Russell Peters presented Honourary Degree from Humber College

Russell Peters presented Honourary Degree from Humber College


[applause] [presenter] 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… [laughter] From humble beginnings, uh, 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- [laughter] …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. [applause] [laughter] And this without a TV show
or feature film to catapult him tis- to attention. He has also performed for our troops
in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as soldiers
on the USS Eisenhower. And he frequently- [applause] And he frequently, uh, hosts
Lorne Frohman’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,
uh, impersonating them, talking about his family, the challenges of making it
in a white world, and he made me physically ill
with laughter. [laughter] Russell Peters doesn’t just tell jokes,
he observes us, all of us, with our foibles and shortcomings. [laughter] And he acts up
when I’m making an introduction. [laughter] Um, his humour, uh, tells us
that laughing at ourselves and enjoying ourselves
transcends differences. The genius of the humour
is that it makes us feel better rather than worse about ourselves. [laughter] He is the rightful heir
to George Carlin and Richard Pryor, and he… 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.” [laughter] Russell Peters
has been a friend to Humber and has come to speak
to our students before. He has 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 wanted to create a safe haven in which young people
could strive in their art, uh, 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 thril- thrilled
that he is back here with us today. It is our honor
to pre- presenting Russell Peters with an honorary degree
in Applied Arts. [applause] [Russell Peters]
It’s the real thing. [applause] Thanks. When I, uh, first walked in today
I saw all these people and I went, wow, this is the oldest graduating class
I’ve ever seen. [laughter] And then there you guys were,
whew. Um, I’d like to start off
by thanking you guys for this. Um, my brother once told me, well not once, he didn’t tell me once,
he told me… He- listen, I found out that you guys were giving me a degree
and I thought to myself, “Holy shit.” [laughter] That’s all I thought.
I, um… Um, here’s a guy who went to North Peel Secondary School
in Brampton. Um, none of you went there,
don’t act like you did. It you did,
you wouldn’t be here today. [laughter] That laughter
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, uh, 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. Um, 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, uh, guys
like Mark Breslin who are here who created the, uh, 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 Mark Breslin. [applause] And Lorne Frohman
who even told me I could talk to his daughter
if I wanted to, um, that’s a sign of respect my friend,
knowing what a pig I was. I started doing stand up in 1989, and, uh,
I didn’t really have a goal in mind, I just kinda thought
if I could make a living at it that would have been fine for me. And, um, if you are getting
into whatever… Watch out, my water broke. I, um, this, this water. Um… 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 endgame, you gotta do it
because you love doing it. And there’s a lot of people
in this business that are just doing it
because they wanna make money, and that’s not what this is for. I… I look at is as an artist and, uh,
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, um,
I would be just as funny and broke. And you guys would be like,
who cares if you’re here to get a degree,
you didn’t make it. Um… 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, whatever it is you choose
to do in this business, um, 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. [laughter] Time to mock these people again. Um… [laughter] I think it’s great that a white kid
won the Oscar Peterson Award. [laughter] You know, five years ago my,
uh, my whole career, my whole world, changed because of the Internet
and YouTube. And without the Internet,
I’d still be playing the clubs, which I love to play, Mark. Um, Mississauga, in particular,
was my favorite club. Thanks. Um…
[laughter] I’d like to thank Mark Breslin
for little or no reaction. I, uh, 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 what was about to happen, and, uh, 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, uh, you know,
I went from completely broke to being a millionaire –
woe is me. I know, boo hoo,
poor brown guy. [laughter] 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 thought my Dad’s
not here physically to see me today, I don’t know what that has to-
that was a horrible segue, but… [laughter] I know he’s here watching me. My Mom is here,
she’s sitting there in the front row. [applause] She’s sitting right beside my, uh,
my grade eleven and twelve teacher at North Peel, Mr. Cohler,
who was a, who was a great mentor
to me as well. [applause] You see,
I took chef training for two years ’cause that’s what I thought
I was gonna do. Clearly,
I’m not good at it. [laughter] But he let me be me
[clears throat] he let me be me in class and even with sharp knives,
he let me be me. Um…
[clears throat] My mom worked at the cafeteria
in K-Mart in Brampton. I don’t know if you are
from Brampton but if you are,
you know where K-Mart used to be, 410 and 7. My Mom also worked
at Cardinal Leger High School in the cafeteria. I come
from a strong cafeteria family. [laughter] [clears throat]
[laughter] Ask not…
Sorry, um, wrong speech. [laughter] How many of you plan
on being comedians just by applause? [applause] You’re never going to make it. [laughter] 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, um, in Toronto – he was walking down,
he was actually walking up Yonge Street and I was walking down,
it was the night the Blue Jays had, uh, clinched the World Series and, uh, wha- don’t clap
that was a long time ago. We’re never going
to do that again. I’ve got a better chance
of the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup, listen, um. But when I saw George Carlin,
I was just a smart-assed 22 year-old kid and, uh, 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 Lorne, and, um…. You’ve cut the thing off, right?
Good, thank God. You looked ridiculous with it, um. [laughter] The bald guy in front,
“Yeah, you do.” Um…
[laughter] You let ’em know, sir. You look like a knuckle. What I’m trying to say is… [laughter] You should have known better than to give a smart-assed comedian
an award. [laughter] [heightened applause] 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 your lives
when you leave here today. I can only tell you that you’re gonna have to work hard
and stay focused – there’s not short cut to success. I meet 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 how I-
I didn’t think I could make it and I, 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 dollars. But I loved that gig, Mark. [laughter] Or Excuses in Oshawa on a Sunday
for 75 bucks. Didn’t love that gig. [clears throat]
There is no short cut. A comic isn’t a comic until he, minimally,
reaches the ten 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- 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, uh,
they’re like, five, six years in, they’re like, hey,
I wanna go to the States, and I’m like, don’t,
you’re not ready for it. People told me- I think
I was maybe twelve years in my career when people were like, you should,
you should go to the States, and I was like,
“I’m not ready.” They’re like, you’re funny,
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. What 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. [applause]

69 thoughts on “Russell Peters presented Honourary Degree from Humber College

  1. Russell it is a pleasure to listen to you yet again…You are man not only with great sense of observation and presentation but you are an man so genuine n humble..God bless bro !

    Love from India !

  2. LOL I dunno why I clicked this video I'm not gonna go in Humber nor the entertainment field I just came here just because of the title "Russell Peters presented Honourary Degree from Humber College" man this dude is funny! Always be passionate about what you're getting into, not just the entertainment field. Any field, if you're not passionate it about it. It might work for you for a year or two but it won't last long.

  3. Russell ………… Laughter is the best thing the world needs, our world is suffering from lots of crisis. But laughter is the only thing which can unite all the countries, their culture their. And everyone wants to pursue laughter.

    Great going Russell, God Bless you and give you more lives so that you can spread your laughter to world and can release stress and tension going on.

  4. one of the greatest gifts God gave us was laughter. It is totally underappreciated by us but it is the elixir that makes us all carry on. And guess what it costs us nothing!

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

  6. 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.

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  8. "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.

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

  10. 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?"

  11. "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!

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

  13. I noted that in most of the cases Russell Peters merely mocking the poor ordinary people. Only in some cases his comedy and expressions are genuine and worth consideration. He is merely mocking the innocent people.

  14. Laughter a few times is equivalent to few servings of high nutrients or round of yoga workout for our body thanks to its stress squashing power. Now if we can also get comedians to do some share of all the duties& chores associated w living too, it's like milk, honey& heaven for any family who have comedians in their lifes

  15. I just came across this comedian in the last few weeks. He is what we call a Bust Up. Makes you laugh like heck at his insightful comedy. He is genuinely funny.

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