Russell Peters still painfully funny

Updated: 2016-02-24 08:11

By Alywin Chew(China Daily)

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Russell Peters still painfully funny

Canadian comedian Russell Peters entertains Shanghai audiences on Saturday during his Almost Famous world tour. [Photo by Fusong Fang/China Daily]

It had barely been 15 minutes into his show and members of the audience were gasping for breath as they wiped their eyes.

Even a camera operator onstage had to momentarily abandon his duties to clear his glasses.

It was as if someone had tossed a canister of tear gas into the Shanghai Center Theater. In reality, the tears were triggered by laughter brought about by Canadian comedian Russell Peters' sense of humor.

A target of his jokes at the venue was a theater staffer, whom Peters singled out for his "less-than-desired" ability to track him with the spotlight.

"You had one job!" joked Peters, after being momentarily left in the dark during his act on Saturday. "I'm a fat Indian man walking on stage. I can't possibly be that hard to follow!"

The Los Angeles-based standup comedian and actor of Indian parentage then unleashed his trademark Chinese accent, as if mimicking what the theater technician might have said in response to his wisecracks, prompting a rapturous cacophony of laughter, whistling and applause in the room.

During the show, Peters was relentless in dishing out irreverent remarks at members of the audience. This element to his act also served to remind people of his credentials as a master of improvisation gifted with the ability to conjure original and witty remarks-all in the blink of an eye.

True to his philosophy of humor, he slipped in some statements on China, such as the country's reputation as the factory of the world.

"I modify and add certain elements to each show to make it relevant to the country (where I perform). I want people to leave feeling that this was their show and not just a show," Peters, 45, tells China Daily.

Titled Almost Famous, the comedian's latest tour is one that makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to his somewhat fragmented popularity around the world.

Although he has yet to be seen as an A-lister in the entertainment world like Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling, Peters is without question a legend in his own realm.

And his popularity is seemingly growing in China as well-many of Peters' comedy clips can be found on the country's video-sharing sites, such as Youku, iQiyi and PPTV, complete with Chinese subtitles.

While the comedian did debut much new material during the Shanghai show, including his jocular re-enactments of daily life as a father to a 5-year-old daughter, he nevertheless left the audience in stitches with his notorious skewering of race and cultural stereotypes.

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