October 1, 2019 6:04:27 pm
A Google search about him reads, “Do Indians hate Russell Peter?” That’s not surprising given the Indo-Canadian funnyman has unabashedly indulged in joking about everything Indian that he has observed over the last 30 years. His commentary on stereotypes has earned him both- staunch admirers and loyal critics.
Peters is in India to crack jokes again. He will be performing in three cities – Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad – as a part of his Deported World Tour at Supermoon, a Zee LIVE IP. He will begin with Pune, the show’s dated on October 1. Days ahead of the tour, the star comedian spoke to indianexpress.com over an email about his relationship with his Indian audience, his three decades in the business of laughs and the need for comedians to be social commentators.
Q. You have a long-standing relationship with your Indian audience. Over these years, how do you think they have evolved when it comes to your comedy?
I love my Indian audience. They’re smart, quick and sophisticated. They actually force me to work harder – which is a good thing. I don’t have to change any of my references or material.
Q. This is your 30th year in comedy. Were you sure since the beginning that you were in this for a long haul? Or were there times you felt you wouldn’t last long?
I had no idea where this was going to go when I first started, but after my first time on-stage, I knew that that was where I needed to be. But this is show business, it can end any time and quick!
Indian moms encourage both very Indian nicknames and very Indian career paths.
India and Kuwait! I’m coming to you this October for the #DeportedWorldTour and I’d love to see you guys there!
— Russell Peters (@therealrussellp) September 28, 2019
Q. For someone, who has built his style on stereotypes, do you feel you ran a risk of becoming a “comedy template/stereotype” yourself?
They say that every artiste eventually becomes either a parody of themselves. I am distinctive, everybody is. You are what you are and you have to embrace that. I like to stay in my lane.
Q. Comedians are some of the biggest social commentators and influencers, for they ease the audience iwith humour to tell them the uncomfortable truths. But do you feel comedians are obligated to make relevant commentary?
Comedians are truth tellers. We live in a time where a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth. They don’t feel ‘safe’ or they feel uncomfortable with the truth. My job is to tell the truth the way I see it. Hopefully it’s funny! (collar pull emoji)
Q. There are many successful Indian-origin comedians today. How do you find their voices? Do you have a favorite?
I know that there are a lot of comedians coming out of India right now. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to really check them out. But, I think it’s great that it’s become a more recognised art-form over here.
Q. In today’s times where the divide between us and them is only growing and people are taking offence on anything that they feel attack their “culture”, how do you deal with this especially because you brazenly joke about it?
I don’t set out to offend. There’s no malice in my act. If you’re offended by something that I say, then that’s your problem. You’re filtering what I’m saying through your own experience – there’s nothing I can do about that. You shouldn’t be at a comedy show.
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