Laughter, it's said, is the best medicine. Research has concluded that laughter reduces pain, brings down blood sugar levels and relieves stress.
If this is true, then last night’s performances by comedian Russell Peters and opening act Gregg Rogell, cured all sorts of ailments, with the exception being sore cheeks.
Canadian-Indian comedian Russell Peters was born and raised in Toronto, and, according to his recanting, he was clueless as to what career path he should pursue, until one day, he was thinking out loud to a friend, saying that he needed a job which would allow him to sleep all day, and work only a couple of hours in the evening. His friend suggested he become a comedian, so he went for it.
Fast forward 26 years, Peters has been entertaining packed houses internationally longer than, some of his audience members have been walking the Earth, as he commented, when he chatted up a front-row attendee or “victim,” and found out that he was a mere 23 years old.
Peters has become a best selling author, set attendance records in the UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore, and Forbes has ranked him as the third-highest-paid comedian in the world. Not bad for a kid with ADD/ADHD, who was bullied because of his ethnic background and had no life dream, other than to become a breakdancer.
So what makes Peters so popular? His stand-up performances feature observational comedy, highlighting racial, ethnic and cultural stereotypes through humour. No one is immune to his rants and, least of all his fellow Indians, who “worship” him. With maybe just one exception. Peters recollected a time he called the Mac tech support line in India, after a few minutes of back and forth misunderstanding due to the operator’s heavy accent, he finally was able to give him his name, to which the attendant first reacted with excitement to have the one and only Russell Peters on the line, and then there was a bit of attitude, something along the lines of: “Oh, you’re so smart when you’re making fun of Indians, but now... now you’re not so smart. Are you?”
Although some of his material is within a hair’s breadth of being racist, and may even seem a bit cruel at times, Peters delivers all his jokes and digs with a certain child-like non malicious manner, that it’s almost impossible to get bent out of shape because of what he says about you, your people and their customs or accent (he is very talented with accents). What he does however stay away from, is religion. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Peters said he ‘refuses’ to talk about religion, because it’s way too sensitive a subject.
At last night’s performance, looking around, it was apparent that Peters’ humour appeals to a very wide spectrum of fans. From 18 to 80 years old, from Italian to Indian, all of Rod Laver Arena roared with laughter the entire duration of the show. After his performance came to an end, you could tell that everyone held their breath for his encore return to the stage, which didn’t happen (he’s not a rock star... yet), there was so much more laughter waiting to come out of all of us. We’ll just have to stock up on his DVDs to keep the positive momentum going, until the next time he comes to town.
With one more show down under, on the 28th of March in Sydney, catch Russell Peters if you can, he is so much more than what his YouTube channel shows.
Almost Famous World Tour
Thursday 19 March
Sunday 22 March
Rod Laver Arena
Thursday 26 March
Saturday 28 March
Bookings: Ticketek 132 849 | www.ticketek.com.au