Peters began performing in Toronto in 1989. His popularity extends to several countries, as he has since also performed in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Afghanistan, Sweden, South Africa, India, the Caribbean, Philippines, Vietnam, mainland China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Norway, Lebanon, Oman, and Malaysia, among other places. Peters attributes a performance he did on the Canadian TV comedy show Comedy Now! in 2004, which was uploaded onto YouTube and became viral, as the turning point in his career. While the initial video upload featured his performance in its 45 minute entirety, subsequent videos uploaded by other YouTube users were snippets of that performance, chopped into each of the cultural groups he targeted. According to Peters, those snippets made their way to those specified cultural groups, and were well received by them. In Canada, Peters became the first comedian to sell out Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, with more than 16,000 tickets in two days for the single show. He ended up selling over 30,000 tickets nationally over the two-day sales period.
His show in Sydney, Australia on 15 May 2010 had an audience of 13,880, making it the largest stand-up comedy show in Australian history. He broke a UK comedy sales record at London’s O2 Arena when he sold over 16,000 tickets to his show on 2009. He hosted the Canada Day Comedy Festival 2006. Peters participated in a USO tour of Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Africa and Greenland in November 2007 with Wilmer Valderrama and Mayra Veronica. Peters also currently produces and stars on the radio situation comedy series, Monsoon House, on CBC Radio One. Peters was the host of the 2008 Juno Awards televised ceremonies in Calgary on April 6, 2008, for which he won a Gemini Award for “Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series”. The 2008 awards broadcast received the second-highest ratings ever for the program. He was asked to host the Juno Awards for a second year in a row.
The 2009 Juno Awards took place in Vancouver on March 29, 2009. Russell Peters’ stand-up performances are mostly made up of observational comedy where he uses humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He often refers to his own life experiences growing up in an Indian family and impersonates various English accents of different groups in his act to poke fun at each group. Peters has appeared in many films, including the 2011 Punjabi-Canadian movie Breakaway, alongside Camilla Belle, Anupam Kher, and Vinay Virmani.
He also appeared in Senior Skip Day starring Larry Miller, Tara Reid, and Gary Lundy. Besides this, he also made short appearances in the 1994 film Boozecan as Snake’s Friend, the 2000 film Tiger Claws III as Detective Elliott, the 2004 film My Baby’s Daddy as the obstetrician, the 2006 film Quarter Life Crisis as Dilip Kumar, and the 2008 film The Take as Dr. Sharma, among others. Peters starred in a Christmas special, A Russell Peters Christmas, which aired in Canada on 1 December 2011. Guests included Michael Bublé, Pamela Anderson, and Jon Lovitz among others. He also acted in Duncan Jones’s movie Source Code as Max, an amateur comedian with a bad attitude, and starred as Pervius in National Lampoon’s The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Peters also guest starred in Mr. D as the school super intendant.
“A natural performer” – The Guardian