The second episode of Morgan Spurlock’s documentary web series A Day in the Life takes a look at stand-up comedian Russell Peters. In the United States, Peters isn’t too well-known, but in his native Canada, the UK, and Australia, he has set box office records. He has performed all over the world. On this particular day, Peters is headlining the New Majority Tour at the GMU Patriot Center in Fairfax.
The New Majority Tour includes Steve Byrne, Gabriel Iglesias, and “The Queen of Mean” Lisa Lampanelli. Russell Peters’ older brother Clayton, who serves as his manager, explains that the “New Majority” is a diverse group of people of all different races and cultures. Peters is Indian-Canadian. Byrne is an American with Irish and Korean descent. Iglesias is Mexican-American. Lampanelli is a woman doing an act that is mostly identified with male comedians over the years, and might actually step over the line more than her male counterparts.
There is a section of this episode that should be interesting to anyone familiar with YouTube and the question of copyrights. Clayton gets an e-mail from a disgruntled YouTube user who has been posting copyrighted sections of Peters’ act online, asking why those videos are getting reported. The e-mail explains that he’s not making money from them, so what’s the big deal? Clayton explains, “People don’t understand what it costs, they don’t have a concept of what a copyright is. ‘I’m not making money on it, so what’s the problem?'” Then they hide under the guise of “promoting the new DVD.” Clayton responds, “If we want to promote, we’ll promote.”
Spurlock then cuts to a YouTube video entitled, “Russell Peters – Beating Your Kids,” with a time-lapse effect that shows the video has been viewed over 14 million times. The segment has a bunch of copies, too, so it’s actually more than that. Not that piracy is right or anything, but we see in this episode that Russell Peters isn’t exactly hurting. He takes us through his purchases of cars, accompanied by an animation that Spurlock inserts, beginning with a low-end vehicle in 1997, and we see the quality of cars slowly increase, as does the quantity.
The last segment shows Peters doing his act, chopped up between the other performers he introduces. Peters jokes about race and multiculturalism, and the diverse audience in the arena gives him a lot in which to play off. He’s definitely a funny guy. But like soccer’s popularity, you’ll never know exactly why his act hasn’t translated to the US like it has around the world.
Here’s a preview of the episode from Hulu:
This episode plays a lot looser than the first episode with Richard Branson. In fact, so much looser that it’s got a “Mature Audiences Only” warning and can only be viewed by Hulu members. This is also a much better episode. We still don’t get a complete picture, but at least we don’t feel like Peters is being filtered to look as good as possible for a PR team.
Next Wednesday, Spurlock follows around will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.