Stand-up comedian Russell Peters will give Mumbaikars some reason to laugh on Saturday that should be an evening of gags and unabashed laughter.
Peters started out doing an open mic night at Yuk Yuk’s (comedy club) in Toronto. “It was 1989, and I had no real act and the material that I did sucked. But I went on-stage that night and got a few giggles from maybe fifteen people in the audience and I was hooked. I kept doing open mic nights, where by the way you don’t get paid for a few years.” He goes on to recall how he eventually started getting paid for gigs around Toronto and in small towns across Ontario, “The pay was terrible, and sometimes, I’d drive two or three hours for enough money to cover my gas and maybe, I’d get a free meal at the club. It wasn’t glamourous, but I loved it.”
His advice to aspiring stand-up artistes is to do it for the passion: “It’s not a race. There’s no shortcut and you can’t be doing stand-up for the money or the fame. You do it because you have to. It’s a calling.”
He has recently announced a partnership with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s production company, Overbrook, to develop a sitcom. Peters is aware of the growing stand-up scene across India: “There are a few guys that are successful here, Vir Das and Papa CJ. They are good guys, and funny too. It’ll take time for people to accept stand-up comedy as a profession and as a viable career. When I told my parents I wanted to do stand-up comedy, they just looked at me and said, “That’s nice, son”. I might as well have told them I was going to be an astronaut,” he laughs.
On October 26
At MMRDA Grounds, Bandra Kurla Complex.
log on to www.nh7.in /www.bookmyshow.com.