From a life as an underdog to outright stardom, this young comedian has captivated our minds and captured all of our hearts. We all know him as Russell Peters, best known for his work, from performances such as ‘CTV’s Comedy Now’, ‘Outsourced’ & ‘Red, White & Brown’. He’s even authored a book entitled ‘Call Me Russell.’
At an early age he endured some hardships as he went through high-school, where he was picked on because of his ethnicity but as soon as he graduated, Russell started to gain some recognition after signing on to Sheridan College as a disc jockey, all the while trying to step foot into the world of comedy.
“There’s always someone who’s going to interpret my material as racist, but it’s not. Racism comes from intent and power. A racist will tell a joke about a group of people only when they’re not in the room. I’ll talk about a group of people only when they’re in the room.” – Russell Peters
It’s in Comedy where he met a well-known comedian by the name of George Carlin, who told him to seize any opportunity he could get, to perform. This inspired young Russell to keep pursuing comedy, developing himself both as a person and as a comic for four years before he even started getting paid for his sketches, which only occurred in 1992. Even after his father passed in 2004, which took a toll on Russell because of his close relationship with his dad and his admiration for him, he still never gave up his passion for comedy.
“No matter where you are, the root of you is designed from a young age. So if my confidence was taken as a child, you can gain back a lot of the confidence, but that root of the cavity will still be there.” – Russell Peters
In 2004, shortly after his dad’s passing, he was called to do a show on CTV’s Comedy Now but it wasn’t the show in itself that created his success but an unauthorized footage of his performance that went viral.
Russell now performs live before many audiences world wide, with his well known sketches, giving everyone both joy and laughter, all the while looking up, as he gives respect to his dad right before he goes on stage. “My dad was the funniest guy I ever knew.”
Although Russell is known for his racially directed humor in most of his sketches, he often gets advice from the groups he might offend because ultimately ignorance of cultural differences are his main target but if you ask Russell “I don’t make the stereo types, I just see them.”
“You do stand-up because you have to do it. If you’re doing it to become ‘famous,’ you’re wrong. If you’re doing it to become a millionaire, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. In 2003, I was flat broke. I’d been doing stand-up for 14 years at that point. I loved it and just kept at it.” – Russell Peters
Thank you Russell Peters for never giving up or taking no for an answer in doing what you love, putting smiles on our faces and laughter in our hearts.