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Vital comedy

By Nickunj Malik - Feb 03,2016 - Last updated at Feb 03,2016

Russell Peters, the acclaimed Canadian comedienne was in town last weekend as a part of his two-day “Almost Famous” tour. The tickets for the show were sold out even before I could call up the booking office. Thankfully, a wrong snowstorm forecast by the weathermen in Amman, bungled up the programming and the Wednesday performance was postponed to Friday. 

Two people were offended by this and cancelled their reservation. Luckily I managed to grab those available seats, which were in B category and towards one corner of the massive auditorium. I could not care less. I was a big fan of this funny guy and even if I had to stand backstage and listen to him I would have done that. Happily!

My sole ambition in life was to become a stand up comic. But back then, when I was younger, my family could not even comprehend what that meant. “You want to be a clown?” my grandmother asked me once. Seeing my dejected expression, she hurriedly corrected herself. “Ok, ok so you want to become a joker. God willing, you will be a great joker one day,” she pacified, while stroking my head with her gnarled hand. 

My parents did not actually discourage me, but they did not encourage me either. Whenever I broached the subject, they quickly changed the topic and distracted me by asking me to complete my schooling first. Which I did and subsequently I went on to do other things but if I had half a chance, I would be on a stage and making people laugh. Exactly like Peters does. 

Born in Canada, of Anglo Indian origin, Peters is hilariously witty. The best thing about him is the potshots that he takes at his own background and community. His father was born in Bombay and regularly features in his scripts. His most popular punch line is, “somebody gonna get a hurt real bad”. It ends a joke he tells about his childhood with a traditional Indian father, who used corporal punishment on his sons. 

Arriving at the Royal Cultural Palace in Hussein Sport City on a freezing evening, I joined the long serpentine queue of people wanting to get inside the hall. I was amazed at the strong fan following Peters had in Jordan where people, I thought, were not too familiar with India or Canada. 

Peters likes to interact with the spectators, especially the ones who sit in the first few rows. When he queried if there were any Indians in the audience, I did not raise my hand, because making fun of the Indian accent was his pet theme. Especially the habit of my country people who, while speaking to strangers, asked them, “What is your good name?” instead of “What is your name?” It left the foreigners curious about whether we all had a bad name to go with a good one. 

The audience was rolling in laughter throughout the show and towards the end I had a stitch in my stomach. As we were driving back, our daughter called from London. 

“Had a good time mom?” she asked. 

“I am in pain,” I answered. 

“Not used to laughing so much?” she figured instantly. 

“No, I mean yes,” I gasped. 

“Your good name madam?” she imitated the mimic. 

“Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad,” I warned in Peters’ voice. 

“Perfect mimicry mum. Go on stage next time,” she instructed. 

 

“Yes, I mean no,” I promised. 

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Comments

The best thing about reading,I keep telling kids is that you get to live other people's experiences. You make it so easy. Despite never having heard of the guy I could relish the fun you enjoyed,including the closure. Someone got to like it real good.

I can imagine all the fun you had at Russell’s show through your very interesting column. I think there is little success where there is little laughter! Great read, Nickunj M.

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