The same week as the Rihanna concert, the comedian Russell Peters also performed at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi (October 23) for his Notorious Tour. I saw Russell Peters perform in Portland a few years back, and I was very stoked about seeing him again.
I convinced my friend/coworker/neighbor, Almin, that it would be worth the expense. As an added bonus, he drove. I so rarely get to be driven around that this in itself was a nice treat.
Once we were able to navigate through the chaos of entering the event, we made our way to our seats. Unlike the Rihanna show, this show had reserved seating and chairs. We had perfect seats – well worth the added expense of getting Reserved seats versus General admission.
I went into the show wondering how much the comedian would have to sensor himself to account for being in the UAE. However, once the opening comedian, Jay Chris, started, I realized that we were in for a pretty good show and would not have to worry too much about the comedians watering down their acts.
Russell Peters came onto the stage following American Jay Chris with his opening line of “See, I’m bringing an American to the Middle East without weapons!” I felt like Russell Peters did a great job of playing to audience and knowing how far he could push the line. As is his usual style, he didn’t shy away from making fun of different nationalities – including Emiratis. It would have felt censored if he hadn’t acknowledged the stereotype of Emiratis being wealthy and lazy. He had a lot of jokes about Indians as he did when I saw his show in Portland, but they seemed even funny here considering the huge number of Indians in the audience, or perhaps funnier now that I deal with Indians on an everyday basis and can more fully appreciate the jokes. The audience seemed to be enjoying themselves – of course, any fan of Russell Peters knows that his shows are going to make fun of various nationalities. I don’t think anyone who is easily offended by this would want to attend his shows.
There were a few times when I wondered if the audience could fully understand the joke because of the context; for example, he had a joke that revolved around him speaking to a Mexican employee at Home Depot. He said something along the lines of, “the fact that the Mexican was inside the store working was unusual in itself…..” Of course this is based on Americans’ stereotypes of Mexicans always being the outside laborers. But even with this joke, he seemed to know that the audience might not get the innuendo, which was okay because it wasn’t the focus of the story he was telling. Actually more than me wondering if they could understand the jokes because of the context, I wondered how many people in the audience had the English ability to understand everything being said. It didn’t seem to matter – people were laughing at everything.
If I came across as being hard to please in my last two posts about Global Village and Rihanna, be assured, I was 100% satisfied with my decision to see Russell Peters. It was a great night out! It was excellent to get a break from my usual routine and laugh it up!