Russell Peters: My daughter thinks I am inappropriate
Infusing the chat with a joke a minute and digs at himself, funnyman Russell Peters discusses his latest special, Deported.
Somebody's gonna get hurt', is the first thing that comes to mind before an interaction with Russell Peters. After all, like a true comic, Peters has a knack for telling uncomfortable truths by taking digs at different cultures, accents and more. And in the course of the chat, it's easy to see that he isn't easy on himself either. His self-deprecating humour sets the tone for the interview as he talks about his recently launched special on Amazon Prime, Deported.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
Tell us about your new show.
It is an hour of stand-up from the Deported World Tour. This is the condensed version of the live show, which is about an hour-and-a-half long. In the set, you will hear about my health problems, getting older and fat, then losing weight, and why I lost the weight. I [also touch upon] becoming a father again at 49.
Who called the shots on the parts to be included in the special — the streaming platform or you?
It was collaborative. After we put forward what we wanted [to include], they told us what they wanted. Then we compromised and did what they wanted. It is much like a marriage — you want one thing and your wife wants another, so you compromise and do what your wife wants.
Earlier, you would talk about your parents in your sets. Now, the attention has shifted to your kids. How have they reacted?
I have never let my daughter watch my act. She will turn nine this year and I wouldn't want her to hear me swear. However, last year, her teacher asked her, 'Your dad was away. What was he doing?' My daughter replied, 'My dad travels around the world telling inappropriate jokes.' First of all, I didn't know my daughter knew the word inappropriate, and I am concerned she thinks I am inappropriate.
Are you cautious about the content of your stand-up today, knowing that your kids may watch it some day?
No, I do take them into consideration, but at the end of the day, I am trying to get up there and be funny. So, if they take it personally, I can explain that I am going to be their father regardless.
How do you think the world of stand-up comedy has evolved?
When I started this journey, comedy was a profession, but not for Indians. I was the guy who opened the door and said, here is another thing we can do. There may be a huge influx of young Indian comics, but that doesn't mean they all are going to be good.
How do you make your acts relevant in these times?
I haven't written down my act in about 25 years. I may make a note of it, but I don't want to be tied to the words because something different may pop in my head [during the set] that may be better than what I wrote down. For me, comedy is all about the moment. If you write it down, you lose the moment that you made. That's my process, and it doesn't mean it is wrong for other people to do it any other way.
If your daughter told you tomorrow that she would like to try stand-up comedy, how will you react?
I will tell her, 'Baby, understand that the audience is not going to be as nice as daddy is to you. Daddy laughs at anything you do, but these people don't care about it'.
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