Russell Peters: Outsourced

No one but no one does politically incorrect with such charm, boyish innocence and brilliance as Russell Peters. I remember seeing Peters do a stand up set at a Toronto comedy club during his early days and thinking, "this guy should be huge!” There he was, a modest-looking brown man poking fun at racial stereotypes in a way that never actually crossed over to bad taste. It was the type of routine most white comedians would kill to be able to deliver but would never for fear of being labelled racist. But it was poking fun in a way that didn’t mock cultures or belittle them, just pointing out some of the truisms or turning the stereotypes on their heads. It’s the kind of comedy that could only be cultivated in a city like Toronto, where multiculturalism exists in its purest form. Peters draws on his childhood surrounded by myriad cultural experiences (most notably his own upbringing in a first-generation Indian immigrant family), as well as his adult exposure to a vast array of people from other places for his brand of observational comedy. Shot in San Francisco (one of maybe two American cities that would appreciate such observations), his first DVD is a single performance piece. What makes this show work better than it would in a place like Boise, Idaho is the incredible diversity of the crowd. Black, White, Hispanic and every shade of Asian are drawn into the show and none, save one unfortunate Indo-American who needs to brush up on his South Asian history, walk away feeling belittled or humiliated. It’s a testament to Peters’s ability to lovingly poke fun. The DVD offers little in the way of extras, containing only an audio track where Russell and his manager/brother gab about how much his shirts cost and the origins of his signature line, "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad.” Oh, and only Peters would think to do this but the available subtitles are in Mandarin, Cantonese and Hindi only. Funny, funny stuff. (Warner)