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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 recently released list of the 50 Best Comics of All Time. In comedian Russell Peters' case, "success" may be a drastic understatement.
Russell 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 UK.
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, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Russell Peters was born and raised in Canada, after his parents had emigrated 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 has also given back to the community that embraced him by creating The Russell Peters North Peel Scholarship, rewarding deserving college students from his old high school with a $20,000.00 scholarship, and a generous donation to his hometown Brampton Civic Hospital, where their Palliative Services Wing was subsequently named after his late father. Peters has performed for the troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, Pearl Harbor, the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier through the USO and on the Canadian vessel HMCS Winnipeg.
Russell Peters resides in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. When not on tour he spends every day with his five-year-old daughter, Crystianna. He is an ardent DJ and hip-hop junkie who often gets offers for celebrity DJ gigs when on-tour and off. Though success seems to be at every turn for Peters, there are many more turns to come.
"In the future, there won't be any more black or white, or brown and white; everyone will just be beige." – Russell Peters