Peters in 2008
|Birth name||Russell Dominic Peters|
|Born||September 29, 1970|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(m. 2010; div. 2012)
|Partner(s)||Ruzanna Khetchian (2014–2018) |
Jennifer Andrade (2018–2020)
Russell Dominic Peters (born September 29, 1970) is a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, and producer. He began performing in Toronto in 1989 and won a Gemini Award in 2008. In 2013, he was number three on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid comedians, and became the first comedian to get a Netflix stand-up special. He also won the Peabody Award and the International Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming for producing Hip-Hop Evolution (2016). He lives in Los Angeles.
Peters was born in Toronto, Ontario on September 29, 1971, to Eric and Maureen Peters, both of whom were of Anglo-Indian descent and immigrated to Canada from Kolkata, India in 1965. Peters was raised Catholic.
When Peters was four, he and his family moved to the suburb of Brampton. He attended Chinguacousy Secondary School for grades 9–10, and North Peel Secondary School in Bramalea for grades 11–12. In school, he was regularly bullied because of his ethnicity. He eventually learned boxing, which helped him resist the bullying. Peters also became a fan of hip hop in his youth. By the 1990s, he was a well-connected DJ in the Toronto scene.
Peters' older brother, Clayton, serves as his manager.
Peters began performing in Toronto in 1989. He has since gone on to perform in several countries.
In 1992, Peters met American comedian George Carlin, one of his biggest influencers, who advised him to get on stage whenever and wherever possible. Peters said he "took that advice to heart, and I think that's the reason I am where I am now." In 2007, 15 years later, he hosted one of Carlin's last shows before the comedian's death the following year.
On September 28, 2013, Peters was awarded the 2013 Trailblazer award by the Association of South Asians in Media, Marketing and Entertainment (SAMMA) for good contributions to comedy. He is among the first South Asians to achieve international success in the field.
According to Forbes, Peters earned an estimated $15 million between June 2009 and June 2010, continuing his run as one of the highest-paid comedians, after earning an estimated $5 million the prior year. Forbes ranked him as the third-highest-paid comedian. In 2013, he earned $21 million, according to Forbes' estimate.
Comedy Now! special
Peters credits the turning point in his career to his 2004 special on the Canadian TV show Comedy Now!, which was uploaded onto YouTube, where it became popular. While the initial video upload featured his entire 45-minute performance, YouTube users subsequently uploaded segments of the performance in which Peters focused on individual cultural groups. According to Peters, those segments were seen by the targeted cultural groups and were well received by them. The video and its viral nature was referred to by Peters on his performance, Outsourced; when the audience cheered when he referred to earlier jokes, he exclaimed, "Look at you, you filthy downloaders!"
In 2007, Peters was the first comedian to sell out Toronto's Air Canada Centre, selling more than 16,000 tickets in two days for the single show. He ended up selling more than 30,000 tickets nationally over the two-day sales period. He broke a UK comedy sales record at London's O2 Arena when he sold over 16,000 tickets to his show in 2009. His show in Sydney on 15 May 2010 had an audience of 13,880, making it the largest stand-up comedy show ever in Australia. Peters's performances on May 5–6, 2012 in Singapore also set attendance records for a single stand-up comedian at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Peters hosted the Canada Day Comedy Festival 2006, and participated in a USO tour of Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Africa and Greenland in November 2007 with Wilmer Valderrama and Mayra Veronica. He also produced and starred in the radio situation comedy series Monsoon House on CBC Radio One.
Peters was the host of the televised 2008 Juno Awards ceremonies in Calgary on April 6, 2008, for which he won a Gemini Award for "Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series." The show received the second-highest ratings of any Juno Awards broadcast. Following the show's success, Peters accepted an invitation to host the Juno Awards for a second consecutive year; the 2009 Juno Awards took place in Vancouver on March 29, 2009.
DVDs and book
Peters released his debut comedy album, Outsourced, of his performance aired on Comedy Central on August 26, 2006. The DVD version is uncensored; it has sold more than 100,000 copies, and remained on the National DVD Chart over one and a half years after its release.
Peters released a second DVD/CD combo, Red, White and Brown, in Canada in 2008, and in the U.S. in early 2009. It was recorded on February 2, 2008, at the WaMu Theatre in New York City's Madison Square Garden. It was self-produced and financed by Peters and his brother Clayton.
On October 26, 2010, Peters published his autobiography, Call Me Russell, co-written with his brother, Clayton, and Dannis Koromilas.
In May 2011, Peters released The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena, a live performance recorded in front of a total audience of 30,000, over two nights at O2 Arena in London, England. Also in 2011, Peters received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
Peters's stand-up performances feature observational comedy, using humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He often refers to his own experiences growing up in an Anglo-Indian family, and impersonates the accents of various ethnic groups to poke fun at them. As he told an audience in San Francisco, "I don't make the stereotypes, I just see them." In a 2006 interview with The National, Peters observed that he did not intend to put down or offend different races and cultures, but tried to "raise them up through humour".
Peters is widely known for his punchline, "Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad." It ends a joke he tells about his childhood with a traditional Indian father, who used corporal punishment on his sons. Another punchline he uses is "Be a man! Do the right thing!", which relates to a story of a Chinese man trying to get him to pay more for an item at a shop.
In 2010, Peters established the Russell Peters North Peel Scholarship, an award worth up to $21,000 and intended to finance up to three years of college. It will be awarded annually to a student from Judith Nyman Secondary School (formerly North Peel) with a strong academic record and the intention of attending college.
Peters proposed to girlfriend Monica Diaz on July 10, 2010 at the Los Angeles International Airport and announced their engagement via Twitter. The couple married on August 20, 2010 at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The wedding was attended by about 20 guests, including an Elvis impersonator. Soon after, Peters told The Canadian Press that Diaz was pregnant, saying, "Did I get married because she was knocked up? I would say that expedited it." Their daughter, Crystianna Marie Peters, was born two months early on December 14, 2010. In a March 2012 interview, Peters revealed that he and Diaz were divorcing.
In October 2016, it was announced that Peters was engaged to Ruzanna Khetchian. After the engagement was called off, Peters announced on December 4, 2018, via Twitter, that he and his girlfriend Jennifer Andrade were expecting a child. Andrade was the Miss Universe Honduras in 2012. The following April, it was announced that Andrade had given birth to a boy, whom they named Russell Santiago Peters. His relationship with Andrade ended in 2020.
When interviewer Larry King asked Peters, "Is there such a thing as too taboo?", Peters replied, "I don't talk about religion because I think people are a little weird about religion, especially nowadays, and I'm more of a science guy than I am a beliefs guy. I'm more into facts than I am into beliefs." Peters is an atheist.
Russell Peters has appeared in many films. Earlier in his career, he had cameo roles in Boozecan (1994) as Snake's Friend, Tiger Claws III (2000) as Detective Elliott, My Baby's Daddy (2004) as the obstetrician, and Quarter Life Crisis (2006) as Dilip Kumar.
He acted in the Punjabi-Canadian Breakaway (2011), alongside Rob Lowe, Camilla Belle, Anupam Kher, and Vinay Virmani. That year he also acted in Duncan Jones's Source Code (2011) as Max, an amateur comedian with a bad attitude; and as Pervius in National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus (2011).
Peters has guest-starred on the TV series Mr. D as the school superintendent. In 2011, he starred in a Canadian TV Christmas special, A Russell Peters Christmas. Guests included Michael Bublé, Pamela Anderson, and Jon Lovitz. The show attracted the highest number of viewers of any CTV Canadian holiday special.
|2000||Tiger Claws III||Det. Elliot|
|2004||My Baby's Daddy||Obstetrician|
|2006||Quarter Life Crisis||Dilip Kumar|
|2007||Let's All Hate Toronto||Himself|
|2008||The Take||Dr. Sharma|
|Senior Skip Day||Uncle Todd||Direct-to-video|
|2010||The Con Artist||Pogue|
|2011||Bobby Khan's Ticket to Hollywood||Jack the Store Manager|
|Source Code||Max Denoff|
|National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus||Pervius|
|New Year's Eve||Chef Sunil||Segment "Jensen and Laura's Story"|
|2012||Girl in Progress||Emile|
|The History of Canadian Humour||Himself|
|The Robot Giant||Zork||Voice|
|Lennon or McCartney|
|Meet the Patels|
|Wings: Sky Force Heroes||Jumbo/Boss Man||Voice|
|Wings: Sky Force Heroes - Bringing the Characters to Life||Himself||Short|
|2016||Fifty Shades of Black||Dean Jordan|
|The Jungle Book||Rocky the Indian Rhinoceros||Voice|
|Chef||Remake of the 2014 original|
|Adventures in Public School||Mr. Germaine|
|2020||The Opening Act||Randy||Post-production|
|1990||Comedy at Club 54||Himself|
|1997||Comedy Now!||"Show Me the Funny"|
|Just for Laughs|
|1999||The Big Stage||Episode #1.2|
|2003||Lord Have Mercy!||Ryan Sarma|
|2003–2008||Just for Laughs||Himself||Episode dated September 11, 2005 and "Best of 2007: The 25th Edition"|
|2005||Royal Canadian Air Farce||Episode dated January 7, 2005|
|2006||CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival||Himself/Host||Episode: "No Place Like Home"|
|2007–2008||Video on Trial||Himself||Guest juror|
Season 3: #3.3 and "Video on Trial: 100!"
|Def Comedy Jam||Himself||Episode: #8.4|
|Comics Without Borders||Himself/Host||Executive producer|
|Russell Peters Presents|
|Angelo Tsarouchas: Bigger Is Better||N/A||Executive producer|
|2010||The Dating Guy||Himself||Voice|
Episode: "20,000 VJ's Under the Sea"
|2011||8 Out of 10 Cats||Episode: #12.9|
|26th Gemini Awards||Himself/Host|
|A Day in the Life||Himself||Season 1 episode 2: "Russell Peters"|
|A Russell Peters Christmas Special||Himself/Host||Executive producer/producer|
|2012||Red Light Comedy: Live from Amsterdam|
|Are We There Yet?||Toby Palmer||Episode: The Nick Gets an Assistant Episode|
|2013||Mr. D||Jody Green||Episode: "Gerry's Evaluation"|
|Who Gets the Last Laugh?||Himself||Episode: "Gregg "Opie" Hughes vs. Russell Peters vs. Paul Rodriguez"|
|Off Season: Lex Morrison Story||Romulus||TV movie|
|Russell Peters Vs. the World||Himself||Docu-series|
|2014||Last Comic Standing||Himself/Judge||Season 8|
|Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever||Santa||Voice|
|2015||Just for Laughs: 15 Years of Gags||Himself|
|World's Funniest||Himself/Panelist||EpisodEMe: "Gravity: It Kinda Sucks"|
|Spun Out||Ray||Episode: "My Brother's Speaker"|
|Codename: Dragon||Hacker Ted||TV movie|
|Royal Canadian Air Farce||Dr. Malcolm Sidwell||Episode: "Air Farce New Year's Eve 2015"|
|2016||Family Guy||Padma's Father||Episode: "Road to India"|
Episode: "The BoJack Horseman Show"
|Life in Pieces||Dr. Tak Oh||2 episodes|
|2016–2020||Hip-Hop Evolution||N/A||Executive producer|
|2016||This Is Not Happening||Himself||Episode: "Adventure"|
|Lip Sync Battle||Episode: "CeeLo Green vs. Russell Peters"|
|2017||Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala|
|Wild 'n Out||Himself|
|The Problem with Apu||Documentary film|
|Big in Finland||Episode 4: "Näyttiks se siltä et mul on iso kyrpä?"|
|Man of a Funny Age|
|The Indian Detective||Doug D'Mello||Executive producer|
|2018||A Little Help with Carol Burnett||Co-host|
|2019||Corner Gas Animated||Gavin||Voice role|
Season 2 episode 8: "Bush League"
|Year||Title||Label / Production company||Notes|
|2006||Outsourced||Warner Bros. Records||Executive producer|
|2008||Red, White and Brown||Warner Music|
|2011||The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena|
|2020||Deported||Amazon Prime Video|
Awards and nominations
|1997||Comics!||Gemini Award||Best Performance in a Comedy Program or Series||Nominated|
|2003||Russell Peters||Canadian Comedy Award||Best Male Stand-Up||Nominated|
|2004||Comedy Now!||Gemini Award||Best Individual Performance in a Comedy Program or Series||Nominated|
|2007||Russell Peters||Canadian Comedy Award||Dave Broadfoot Award||Won|
|2008||Canadian Comedy Person of the Year||Nominated|
|2008||Best Large Venue Stand-Up||Won|
|2008||Juno Awards – as host||Gemini Award||Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series||Won|
|2009||Russell Peters||Canadian Comedy Award||Canadian Comedy Person of the Year||Nominated|
|2009||Juno Awards – as host||Gemini Award||Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series||Nominated|
|2010||Russell Peters||Canadian Comedy Award||Canadian Comedy Person of the Year||Nominated|
|2012||A Russell Peters Christmas Special – with Clayton Peters, Luciano Casimiri, Kristeen von Hagen, Jean Paul||Canadian Comedy Award||Best Writing in a Television Program or Series||Nominated|
|2013||Gemini Award||Best Writing in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series||Nominated|
|2016||Hip-Hop Evolution – as producer||Peabody Award||Peabody Award||Won|
|2017||International Emmy Award||Best Arts Programming||Won|
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- "Canadian documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution wins International Emmy Award". Toronto Star. November 21, 2017.
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