It’s such a relief to be able to throw political correctness out of the window and laugh your head off as Russell Peters makes every kind of racially sensitive, stereotype-ridden joke he can think of.
New York comic Gregg Rogell warmed up the audience before the popular Canadian comedian took to the stage for the main event, and was able to elicit a few appreciative laughs – but the biggest cheer he got came (shame on us) when he said he was finishing up.
Peters was battling a cough on Tuesday night, the first of two sold-out shows at Dubai World Trade Centre as part of his Almost Famous world tour, but that didn’t prevent him from what he does best – slowly but surely picking on members of the audience by nationality (what better place than the UAE to do this?) until they squirm.
Peters loves to play with his food, striking up conversations that seem fairly innocuous but then suddenly nosediving into sheer abuse. The jokes are so bad they make your toes curl (while you’re rolling about clutching your sides).
Like this one:
Peters: (To Arab man in national dress in the front row) What’s your name?
Peters: What? Fathead?
Peters: Why didn’t you say so before? What do you do?
Man: I am a diplomat.
Peters: (With a knowing glance at the audience) A diplomat! Do you wake up in the morning and go, ‘Yes, I will go diplomating today?’
Or this one:
Peters: “This guy is a poster for India, look at his face. You can see him saying [putting on creepy voice and doing the Indian head bobble] ‘Come to India’.”
Man: I am not Indian. I am from Pakistan.
Peters: (Walking away, looking bored) Er, yeah, you’re Indian.
Yes, his jokes are of questionable taste and also the sort that could, if misinterpreted, start a war, but everyone – Pakistanis and Indians included – went wild with appreciation.
That’s because the minute Peters takes to the stage, the venue becomes a magical space where your race, religion and country of origin are all held against you but, somehow, you don’t mind. In fact, you are happy about it.
When it is over, you go home, suitably humiliated, in a state of cathartic bliss.
As one satisfied audience member put it at the end of the night, while wiping her eyes: “Ah, I really needed that.”
• Russell Peters performs again at Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, on Wednesday, January 20. The show is sold out
Source: art & life