One of the most popular comedians in the world, Russell Peters is the first comedian to sell-out Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, New York’s Madison Square Garden, Sydney’s Opera House and many other famous venues. The global superstar of stand-up comedy has an exclusive chat with The Daily Star, where he talks about his upcoming comedy special Deported, his career and more.
Five years ago in an interview with the legendary Larry King, you were asked why you have not conquered the US market. Now, you are one of the most popular comedians in the USA as well. Do you see this as one of your successes?
I’ve been living in the USA for 14 years now -- To me, success is not how much money you make or how many people show up at your show. It is defined by how happy you are with your work. I am happy with here I am, so I never really gave a thought about that. I am working for myself rather than working for someone else, and that’s what matters to me the most.
Would you be willing to go to Bangladesh to perform?
I have heard a lot about Bangladesh! My mother was born in Kolkata, and I do know people of Bangladesh and Kolkata have the same language. I am always open to performing anywhere -- you name a place and I will go!
Race and culture are recurring themes in your performances. Dealing with racial and ethnic jokes is indeed very sensitive, as you may unintentionally hurt the sentiment of some of your audiences. How do you deal with that if someone gets offended?
I do deal with people who get offended at my show. If you get upset about something, that says more about you than me. Some people are just waiting to be upset. If you are watching my show and if you look at my eyes and hear the tone of my voice, you know what I am saying to you is for the sole purpose of humour. Ultimately my goal is to unite people by showcasing the differences between them, but and at the same time, making them realise how similar we are as human beings!
You are the first stand-up comedian be featured on a special show on Netflix. Your upcoming show, Deported, is going to be released on Amazon Prime on January 17. What can we expect from this new series?
You should just expect to laugh. I shot it in India in June last year. It is essentially my love letter back to India. For the past thirty years, I made many jokes about being Indian, but I want everyone to know that I did those out of love. That is why I chose to do a special in India, to let all of you know where my heart is.
What do you like to say to your Bangladeshi fans?