Published May 18, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Anglo-Indian Canadian comedy superstar Russell Peters doesn't really need more ways to be impressive. The man has sold out shows around the world, and was the first standup comedian to hit the big time because someone he didn't know uploaded his Comedy Now! special to YouTube. And according to Forbes, Peters made $19 million in 2015.
Despite all that, on October 14, 2013, Peters impressed us yet again when Notorious became the first original standup comedy special for Netflix.
Along with Notorious, Peters released a documentary series on Netflix called Russell Peters vs. The World, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at his Notorious World Tour. This was an interesting move, because it recreated DVD extra features that would otherwise be lost in making the move to Netflix.
Notorious was recorded at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia in front of over 14,000 fans. Unlike most of Peters' other specials, which used footage from two live shows, Notorious captures a single performance. While that's also impressive and definitely brave, when Notorious is compared to Peters' earlier specials, you will notice that it's not quite as polished and doesn't quite sustain the bellyaching laughs generated in his previous ones.
If you look at Notorious without comparing it to Peters' other work, then all the things that he does best are still there for your enjoyment: his ability to talk about issues of race without ostracizing a group, his quick improvisation with the audience, his magnetic stage presence, and his talented mimicry of countless accents.
Peters also branches out in this special as he talks about pregnancy, his ex-wife, and his daughter. Watching Peters' material about parenting is a natural fit as it transitions easily to his own childhood experiences, an area from which he excels at mining comedy. Other topics Peters engages with include tattoos, aging and language barriers. Peters closes strong as he imitates his dad and shares the difficulties immigrants have with describing sounds.
While many comedians show us new ways of looking at the world, Peters shows us how to listen to the world as well. Every time he takes the mic, it's obvious that this comedian deserves every bit of fame and success that has come his way.