Born in Toronto, Canada, and steadily making his way to the top of the heap in the United States, Russell Peters is already a top-grossing comic in much of the world, selling out arenas from London to Sydney. In 2008, he joined the exclusive ranks of comedians who have sold-out Madison Square Garden, and was the first South Asian comic to do so.
Peters’ success—without a network sitcom, hit movie, regular television presence or mainstream media attention—is practically unprecedented. He boasts over 30 million hits on YouTube and a quarter of a million DVDs sold. Peters’ popularity is based on his relationship with audiences that no one else is talking to. His comedy is rooted in the experiences of a second-generation son of South Asian parents in a Western world. His fans come from immigrant communities around the world—Indian, Arab, Caribbean, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, and Latino.
Peters considers himself less a classic joke-telling comic than a humorist in the tradition of George Carlin, using observations on the subjects of race, class, and culture to illuminate human shortcomings with the sizzling accuracy of a well-aimed laser. Interacting with the audience, throwing out one-liners and engaging in impromptu dialogue with fans, he owns the stage and holds the audience in the palm of his hand.
“I don’t put people down,” he says. “I want to elevate them, but in a funny way.” His quick wit and genius at discerning and mimicking the most subtle distinctions in accents turns his performances into love affairs with his appreciative audiences.
During his 20 years as a professional comic, he has amassed credits including a recurring role on a Canadian sitcom; hosting his own BBC chat show Network East Late with guests such as filmmaker Ismail Merchant and Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend it Like Beckham; hosting Comics Without Borders; and appearing in a number of feature films including Quarterlife Crisis and most recently The Love Child of Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. His latest special, Red, White and Brown was broadcast on Showtime, for which he recently produced Russell Peters Presents. His 2006 comedy special Outsourced was broadcast on Comedy Central. Peters has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Chelsea Lately and Def Comedy Jam.
Nominated for five Gemini Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys), Peters has been featured at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival, HBO’s Aspen Comedy Arts Festival, the Edinburgh (Scotland) Festival, Amman Stand-Up Comedy Festival, and Just For Laughs Toronto and Chicago Festivals, as well as TBS’ Las Vegas Comedy Festival. In 2009, he broke the U.K. attendance record for the highest number of tickets sold for a solo comedy show. And Forbes magazine named Peters as one of the top 10 highest grossing comics in the U.S.
Peters will celebrate his 20th anniversary in stand-up by returning to Los Angeles with all-new material and an exciting new stage show.