, nerds, families, white, brown, yellow — the strangest mixes. "Before you assume Peters' Indian father had to eat crow over his son's success because he wanted him to be a doctor, the comic — who is managed by his brother, Clayton, — explains he came from a blue-collar family where "nobody had a career, they had jobs."Peters says his father worked as a federal meat inspector and his mother worked in the cafeteria at Kmart.Born and raised in working-class Toronto as the son of immigrant Indian parents, Peters has built a comedy empire by appealing to that wide yet overlooked swath of North America who check the "other" box.While national conversations about race and culture still ricochet between black, white and occasionally Latino, the 44-year-old Peters has spent the last two decades riffing about the third of the continent's inhabitants who don't quite fit the profile. '"Funny thing is, Peters doesn't really need "The Howard Stern Show," or any other outlet.If it was unclear before whether Koreans would laugh at jokes about Punjabis, or if Lebanese would find the lampooning of Caribbean culture funny, Peters has proved it's not only possible, it's lucrative. He's never appeared on "Letterman," never had his own HBO special, never done "Saturday Night Live." And he's gotten half the ink of Aziz Ansari, another South Asian comic who riffs far more about pop culture than race and reaches mainstream TV audiences each week through his recurring role on NBC's "Parks and Recreation.""That's why this new tour is called Almost Famous," says Peters of his new stand-up show, which will take him to Madison Square Garden on Dec. "Most comics are never lucky enough to do one arena tour — maybe Dane Cook, Kevin Hart or Chris Rock if he wanted to. While his Hollywood profile is growing — he was recently a judge on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," had a cameo in Jon Favreau's "Chef," will be seen on the USA Network as Santa in "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" and made news as the first comedian to create a Netflix original comedy special — most of his income is derived from his own touring franchise.Last year alone the performer made million and was ranked third by Forbes on its list of the highest-earning stand-up comedians, with Jerry Seinfeld at No. He was the first comedian to sell out Toronto's Air Canada Centre, the first comic to sell out London's O2 Arena and the first comic to fill the 20,000-seat Barclays Center in Brooklyn during his "Notorious" world tour.