This comes from Karishma Pais of Wazzup Mumbai, the newsletter that keeps me updated about happenings in Bombay (as I prefer to call my city.) Russel Peters was in Bombay on 2nd and 3rd May and I missed it. Damn! For those who came late Russel Peters is the Canadian stand up comedian of Indian origin who will have you rolling in your chair with laughter. Recently I watched a clip of his show that my son had downloaded and I was virtually amazed by this man’s unique Indian wit. He has talent, loads of it. So don’t miss him if he deigns to grace your city.
Here’s what Karishma has to report:
“Laughter was the order of the day on the 2nd and 3rd of May in Mumbai when Canadian stand-up comedian of Indian descent, Russell Peters entertained an
all geared-up audience of downloading bastards (as he lovingly addresses his
fan following). And true to Peters’ style, no one was spared: the white man
laughed at his shortage of melanin, the black man, at his profusion of it
and the brown man, at his mixed up, noncommittal, neither-here-nor-there
position in the color hierarchy (amongst many others). The best part is that
by the end of all his shows stereotypes and classifications of every kind
suddenly seem not such bad things – they make people laugh at themselves, at
their culture, cultural identity or lack of it. And in his defense against
the politically correct baton Peters humouredly says, “I don’t make the
stereotypes, I just see them”.
“Peters’ talent lies not simply in seeing them but in making the audience see
them as he sees them. It’s not ordinarily a pleasing thought to have someone
tell you that Indians are so fixated with currency they’ll haggle even at a
Dollar Shop Clearance Sale. But if Peters tells you they do, its not only
funny and acceptable, it becomes customary. Clearly then, it’s not only his
content but more so the form of his content or rather the drama of Peters
that makes his act and opinions special. This very spirit of Peters has
inspired this month’s contemplation on the theatrical nature of stand-up
comedy and a brief rumination on the brilliant mix of a stage actor, writer
and undisguised, often risqué social commentator many a stand up artist is.”
Makes me wonder (after the success of “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge” of which I am a great fan) if we should recognizee standup comedy as a distinct genre and accord it the respectability that theatre and cinema has. One wonders.