Russell Dominic Peters (born September 29, 1970 is a Canadian comedian and actor of Indian origin. He began performing in Toronto in 1989 and won a Gemini Award in 2008. Russell Peters was born in Toronto, Ontario to Eric and Maureen Peters, and from the age of four, he was raised in nearby Brampton, Ontario. He has an older brother, Clayton, who currently serves as his manager. His family is of Anglo-Indian ancestry and is Catholic. His late father was born in Bombay, India, and worked as a federal meat inspector; he is regularly mentioned and featured in his comedy work. Peters 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, and eventually began boxing, which enabled him to counteract the bullying. Peters also became a hip hop "junkie" in his youth, and by the 1990s, he was a well-connected DJ in the Toronto scene. Peters began performing in Toronto in 1989. His popularity extends to several countries, as he has since also performed in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Afghanistan, Sweden, South Africa, India, the Caribbean, Philippines, Vietnam, mainland China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Norway, Lebanon, Oman, and Malaysia, among other places. In 1992, Peters met comedian George Carlin, one of his biggest influences, who advised him to get on stage whenever and wherever possible. He 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 his death the following year. Peters attributes a performance he did on the Canadian TV comedy show Comedy Now!, in 2004, which was uploaded onto YouTube and became viral, as the turning point in his career. While the initial video upload featured his performance in its 45 minute entirety, subsequent videos uploaded by other YouTube users were snippets of that performance, chopped into each of the cultural groups he targeted. According to Peters, those snippets made their way to those specified cultural groups, and were well received by them. Russell Peters' stand-up performances are mostly made up of observational comedy where he uses humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He often refers to his own life experiences growing up in an Indian family and impersonates various English accents of different groups in his act to poke fun at each group. As Peters told an audience in San Francisco, "I don't make the stereotypes, I just see them." Peters uses his minority status to allow him to poke fun at different races in his performance, but according to an interview done for The National, he does not intend to put down or offend different races and cultures, but instead tries to raise them up through humour. Peters is widely known for his punchlines, "Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad", in which he tells a joke about his childhood with a traditional Indian father who would use corporal punishment, and "Be a man!", while imitating a Chinese man trying to get him to pay more for an item at a shop.
Russell Dominic Peters