Peters' stand-up performances feature observational comedy, using humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He often refers to his own experiences growing up in an Anglo-Indian family, and impersonates the accents of various ethnic groups to poke fun at them. As he told an audience in San Francisco, "I don't make the stereotypes, I just see them." In a 2006 interview with The National, Peters observed that he did not intend to put down or offend different races and cultures, but tried to "raise them up through humour".
Peters is widely known for his punchline, "Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad." It ends a joke he tells about his childhood with a traditional Indian father, who used corporal punishment on his sons. Another punchline he utilizes is "Be a man! Do the right thing!", which relates to a story of a Chinese man trying to get him to pay more for an item at a shop.
When interviewer Larry King asked Peters, "Is there such a thing as too taboo?", Peters replied, "I don't talk about religion because I think people are a little weird about religion, especially nowadays, and I'm more of a science guy than I am a beliefs guy. I'm more into facts than I am into beliefs." In an interview with Al Jazeera, Peters said he "refuses" to talk about religion.
Only a handful of today’s artists can claim their success began with YouTube, and even less, if any, having then been named alongside such luminaries as Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Eddie Murphy in Rolling Stone’s just released list of the 50 Best Comics of All Time. In comedian Russell Peters’ case, “success” may be a drastic understatement.
Russell Peters was born and raised in Canada, where his parents had emigrated to from India in the 1960’s. From a solidly working-class family, Peters learned the value of levity from his father and Russell’s own observations on the family’s struggles with racism and multicultural differences.
Peters started doing stand-up at the age of nineteen at open mics in his native Toronto in 1989. He spent the next fifteen years honing his craft at clubs across Canada and the United Kingdom.
In 2004, Peters gained critical and global recognition for his CTV “Comedy Now!” special which wound up on YouTube. Peters says: “I never put the special on YouTube. I still don’t know how to upload anything on the web to this day.” That upload launched a new level of fame and unforeseen success. It also led to larger and larger shows, not only in arenas in his native Canada, where he became the first comedian to sell-out Toronto’s Air Canada Centre in 2007 (as of today, six times and over 100,000 people), but to arenas in the United States, the UK, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Since that time Peters has released five stand-up specials on Showtime, Comedy Central and Netflix; Outsourced (2006); Red, White and Brown (2008); The Green Card Tour Live from the O2 Arena (2010); Notorious (2013); Almost Famous (2016) and a documentary series Russell Peters Vs The World (2013).
Peters has also appeared in CBS hit show Life in Pieces and has starred in several features; The Clapper (2017), Public Schooled (2017), Supercon (2017), Ripped (2017), The Jungle Book (2016), Source Code (2011), Breakaway (2012), Girl In Progress (2011) as well as having lent his voice to Family Guy, Bojack Horseman, Bob’s Burgers and Ribbit. He has also appeard on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Lopez Tonight, Craig Ferguson, the Queen Latifah Show and Def Comedy Jam.
Peters is currently filming and starring in his first series, The Indian Detective for CTV / Bell Media and Netflix. The Indian Detective also stars William Shatner, Anupam Kher and will begin airing in the fall of 2017.
In June 2017, Peters will begin a tour of clubs across the United States as he builds his new material.