You can’t say comedian Russell Peters didn’t warn you. Tucked on the lower left side of his website is his “RP” rating for his shows, which are definitely not for the meek. Filled with sarcastic and racial truths, Russell Peters is not your average comic trying to get laughs for the Hell of it. Instead of typical racial jokes comedians usually tell, Peters likes to examine racial stereotypes and break them down in his comedic routines.
No culture is safe in his shows. But, that’s exactly why he appeals to so many people. Peters likes to use his observations on the subjects of race, class and culture to point out our human shortcomings and find out what’s real about various cultures. “I don’t just make jokes based on typical stereotypes,” he says. “I like to base it off of what’s real about these cultures, as opposed to race. I don’t put people down. Instead, I want to elevate them, but in a funny way.”
Peters has built his reputation within the comedy scene by speaking to people that no one else is really talking to. Most of his comedy speaks to immigrant communities from around the world—especially Indian, Arab, Caribbean, Chinese and other South and Southeast Asian communities that remain invisible to the mainstream media. “I talk about the places I’ve traveled and what I’ve seen, then try to dispel myths about people in my routines,” Peters says.
A possible reason for his approach to comedy could be because Peters is of Indian descent; his parents moved from India to Brampton, Ontario in Canada. “Growing up in Brampton, there were a lot of new immigrants,” Peters says. “There was a mixed bag of people, so I would learn a lot about everybody.”