Russell Peters presented Honourary Degree from Humber College



I'm pleased to be presenting Russell Peters with an honorary degree this afternoon to say mr. Peters is a phenom is an understatement from from humble beginnings in the South Asian community northwest of Toronto Russell Peters has become one of the biggest attractions in the world he sells out Madison Square Garden and the Air Canada Centre as well as theatres from London to Sydney to Los Angeles to Mumbai he was named by Forbes magazine along with Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock one of the world's top grossing comedians and and this without a TV show or feature film to catapult him to attention he's also performed for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as well soldiers on the USS Eisenhower and he frequently and he frequently hosts Lauren froman's gilda gala which is occurring this Monday I believe in Toronto Russell Peters is the quintessential voice of a new generation of Canadians I'll never forget the first time I saw him years ago at Mark breslin's Yuk Yuk's he was talking about Indian musicals impersonating them talking about his family the challenges of making it in a white world and he made me physically ill with laughter Russell Peters doesn't just tell jokes he observes us all of us with our foibles and shortcomings and he acts up when I'm making an introduction his humor tells us that laughing at ourselves and enjoying ourselves transcends differences the genius of the humor is that it makes us feel better rather than worse about ourselves he is the rightful heir to George Carlin and Richard Pryor and he remains ever humble and true to himself he said recently and I quote if someone offers me a million dollars to do a shuffling bumbling Indian guy they can keep their million bucks the real reward is the look of happiness on people's faces when they hear me talking to their experiences in a way that nobody's done before Russell Peters has been a friend to Humber and has come to speak to our students before he's generously given his time to encourage young comedians to look at the world a little differently and confidently from the from their own unique vantage point and he is and was an inspiration to us we want to create a safe haven in which young people could strive in their art without recrimination and ultimately triumph it is our ardent hope that we shall one day produce our own Russell Peters now that he has shown the way we are thrilled thrilled that he is back here with us today it is our honor to presenting Russell Peters with an honorary degree in Applied Arts Thanks when I first walked in today I saw all these people and I went wow this is the oldest graduating class I've ever seen and then there you guys were who um I'd like to start off by thanking you guys for this my brother once told me well not once he didn't tell me once he told me he'd listen I found out that you guys were giving me a degree and I thought to myself holy that's all I thought I am here's a guy who went to Northfield secondary school in Brampton none of you went there don't act like you did if you did you wouldn't be here today I laughed it was a little too real sir um I'm not a guy who went to college I did go to Sheridan College for I think a month and that was back in 89 when some of you weren't born yet and I got kicked out for DJing instead of going to class but then again I'm a guy who's never really thought I'd be doing any of these things in my life we have guys like Mark Breslin who are here who created the Yuk Yuk's chain in which I started at and without that club I would probably never be standing in front of you today right now so please give a round of applause for my present and Lauren Froman who even told me I could talk to his daughter if I wanted to that's a sign of respect my friend knowing what a pig I was I started doing stand-up in 1989 and I didn't really have a goal in mind I just kind of thought if I could make a living at it that have been fine for me and if you are getting into whatever once enough my water broke I am this this water if you do plan on getting into the entertainment field which I'm thinking some of you may have plans on I want you to uh not get into it with the focus on money or an end game you got to do it because you love doing it and there's a lot of people in this business that are just doing it because they want to make money and that's not what this is for I I look at it as an artist and whether I'd made it or not made it if I didn't make it we wouldn't be standing here today let's be honest I would be just as funny and broke and you guys were like who cares if you're here to get a degree you didn't make it but I do it because I love doing it and that's the reason I'm still doing it 21 years later and whether I got paid or didn't get paid I would still be doing it and that's how you should always approach the entertainment business whether it be writing or performing or on camera or whatever it is you choose to do in this business but always approach it because you love doing it there has to be the passion involved with it and I think once you're true to the art it will uh it'll all ring true for you and it'll work out in the way it's supposed to now that I've not read the script at all that I've written I have no clue where I am in this page time to mock these people again I think it's great that a white kid won the oscar peterson award you know five years ago my my whole career my whole world changed because of the internet in youtube and without the internet i'd still be playing the clubs which I love to play Marc Mississauga in particular was my favorite Club thanks um like Marc present for a little or no reaction I I would still be living in my townhouse in Woodbridge but I'd still be loving my job when my career exploded I thought I was ready for was about to happen and you're never really ready for success you may dream about it day and night and when it happens it's a very different thing it's not something that just happens and you go alright here it is it's really way more than you think it is my friends saw me a different way and I still viewed myself as the same guy and you know I went from completely broke to being a millionaire woe is me I know boohoo poor brown guy but I was still mentally the same person that I was when I was broke and I still am the same guy I was broke for a lot longer than I've had money for and that's the person I know the most and the best it's a tough thing to adapt to but when it comes you should be ready for it if it comes you should be ready for it but there is no preparing for it even though my dad's not here physically to see me today I don't know what that has said it was a horrible segue but I know if you're watching me my mom is here she's sitting there in the front row she's sitting right beside my my grade 11 and 12 teacher at North peel mr. Kohler who was a was a great mentor to me as well you see I took chef training for two years cuz that's what I thought I was gonna do clearly I'm not good at it but he let me be me he let me be me in class and even with sharp knives he let me be me my mom worked at the cafeteria in Kmart in Brampton I don't know if you are from Brampton but if you are you know where Kmart used to be for ten and seven my mom also worked at Cardinal a high school in the cafeteria I come from a strong cafeteria family ask not sorry um wrong speech how many of you plan on being comedians just by applause you're never going to make it but I want you to enjoy doing it that's what I'm trying to say in 1992 I was lucky enough to meet my mentor George Carlin in Toronto he was walking down it was actually walking up Yonge Street and I was walking down it was the night the Blue Jays had clinched the World Series and with the dunk lap that was a long time ago wait we're never going to do that again I got a better chance of the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup listen um but when I saw George Carlin I was just a smartass 22 year old kid and I was with my friends and everybody was partying up and down Yonge Street and I thought I was I thought I was just being funny and I saw this old white guy with a ponytail walking towards me not you Lauren and you've cut that thing off right good thank God he looked ridiculous with it the ballgame front yeah you do you let him know sir you look like a knuckle what I'm trying to say is you should have known better than to give a smartass comedian award what I'm trying to say is I don't think I have any business giving you guys any advice or what to do with you lives when you leave here today I can only tell you that you're gonna have to work hard and stay focused there's no shortcut to success I mean a lot of young stand-ups who ask me how they can make it I don't know how you can make it I didn't know how I didn't think I could make it and I wouldn't have made it if YouTube had never happened if there was no internet and there was no YouTube I'd still be the same guy doing the office in Peterborough on a Saturday night for $120 but I love that gig Marc or excuses in oshawa on a Sunday for 75 bucks didn't love that gig there is no shortcut a comic isn't a comic until he minimally reaches a 10 year mark that's when you start to get your legs and learn who you are at around the 15 mark 15-year mark you should have figured out who you are and who you're what your voice is and at that point start thinking about what your next step is but for the first 15 years it's all about training and staying in that gym that we call comedy clubs and people ask me they're like five six years in they're like hey I want to go to the States and I'm like don't you're not ready for it people told me I think I was maybe 12 years in my career when people were like you should go to you should go to the States and I was like I'm not ready but you're floating and I'm like that's fine but there's a zillion funny guys there you need to have something that makes you you and speak in your voice and make sure the material you write and do can only be said by you anybody can write a joke about camping but if you write a joke about camping that is uniquely your perspective then it's your joke and nobody can do that so what I'm trying to say is I don't know what I'm trying to say I've totally gone off script here but I'm trying to say is I have the luxury of picking and choosing what I do now and I hope that one day you will too congratulations and thank you very much

28 Comments

  1. Russel peters is Russel peters : whether doing a show or receiving an award. He's is exceptionally down to earth.

  2. "I was broke for a lot longer than I've had money for and that's the person I know the most and the best" – Inspirational!

  3. A cheap racist Indian clown whose selling point is mainly at the expense of other cultures and races. How much did he pay for the H.degree?

  4. Perhaps, an interesting way to start a script for a stand-up comedian who is about to receive an honorary degree could be, "is this a joke?"

  5. He is one boring boring shit. I never hold any comedian who uses foul language to make people laugh has simply no class. Have a listen to Trevor Noah a real class act.

  6. There are some sad as people in life who would dislike this video. Wtg Russell Well deserved award

  7. "Top grossing comedian and this without a feature film or talk show to catapult him to attention"

    . Most comedians that don't have that. He didn't need that comment. I smell a bit of competition.

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  9. Met him last week. Humble. Very very humble. Within 4 seconds I forgot he was Russell and I just met a nice person with genuine sincerity.

  10. This is probably the only time I had tears in my eyes watching Russell Peters speak. This was truly moving 💙

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