Chasing Down Russell Peters to Malaysia

“Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad” — Are you familiar with that punchline?

Its from Russell Peters –  if you are not already familiar with him, let me tell you this, you are missing on a big funny thing!

You might ask yourself why you didn’t know him, worst is, why you didn’t even heard of the man… Chris Rock calls him the “most famous person nobody ever heard of.” Lisa Lampanelli said, “It’s like he has no real recognition, yet the guy has 10 Bentleys.”

Here is a quick story why I think Russell is such a big thing – I flew over 1.500 km to see his show! Enough said no? And obviously to the 7.999 other audiences at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam on the April 10 and another 8.000 on the April 11 show. I am just talking about Malaysia shows that is, not to mention other countries on Russell “World Almost Famous Tour 2015”, which started last September and taken Russel to Canada, America, New Zealand, South Africa and India. He has also performed in Australia, before making his way to Southeast Asia with Malaysia as his final stop. It is such a shame that Russell didn’t stop by Indonesia, like he did back in 2012 and the year after for his “Notorious World Tour 2013.”

I have been such a huge fan of Russell since one of my friends showed me his video on YouTube back in the days, and you could only imagine how excited I was when I know that he was coming down to Jakarta in 2012 and 2013! IRONICALLY, I couldn’t make it to either show! WTH yes? On the May 2012 show, I couldn’t get any tickets (yes, even from calo in Senayan-whatever!) and on March 2013 show, I was on a business trip to Hong Kong. SHAME. Being obsessed with Russell, I have been YouTube-ing most (if not all) of his shows and tweets. On one sunny afternoon in January, I learned that Russell is making his way back to Asia for his 2015 Tour! And click click, scrolled scrolled, SHIT no Indonesia?? — I quickly glanced through his tour dates for the closest neighbouring country that I don’t mind travelling to….Singapore? Nah. Nothing against Singapore but I think I have traveled to Singapore for at least 7 times since 2014. Malaysia? Now that’s better. I also can catch up with my Malaysian friends whom I met through my UK days. So win win.

But first things first — Getting my ticket to the show, and that was a drama with tickets for the April 10 show sold out in a few days and 90% of the tickets were sold in less than 24 hours. I almost didn’t get the ticket on the online battle! Fiuh I’m glad I managed to snatch one (two, actually) on the last minute.

Russell once said “If you’re politically correct, chances are you’re not coming to one of my shows. I get to go onstage and say things that everybody thinks all the time, but can’t say out loud.” He is correct. Good comedians, first of all, must prove that they can make fun of themselves before they can creditably make fun of anyone else and Russell always make fun of himself (being an Indian by race and Canadian by culture) before others at his show, he is notoriously known for it. That is the first sign that I think he is a good comedian.

Furthermore, I think it needs a hell of a communication skills to be such an engaging comedian as Russell who is known to interact with the audience; the interaction that can take him from bit to bit. “Are there any doctors in here tonight?” Yes? Wow, why do you guys have such shitty seats?” — and it was the doctors who laughed the loudest.

There is no doubt that Russell’s popularity is due first and foremost to his comedic talent. His shows are superbly crafted and his punchlines are beautifully set up every time. His wonderful gift for physical comedy makes him as much fun to watch as he is to listen to, and the facial expressions he uses to animate the characters in his narrative leave the audience breathless with laughter (I actually laughed till I cried). I was laughing so hard to the point where I was seriously worried about my adult braces being misplaced or something.

Now why did Russell, who was named the third highest-paid comedian in the world by Forbes magazine in 2014, did not make his stop in Indonesia this time around? This had to be disappointing for a lot of his fans here, especially considering that at both shows in Indonesia were sold out in the past. There must be a good legit reason for him to skip Indonesia. Being a natural information seekers (not a stalker!) that I am, I googled and googled to find a possible explanation, and this is what I found in one of Russell interviews with WSJ.


“WSJ: Do you ever adapt your shows due to censorship?

Russell: I won’t play in a country if they give me rules. I mean, there are certain things I will respect. For example, if you can’t say anything about religion or the Royal Family [in Thailand] – fair enough, whatever works for you. Those are rules I’m willing to follow. But if they say stuff like you can’t swear or you can’t do this or that – then I’m sorry, I can’t be coming to your country because that’s how I talk.

You’ve got to commit to what you are saying – I don’t say it to hurt people’s feelings or shock people, I say it because that’s what I think is funny or because it is the truth of the story. Sometimes the truth hurts, you know?”

I am not saying that this had to be the only possible explanation for him to skip Indonesia, but it could be. We Indonesians are known for our need to censor everything. Remember how the movie “Gone Girl”, “NOAH”, “Fifty Shades of Grey” didn’t make it into Indonesia?

Lets not touch this issue here. I leave it there.

Overall, the show was as hilarious as I imagine it would be, I laughed non-stop from the get-go. I gotta admit that I have a tendency to laugh too much and too loud to almost everything (I am weird that way, yes), but during Russell show — I think at one point I laugh so hard that a little pee came out of me (TMI, I know!!). Anyway, in this hard-cold agency life, and life in general, you need to find a way to laugh it off. Stop taking things too seriously and just laugh it off!

Thanks Russell Peters!

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