On this day in comedy in 1970 Comedian, Actor, Russell Dominic Peters was born in Toronto.
Due to his Indian descent, Peters was regularly bullied in school and took up boxing to even things out. Comedy was also a great leveler of tension. Peters took up joke telling in 1989 and in 1992 he met one of his idols, George Carlin. It was that meeting that instilled an extra bit of ambition in Peters. Carlin advised the young comic to go up and perform and much as possible and wherever possible. It was that new work ethic that kicked Peters’ career into that of a serious professional and got him noticed by his elders, including Carlin, who Peter’s opened for on one of Carlin’s last performances.
The big break for Peters came in 2004. He was the beneficiary of the latest thing known as videos going viral. He’d shot a set on Canadian TV’s “Comedy Now!” and YouTube users ate it up. Not only did they devour the 45 minute routine, they uploaded segments of his racial comedy and made sure the groups he was talking about got it. They in turn uploaded it and before long Peters was an international comedy star.
Throughout his career it’s been about groundbreaking numbers. He was the first comedian to sell out Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (16,000 tickets) in 2007. In 2009 he set the sales record for London’s 02 Arena (16,000 tickets). His 2010 show in Australia (13,880 tickets) was the biggest stand-up comedy show in Australia’s history and he did the same thing in Singapore in 2012. His DVD, “Outsourced” stayed on the National DVD charts for over a year and a half. His autobiography, “Call Me Russell” was a best-seller. For all this hard work Peters was recognized by Forbes Magazine as the third highest paid stand-up comedian.
Russell Peters has produced comedy for radio and hosted televised award shows (The Juno Awards). In 2008 he won the prestigious Gemini Award for Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series. He had the 2013 Trailblazer Award bestowed upon him by the Association of South Asians in Media for his pioneering comedy contributions by a member of his culture. For the 2014 season of NBCs “Last Comic Standing” Peters served as a judge along with Keenan Ivory Wayans and Roseanne Barr. He’s appeared on TV (“Mr. D”, “The Burn with Jeff Ross”), in films (“National Lampoon’s 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus”, “My Baby’s Daddy”), but mostly on stages worldwide.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton