Com­edy is a call­ing. You do it be­cause you have to, not for fame.

India Today - - SIMPLY MUMBAI | BUZZ -

Cana­dian stand-up comic Rus­sell Peters’ con­tri­bu­tion to the world of live com­edy is laud­able, and we’re not just talk­ing about the fact that he taught au­di­ences across the globe that punani means flower and vagina in two dif­fer­ent lan­guages. As­mita Bak­shi spoke to him about what his par­ents felt about his pro­fes­sion and what he thinks about the stand-up scene in Mum­bai .

Q. How did life as a stand-up start for you? A. I started out by do­ing an open mic night at Yuk Yuk's (com­edy club) in Toronto. It was 1989 and I had no real act and the ma­te­rial that I did have sucked. Even­tu­ally, I started get­ting paid gigs around Toronto and in small towns across On­tario. The pay was ter­ri­ble, and some­times I would drive two or three hours for just enough money to cover my gas and maybe I would get a free meal at the club. It wasn't glam­orous, but I loved it. I never ex­pected to be where I am to­day, but it has been 24 years since I started. I meet a lot of young co­me­di­ans who ex­pect to “make it” af­ter do­ing stand-up for just a year. I tell them that it's not a race. There's no short­cut and you can't be do­ing stand-up for the money or the fame. You do it be­cause you have to. It's a call­ing.

Q. What are your thoughts on the up­com­ing tal­ent in In­dia?

A. I think that's great. I know a few of the guys who are suc­cess­ful here, Vir Das and Papa CJ. It will take time for peo­ple to ac­cept stand-up com­edy as a pro­fes­sion though. When I told my par­ents I wanted to do stand-up com­edy, they just looked at me and said, “That's nice son.” I might as well have told them I want to be an as­tro­naut.

Q. What are your ex­pec­ta­tions from this visit?

A. I love com­ing to In­dia. I have a great time when I am here and I am sure my fans will have a great time too.

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