Saturday evening, May 21st, was a little chilly at Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park in Cary. There was a constant drizzle, but nobody’s spirits were dampened. A huge crowd had turned out to be entertained by Outback Concerts’ presentation of Russell Peters’ 2016 Almost Famous World Tour, and nobody was disappointed; everybody kept laughing through the opening acts as well as Peters’ own.
The opening act was Mike Mello, a Cary native who told us it felt good to be performing at home again. Among other revelations, Mello reminded us that the name “Cary” has been said to stand for “Containment Area for Relocated Yankees” and went on to correct that assertion. According to Mello (who is black), Cary is an anagram that refers to Cary’s ethnic balance. Because Cary is overwhelmingly white, the name (he says) originally stood for “Crackers All Round You.” However, due to the large influx of people of Indian origin, Cary now stands for “Curry All Round You.” The audience, which was overwhelmingly ethnic Indian, roared with laughter.
The feature act was Kristeen von Hagen. She regaled us with tales of her recent European tour. Von Hagen, who is of German extraction, told us that while in Germany, she was taught the proper pronunciation of her last name, and she made rather much similar comic hay. Then she went on to tell an interesting story set in Amsterdam that culminated with an encounter with a Rubik’s Cube. Von Hagen also garnered quite a bit of laughter with her between-the-genders humor.
And, of course, the headliner was Russell Peters, an East Indian from Canada. Although his “stock” humor is quite funny, Peters’ strong suit is in his interaction with random audience members in the front few rows. He is a master of comic improvisation!
Singling out an audience member, he asks a question or two and gets enough information to improvise an entertaining discussion. Some of his material depends on playing to (and/or against) stereotypes for various ethnic groups and/or professions. Russell Peters’ style never offends because he begins by good-naturedly playing to and against the stereotypes of his own ethnicity and his own profession. He claims to be “too stupid” for any profession other than this that he chose. He berates himself for not being as stereotypically intelligent as an Indian should be, and proceeds to tell us: “That’s why I do this s***.”
In his interactions, he engaged fellow Indians, an African American, a few Euro-Americans, a few fellow Canadians, an East African, and a Filipino — all with pleasant, good-naturedly entertaining conversations. Then he asked “Where are the Chinese?” And he found a few of them also.
The screen behind Russell Peters (most of the time) shows a larger-than-life view of Peters himself. But now and then his camera technician would capture the audience members with whom Peters was bantering. Clearly, they all enjoyed their moments in the lime light.
We highly recommend an evening of Russell Peters‘ Almost Famous World Tour. If you want to be part of the show, sit in the first few rows.
Russell Peters’ 2016 ALMOST FAMOUS WORLD TOUR (Outback Concerts, May 21 at Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park in Cary, NC).
THE TOUR: http://www.russellpeters.com/Whats-New/2014-NEW-SHOWS!-%281%29.aspx.
PRESENTER: http://www.outbackconcerts.com/, https://www.facebook.com/OBConcerts, and https://twitter.com/OutbackConcerts.
VENUE: http://www.boothamphitheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/BoothAmphitheatre, https://twitter.com/boothamp, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koka_Booth_Amphitheatre.
Russell Peters (Canadian actor/comedian of Indian descent): http://www.russellpeters.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0992289/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/russellpeters (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/therealrussellp (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Peters (Wikipedia).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.