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Call Me Russell by Russell Peters

Call Me Russell (edition 2011)

by Russell Peters

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333338,203 (2.65)None
Title:Call Me Russell
Authors:Russell Peters
Info:Anchor Canada (2011), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Once owned

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Call Me Russell by Russell Peters



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I have been a fan of Mr. Peters’ since I first heard his “Somebody gonna get a hurt” routine. Add to that the fact that he is proudly Canadian and my curiosity got the better of me. This book is filled with his trademark humour as well as some of his well-known lines from his stand-up routines. The humour is definitely expected, but the book also tells some heartbreaking stories of what is was like growing up “brown” in a predominantly white neighbourhood, the trials of being first generation Canadian as well as being the kid in school who did not quite fit in. It was interesting to learn about the process of writing comedy and the winding road travelled to become a top stand up comedian.

Mr. Peters is at the top of his career now, so this book cannot be totally described as a memoir, and he seems a bit young to have written an autobiography. There is a second book, so maybe he is writing his life story in instalments. The language of the book is conversational and the pictures from family albums are interesting. Towards the end of the book I found it became a little bit of a name-dropping who’s who, but still very readable.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
interesting story of growing up,to current stardom, family R/ L -role of his brother as his manager. A little crude in language.
  sheilamcdowell | Mar 7, 2011 |
Reason for Reading: I don't usually read current celebrity's (who are in the prime of their careers) memoirs but Russell Peters is a bit different. I think he's the best Canadian stand-up comic out there; and he is 100% Canadian born and bred but if you've never heard of him and notice the book cover there you'll notice he is also Indian. His humour is based on race and I thought his story would be interesting.

Russell Peters memoir didn't disappoint my expectations. Some may be expecting a funny book, but this is not an extension of his act. Besides a couple of chapters beginning with a famous routine, the book is a straightforward narrative of Russell's life experience so far. He has some funny stories to tell here and there, like when he was punk'd by the King of Jordan, but this is not a funny book in the way you might expect from a comic.

The most interesting part of this book is Russell's childhood, which is the source of a lot of his material. His experience as a first generation Canadian to his immigrant Indian parents is as entertaining as I had expected. Russell even explains his particular cultural background of Catholic Anglo-Indian which he frequently refers to specifically and how it differs from other Indian heritages. He is proud of his race yet identifies as "Canadian"; he also identifies himself as Catholic but shows no signs of practicing. He recounts the racism he met growing up in the Canada of the 70's and 80's when the word "Paki" was used frequently as derogatory slang for anyone of brown colour from Indian/Arabian countries. (In fact, the word was so much a part of our culture that I admit to using it myself as a child/teenager, though never directed to a real-life person (as opposed to those on TV) as I lived in a completely white little town, with the only non-whites being the three Saudi Arabian doctors. However, personally I just thought the P- word (which is never used anymore in decent company) was a short form for Pakistani and I would correct anyone if they used it for someone I knew was from a different country, ie. our three doctors. I know, I was naive about those things.) The stories of his Dad who had more of a British accent than the Indian accent he uses in his act and his mom, who was a fair skinned Anglo-Indian who never really dealt with racism. People always thought she was what they were: Italian, Filipino, German, etc. I wish Peters had expanded on this part of his book and perhaps ended the book when he finally got his first big break in the US.

The next part of the book that lists the gigs at clubs and improvs, then theatres and eventually moving up to touring on the road, then making it in the US, touring around the world, making DVDs etc. could be educational I expect for other inspiring Canadian comics. But otherwise was quite boring for me, except for the stories Russell threw in that were funny. As Russell describes his lifestyle as an adult and a stand-up comic he is fairly candid, never going into any details, but still letting us know his lifestyle was the typical male star's life of free women wherever he looked and he shows no shame or remorse for this part of his life though he does say he is engaged now (in fact married as of the writing of this review) and wants to settle down. I sure hope the girlfriend knew about all that before she read it in the book! There is language in the book, mostly dropping the f-bomb as if it were a common adjective and the sh- word, but this should be expected from anyone who knows his act which also contains adult language but not to the point of vulgarity, imho.

All in all, an interesting story of how a Canadian kid of immigrant background and a visible minority made it big using his race as the basis of his humour and making a connection with all races in the end. As he says in the book (to paraphrase) he has lots of people from different ethnicities coming up to him and saying they totally relate to his immigrant father, *their* dad was just like him, they too had an "Indian dad". I can relate to this myself, having immigrant parents in the late 60's, even if they only came from England. It was the mindset of those parents to give their children a better life in Canada (not to Australia: too far away, not to the US: the civil rights violence was going on) and they brought their old-world values with them. I can soooo relate to Peters' famous "Beat Your Kids" routine which includes the "Somebody's Gonna Get Hurt Real Bad". I got quite a few of those "just in case" ones myself and my dad's words of choice were "someone's looking for a knuckle sandwich" or "someone's cruisin' for a bruisin'". He added the humour but I knew enough to smarten up! I'm glad to have read the book, but I wish he had stuck to his pre-famous days, expanded on the stories of his childhood and his parents, saving the rest for when he was old & gray and had more to tell. ( )
  ElizaJane | Dec 10, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385669631, Hardcover)

Up-close, personal, and yes, funny — this is the must-have celebrity memoir of the year.

This candid, first-person memoir chronicles Russell's life from his humble beginnings in suburbia as a scrawny, brown, bullied kid with ADD all the way to his remarkable rise as one of the world's top-earning comics. This is a shockingly honest book filled with poignant memories of his family, his life and his career. Call Me Russell is a deeply inspirational story for aspiring artists of any culture about having hope, working hard and dreaming big.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:51 -0400)

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