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Russell Peters was in Bangalore on Saturday (18th October) and performed at the Chowdiah Hall. For those who don’t know, he is a Canadian comedian of Indian Origin, currently living in L.A. He traces back his roots to Calcutta and Bombay. I remember watching his comedy show on the internet and laughing uncontrollably. His Indian accent is great but his take on the Chinese is superb. His ‘Be a Man, do the Riiight thing’ joke still resounds in my ear. So I heard that he would do a show in the city, I just had to be there!
I was on time at Chowdiah Hall. There was security check and warning against recording the act. As the clock struck six, people were still entering the hall. The 6pm performance started 30 minutes late, which is typical at Chowdiah; I miss the professionalism of Rangashankara here. The show opened with Rusty Dooley, the US comedian doing a class act. His humour was infectious and the crowd warmed up to him pretty soon. And then Russell came onto the stage – amidst a standing ovation. He started in his inimitable style and was soon picking on the audience and ripping them apart; whether it was a 12 year-old or a middle-aged uncle or the guy from YOUKAY (U.K.) or the Scot. I loved his dig on our Raj hangover, on men here holding hands, his digs on Bush and was laughing with tears in my eyes at the Chinese-soccer-huddle joke. Of course the families were confused and perplexed at Russell’s explicit humour and did not know if they had done the right thing in bringing their kids to the show!
The end was a bit damp though, like the rains that pour only in the evening. I guess an Indian audience was new to him and he ran short of topics which would crack them up. He seemed to enjoy our accent rather than think of ideas to make us laugh. He did his classic joke of his dad beating him up – ‘somebody gonna hurt rrreal baaadd’ act. Guess his shows will get better as he tours Mumbai & Calcutta. He should use more local topics – like the traffic, our myriad languages, politics (US Politics is fine – we love Bush & Sarah Palin here too), Bollywood and of course his superb Chinese jokes.
Anyway, I loved the show & would like to see more such shows happening in our city. Next time, I hope Chowdiah Hall turns more professional, opens at the right time and closes doors on people who show up an hour late! And Russell, I loved the way you ripped the group who came in so late. Come more often and perform more shows here man.