“Welcome to my Christmas special. Set your PVR for Christmas glee. It’s kinda corny and sentimental. And it’s starring meeeeeee! Russell’s the best gift you’ll get for free.” Sing self-promoting Russell Peters and his chorus to jump start his 2011 Christmas special.
Personally, I have always believed that Russell Peters is one of the most amusing and talented comedians the world has seen. However, watching A Russell Peters Christmasmade me question this judgement.
, via Wikimedia Commons”]Peters was ranked by Forbes as one of the 10 highest-grossing comics in the U.S. in 2009 and 2010. He is a star on YouTube and has sold more than 300,000 copies of his Outsourced and Red, White and Brown DVDs. He has sold out Radio City Music Hall in New York, and broke the U.K. record for the highest number of tickets sold for an individual comedy show – 16,000 at the O2 Arena in 2009.
Peters is indeed unquestionably successful; hence it baffles me that he decided to divert from his regular stand-up routine and instead chose to display snippets of ‘comedy’ displaying Michael Buble singing carols and Pamela Anderson posing as Joseph’s (Peters) Mary in a Bethlehem manger. Furthermore, guests like Ted Lange, Faizon Love, Jon Lovitz and Scott Thompson (especially playing their parts in the manger) did not help enhance the ‘comedy factor’ to Peters’ Christmas special.
Peters’ mother Maureen and infant daughter Crystianna are also a part of this show, making it truly “corny”. The “sentimental” portion was quite nice though. The depiction of Christmas as a festive time of loving and caring emerges only so briefly in Peters’ performance –and is touching even in its brevity. However the bevy of lingerie models, does steal away from this almost instantly.
The show features a mix of stand-up and sketch comedy, stop-motion animation and musical performances. The stand-up bit, as expected, is witty and hilarious (as you would expect a Russell Peters’ evening to consist of). As for the sketch comedy, it is best to say that Peters is transcending his genius zone here. The stop-motion animation seemed to me like a complete waste of time and lacked comedy altogether. As for Buble’s crooning, it was probably one of the few Christmassy aspects to the show.
Essentially, I would not recommend A Russell Peters Christmas to a Peters fan who is looking for his regular wit and charm. It can stand to be a reasonable way to pass time if one has little else to do and is easily satisfied with poorly crafted sketch comedies and overdone jokes. Hopefully, Russell will go back to constructing more entertaining comical illustrations such as Red, White and Brown and The Green Card Tour.