Sunday, January 8

Russell Peters

So a friend sent me this link this morning, which if you don't want to click on it yourself is an hour long clip of a Canadian Indian comic called Russell Peters.

Now I've come across this guy before when he did a couple of appearances on the BBC, but I've never really paid him that much attention, thinking that he was yet another sell out Asian comic who uses their genetic makeup and "authentic insight" as currency a la Goodness Gracious Me. This clip and an otherwise boring Sunday morning gave me a chance to change all that. And since he's Asian, I thought that I might as well say something about him.

Two and a half hours of (often duplicated) content later, and I think I've seen enough. I can only really sum Peters up as "a bit of hit and miss" with him unfortunately displaying more of the latter than the former. Being blatant about stereotypes is funny for around 17 minutes after which it's not, and deaf and dwarf jokes just aren't all that amusing. It seems that Peters is riding the "saying things no one else will dare to" wave, but what he doesn't realise is that sometimes people don't not say these things because they're offensive but rather because they're just not funny.

Still, he does have his moments. And my initial presumption about him was wrong too. He should be applauded for not falling into the previously mentioned bucket other Asian comics do (Shazia Mirza anyone?). In fact, it's a shame that his audience appears to be largely made of Asians (and I totally put my hands up here - I probably wouldn't have had an interest otherwise either) since he doesn't use his ethnicity as a gimmick that often; not any more than he does those of others anyway. Ironically it's this talent of being equally observant regarding and offensive to all that makes him equally accessible by them too.

That alone is reason enough he should be kept an eye on; if he continues developing his unique brand of humour and insightfulness* I can see him becoming pretty successful in the future. Until then we'll just have to look past his over-deliberate un-PC jokes in order to get to the good stuff.

* At one point of a show he even berates his audience for laughing at a catchphrase they can't have heard before unless they had downloaded his material beforehand. Lightning wit or what?

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