You could argue that Canadian comic Russell Peters has a long way to go before hell be compared to the all-time greats, but he proved repeatedly during his sold-out performance on Friday night at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre that he has the promise to get there one day.
Peters, 42, played to a boisterous crowd of 6,879 after being introduced as the biggest comic in the world.
Seriously? He certainly has an all-world appeal, and judging by his material on Friday which was advertised as entirely new it wouldnt come as a total shock if that were actually the case.
He wasted no time using those in the front rows as on-the-fly fodder, which proved to be his strong suit during a very solid
Peters, an Ontario native who has lived in Los Angeles since 2005, clearly has a gift for inspired improv. With two women of colour sitting near the front in his sights, he couldnt resist riffing on the Garden Citys overall lack of ethnicity.
Black people in Victoria? Whats happening? I was wondering why the ferry had rims on it.
Seconds later, and with their visage being screened to the huge monitor placed on stage, he noticed the two women were flanking a Caucasian friend.
It looks like a mayonnaise sandwich on whole wheat, he quipped.
Others in the rows up front, which were illuminated to better help Peters identify his victims, were getting roasted in similar fashion. Asian guy, how are ya? Thanks for making the trip over from Richmond.
Peters is not overly blue, but hes blue enough. And though some of his prepared material fell flat (such as a so-so tale about getting a wrist job from a masseuse in Thailand, and a flat routine about trying to find an escalator in a Mumbai Bloomingdales) he was immensely likable.
Peters riffed so fast, and so sharply, at some points it was hard to keep up.
His ex-wife, his family, and people with bad tattoos were hot topics, but some of his best material was a series of jokes about learning simple greetings in Arabic from his bodyguard while on tour in Jordan.
Quite a bit of his set in addition to that of his opening act, Last Comic Standing winner Felipe Esparza involved race relations. Peters has a cache of impeccable accents, from Cantonese to Caucasian to East Indian. And when he zeroed in on matters of an ethnic bent, which he did often, there was no way not to laugh at the results.
He had fans busting up over a bit about learning Spanish from his daughters bilingual toys, and ordering paint from an employee named Juan at the Los Angeles Home Depot. He was working inside Home Depot, Peters said. Thats progress.
Was he a guilty pleasure? Sure. But oftentimes those comics provide the best, most fulfilling laughs.
What: Russell Peters
Where: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
Rating: Four out of five
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