Russell Peters

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Russell Peters
RussellPeters08TIFF.jpg
Peters in 2008
Birth nameRussell Dominic Peters
Born (1970-09-29) September 29, 1970 (age 51)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1]
Medium
Education
Years active1989 – present
Genres
Subject(s)
Spouse
Monica Diaz
(m. 2010; div. 2012)
Partner(s)Ruzanna Khetchian (2014–2018)
Jennifer Andrade (2018–2020)
Children2
SignatureRussell Peters Autograph.svg
Websiterussellpeters.com

Russell Dominic Peters (born September 29, 1970)[1] is a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, and producer.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

Early life[edit]

Peters was born in Toronto on September 29, 1970, to immigrant Indian parents, both of mixed Anglo-Indian descent, Eric and Maureen Peters, who had moved to Canada in 1965 from Bombay, Maharashtra, and Calcutta, West Bengal, respectively.[5][6] Peters was raised Catholic.[6]

When Peters was four, he and his family moved to the Toronto suburb of Brampton. He attended Chinguacousy Secondary School for grades 9–10, and North Peel Secondary School in Bramalea for grades 11–12.[7][8][9] In school, he was regularly bullied because of his ethnicity. He eventually learned boxing, which helped him resist the bullying.[10] Peters also became a fan of hip hop in his youth. By the 1990s, he was a well-connected DJ in the Toronto scene.[11][12]

Peters's older brother, Clayton, serves as his manager.[13]

Career[edit]

Peters began performing in Toronto in 1989. He has since gone on to perform in several countries.[14]

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."[15] In 2007, 15 years later, he hosted one of Carlin's last shows before the comedian's death the following year.[10]

On September 28, 2013, Peters was awarded the 2013 Trailblazer award by the Association of South Asians in Media, Marketing and Entertainment (ASAMME) for good contributions to comedy. He is among the first South Asians to achieve international success in the field.

In 2017, Peters made an appearance on Top Gear America in the third episode of season 1 as one of the guests.[16]

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.[17][18] In 2013, he earned $21 million, according to Forbes' estimate.[19]

Notable performances[edit]

Comedy Now! special[edit]

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!"[20]

Others[edit]

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.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] He also produced and starred in the radio situation comedy series Monsoon House on CBC Radio One.

Peters hosting the Juno Awards 2009
Peters hosting the Juno Awards 2009

Peters was the host of the televised 2008 Juno Awards ceremonies in Calgary on April 6, 2008,[25] for which he won a Gemini Award for "Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series."[26] 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[edit]

Russell Peters in Afghanistan on a USO tour (November 2007)
Russell Peters in Afghanistan on a USO tour (November 2007)

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.

Peters at Canada's Walk of Fame 2011
Peters at Canada's Walk of Fame 2011

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.[27] Also in 2011, Peters received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.[28]

Comedic style[edit]

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."[29] 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".[30]

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.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Peters lives in Los Angeles, California, and owns two homes there. He also owns homes in Las Vegas Valley, Nevada and Vaughan, Ontario.[4]

In 2010, Peters established the Russell Peters North Peel Scholarship, an award worth up to CA$21,000 and intended to finance up to three years of college.[32] 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.[9][32]

Relationships[edit]

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."[33] Their daughter, Crystianna Marie Peters, was born two months early on December 14, 2010.[34] In a March 2012 interview, Peters revealed that he and Diaz were divorcing.[35][36]

In October 2016, it was announced that Peters was engaged to Ruzanna Khetchian.[37] After the engagement was called off, Peters announced on December 4, 2018, via Twitter, that he and his new girlfriend Jennifer Andrade were expecting a child.[38] 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.[39][40] His relationship with Andrade ended in 2020.[41]

Religious beliefs[edit]

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."[42][43] Peters is an atheist.[44]

Works[edit]

Peters, along with Scot McFadyen, Rodrigo Bascuñán, Shadrach Kabango, Sam Dunn, and Darby Wheeler, at the Peabody Awards
Peters, along with Scot McFadyen, Rodrigo Bascuñán, Shad, Sam Dunn, and Darby Wheeler, at the Peabody Awards.

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 appeared in Senior Skip Day (2008), which starred Larry Miller, Tara Reid, and Gary Lundy. That year he was also in The Take (2008) as Dr. Sharma.

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).[45]

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.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Boozecan Snake's Friend
2000 Tiger Claws III Det. Elliot
2004 My Baby's Daddy Obstetrician
2006 Quarter Life Crisis Dilip Kumar
Russell Peters: Two Concerts, One Ticket Himself Video Documentary
2007 The Take Dr. Sharma
Let's All Hate Toronto Himself Documentary
Heckler Himself Documentary
2008 Senior Skip Day Uncle Todd Video
2010 The Con Artist Pogue
2011 Source Code Max Denoff
The Legend of Awesomest Maximus Pervius
Breakaway Sonu Singh
Walter & Tandoori's Christmas Tandoori (English version, voice)
New Year's Eve Chef Sunil
Bobby Khan's Ticket to Hollywood Jack the Store Manager
2012 Girl in Progress Emile
The Robot Giant Zork (English version, voice)
2013 My Date with Hugh Himself Documentary
TBS Who Gets the Last Laugh: Baby Goats Himself Video Short
Off Season: The Lex Morrison Story Romulus TV Movie
2014 Chef Miami Cop
Ribbit Deepak (English version, voice)
Meet the Patels Himself Documentary
Wings: Sky Force Heroes - Bringing the Characters to Life Himself Video Short
Delivery Himself Documentary
Lennon or McCartney Himself Documentary Short
Wings: Sky Force Heroes Jumbo/Boss Man (voice)
Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever Santa TV Movie
2015 Being Canadian Himself
Codename: Dragon Hacker Ted TV Movie
2016 Fifty Shades of Black Dean Jordan
The Jungle Book Rocky the Indian Rhinoceros (voice)
2017 The Clapper Stillerman
Ripped Harris
Adventures in Public School Mr. Germaine
2018 Supercon Keith Mahar
2020 The Opening Act Randy
2021 The Outlaw Johnny Black Big Chief
Clifford the Big Red Dog Malik

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1990 Comedy at Club 54 Himself TV Series
1997 Live at Jongleurs Himself Episode: "Episode #1.5"
Comedy Now! Himself Episode: "Russell Peters: Show Me the Funny"
Just for Laughs Himself TV Series
1999 The Big Stage Himself Episode: "Episode #1.2"
Festival of Fun Himself Episode: "Episode #2.2"
2001-02 Network East Late Himself/Host TV Series
2003 Lord Have Mercy! Ryan Sarma Episode: "Deranged Marriage"
2003–08 Just for Laughs Himself 3 Episodes
2006 CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival Himself/Host Episode: "No Place Like Home"
2006-09 Comics Unleashed Himself 2 Episodes
2007 Video on Trial Himself Episode: "Episode #3.3"
Pulse: The Desi Beat Himself Episode: "Episode #1.9"
2008 Juno Awards Himself/Host TV Special
Def Comedy Jam Himself Episode: "Episode #8.4"
Comics Without Borders Himself/Host TV Series
2009 Juno Awards Himself/Host TV Special
Russell Peters Presents Himself/Host TV Special Documentary
2010 The Dating Guy Himself (voice) Episode: "20,000 VJ's Under the Sea"
2011 A Day in the Life Himself Episode: "Russell Peters"
26th Gemini Awards Himself/Host TV Special
8 Out of 10 Cats Himself Episode: #12.9
A Russell Peters Christmas Special Himself/Host TV Special
2012 Red Light Comedy: Live from Amsterdam Himself/Host TV Series
The Burn with Jeff Ross Himself Episode: "Gilbert Gottfried/Russell Peters/Marc Maron/John Stamos"
Just for Laughs: All-Access Himself/Host Episode: "Episode #5.2"
Bob's Burgers Tran (voice) Episode: "Moody Foodie"
Are We There Yet? Toby Palmer Episode: "The Nick Gets an Assistant Episode"
2013 Top Chef Canada Himself Episode: "The Indian Feast"
Who Gets the Last Laugh? Himself Episode: "Gregg "Opie" Hughes vs. Russell Peters vs. Paul Rodriguez"
Mr. D Jody Green Episode: "Gerry's Evaluation"
Russell Peters Vs. the World Himself TV Series Documentary
2014 Russell Peters & Friends Himself/Host TV Special
Last Comic Standing Himself/Judge Season 8
2015 Just for Laughs: 15 Years of Gags Himself TV Special
World's Funniest Himself/Panelist Episode: "Gravity: It Kinda Sucks"
Pop Culture Underground Himself Episode: "Comedy"
Spun Out Ray Episode: "My Brother's Speaker"
Royal Canadian Air Farce Dr. Malcolm Sidwell Episode: "Air Farce New Year's Eve 2015"
2016 Family Guy Padma's Father (voice) Episode: "Road to India"
BoJack Horseman Driver (voice) Episode: "The BoJack Horseman Show"
Life in Pieces Dr. Tak Oh 2 episodes
2016–2020 Hip-Hop Evolution N/A 16 episodes
2016 This Is Not Happening Himself Episode: "Adventure"
Dying Laughing
Lip Sync Battle Episode: "CeeLo Green vs. Russell Peters"
2017 Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala
Juno Awards Himself/Co-host
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"
2020 Gander Himself
TBA Roast Battle Canada Himself Judge

Comedy specials[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Outsourced Warner Bros. Records Executive producer
2008 Red, White and Brown Warner Music Canada
2011 The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena
2013 Notorious Netflix
2016 Almost Famous
2020 Deported Amazon Prime Video

Bibliography[edit]

  • 2010. Call Me Russell. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 0-385-66965-8.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Russell Peters awards and nominations
Wins 6
Nominations 17
Year Nominated work Award Category Result
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 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
2011 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
2013 Himself Association of South Asians in Media, Marketing and Entertainment Trailblazer Award Won
2016 Hip-Hop Evolution – as producer Peabody Award Peabody Award[46] Won
2017 International Emmy Award Best Arts Programming[47] Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Russell Peters biography". Tribute. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  2. ^ Le, Vanna (February 14, 2014). "Why Russell Peters Is Notoriously Unknown". Forbes.
  3. ^ "The famous comedian most Americans don't know". edition.cnn.com. 16 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b Hough, Robert (September 2009). "Lighten Up". Toronto Life. Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Archive from The Official Website of Russell Peters". Russellpeters.com. 2013-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2016-11-01.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ a b "Russell Peters". thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. May 25, 2016.
  7. ^ "Russell Peters". Mahalo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  8. ^ Jonathan Morvay (2010-04-30). "Punchline Magazine Blog: " Russell Peters creates $20,000 college scholarship — Comedy Blog, Comedy News, and all things in Stand Up Comedy". Punchlinemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  9. ^ a b "Comedian Russell Peters awards scholarship to Randy Adams". Digitaljournal.com. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  10. ^ a b "Call him grateful." The Globe and Mail. Accessed on November 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "FAQ." RussellPeters.com. Accessed on November 6, 2012.
  12. ^ MacLachlan, Alex. 27 June 2012. "Russell Peters: Comedian, DJ, Anti-fist pumper." DJ Mag, Accessed on November 6, 2012.
  13. ^ "Comedian Russell Peters talks about his manager and big brother, Clayton." Toronto Star. Accessed on March 25, 2013.
  14. ^ Mohr, Jay. "Mohr Stories 87: Russell Peters". Mohr Stories. Fake Mustache Studios. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  15. ^ Russell Peters - 10 Comics to Watch RussellPeters.com. Accessed on March 25, 2013. Archived 2013-04-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ KORZENIEWSKI, JEREMY. "Enjoy this exclusive preview of Top Gear America Episode 3". Autoblog.
  17. ^ Lacey Rose. "In Pictures: The 10 Top Earning Comedians - 7) Russell Peters". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2010-12-17.
  18. ^ Lacey Rose. "In Pictures: The 10 Top Earning Comedians - 9) Russell Peters, (tie)". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  19. ^ Feeney, Nolan. "No. 3: Russell Peters - In Photos: The Top-Earning Comedians of 2013". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
  20. ^ "Russell Peters: Outsourced Aired on COMEDYP — Ark TV Transcript". tv.ark.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  21. ^ "The Official Russell Peters Website, Hi-lites". russellpeters.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  22. ^ "World laughs with you". Sydney Morning Herald. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Have a hearty laugh". TTGmice. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  24. ^ "USO visits Bagram". United States Department of Defense. November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  25. ^ "Russell Peters to Host The 2008 Juno Awards, April 6 on CTV" (PDF). CARAS. February 5, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  26. ^ "Self-proclaimed 'mainstream' Nickelback reigns at Junos". CBC Arts, Mar 29, 2009
  27. ^ De Giorgio, Lorianna (31 May 2011). "Russell Peters releases third DVD, panic ensues". thestar.com. Toronto. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  28. ^ "Russell Peters". Canada's Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 7 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  29. ^ Piccalo, Gina (16 April 2010). "No joke — Russell Peters is a famous comedian". LA Times. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  30. ^ Clifton Joseph, "Russell Peters Interview on CBC The National, May 30th 2006"
  31. ^ Nguyen, An (19 May 2009). "Defying Stereotypes and Breaking All Laws of Decency, Russell Peters Lets It All Hang Out". (Cult)ure magazine. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  32. ^ a b Morvay, Jonathan (2010-04-30). "Russell Peters creates $20,000 college scholarship". Punchlinemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  33. ^ "Russell Peters and wife, Monica Diaz, expecting baby girl in February". 680 News. October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  34. ^ "Russell Peters eases into fatherhood and film". CTV News. May 31, 2011.
  35. ^ "Russell Peters: Bring on the Funny". Gulf News. March 19, 2012.
  36. ^ "A busy Russell Peters divorcing, renovating, touring world". The Globe and Mail. June 15, 2012.
  37. ^ "Russell Peters Is Engaged!". Global News. September 28, 2016
  38. ^ Peters, Russell (4 December 2018). "I am pleased to announce that my beautiful girlfriend Jennifer Andrade and I are pregnant!! (Well she's pregnant I'm just carrying baby weight) In a time with negativity". twitter.
  39. ^ "Russell Peters announces birth of his second child, a 'strong, big ass' son - The Star". thestar.com.
  40. ^ "Russell Peters announces birth of his second child, a 'strong, big ass' son". Thespec.com. 16 April 2019.
  41. ^ "Ex Miss Honduras confirma ruptura con el comediante Russell Peters" (in Spanish). laprensa.hn. June 29, 2020.
  42. ^ "Russell Peters: I Don't Talk About Religion". Ora.tv.
  43. ^ "Russell Peters avoids religion in his comedy act". The Washington Times.
  44. ^ "Russell Peters Celebrates 25 Years in Comedy With Massive Crowds, Big DVD Sales". Variety. July 15, 2015.
  45. ^ Compolongo, Gabrielle. "EXCLUSIVE: Russell Peters Talks Source Code, Working with Jake Gyllenhaal". Movie Fanatic. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  46. ^ "Hip-Hop Evolution". Peabody Awards. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  47. ^ "Canadian documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution wins International Emmy Award". Toronto Star. November 21, 2017.

External links[edit]