'Let me stand up and deliver’

Published on Mar 03, 2007 03:09 PM IST
Stand-up comedian, Russell Peters talks to Tushar Abhichandani in all seriousness about humour.
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None | ByTushar Abhichandani (HT Cafe)

"A comedian is a person who says the things that you think of and are afraid to say,” begins stand-up comic Russell Peters in all seriousness.
A factory of outrageous and surprisingly insightful statements, Peters’ stage act seems a lot more natural once you meet him. He has that typical sideways swagger, wicked grin permanently plastered on his face and that constant jibing.

In person, he is surprisingly huge, like your friendly neighbourhood bouncer.

Having already performed in Bangalore this week, Peters is slated to do four shows in Mumbai (two of which will be over by the time this story is out). Demand was so high that his organisers had to add two shows.

“I was very impressed by the Bangalore audience. I didn’t expect them to get everything, but I was clearly wrong,” says Peters, who finds Indian audiences a lot more liberal than the NRI audience he attracts abroad.

“Most Indians living abroad still carry the values they had when they left the country decades ago. Basically, Indians in India are a lot hipper than the NRIs,” says the Canadianborn jester.

Sensibilities aside, he also thinks South Asians are the best group to make fun of. “We are a fun bunch of people,” says Peters. “Plus I think we love to laugh at ourselves, which makes things a lot easier.” Peters’ brand of humour, which revolves around the quirks of various minorities, is extremely popular. But with more comics following his lead and his clips ending up on the Internet, the novelty seems to be wearing off. So where does he go from there?

“I was one of the first few to start out with this style of humour,” says Peters. “By the time, others get to where I am now, I’ll be ahead of them. But there’s no particular direction I’m heading for, in terms of my style.” And no, he’s not a Bollywood fan. “I can't watch that trash,” he says with exaggerated disgust.

“If I had a choice between watching a Bolly flick and yanking out one of my testicles with pliers, I’d say, Give me those pliers,”. To add to that, his impression of actresses doesn’t seem any better. “I was watching these Bollywood heroines on TV. Does any of them have a personality?” asks the now LA-based comic.

Does anything make him angry? “Nothing usually, apart from others stealing my act. I like to sit back and watch people get excited over little things,” says Peters.

“I love yanking their chain. That’s what I do for a living.”

E-mail author: tushar. abhichandani @hindustantimes.com

(Russell Peters will perform at St Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra (W). Today at 5 and 8 pm)

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