According to those in the know by which we mean Celebrity Net Worth the Canadian comedian Russell Peters is currently worth the jaw-dropping net worth of $55 million. Wondering how he managed to amass such a massive fortune? You’re about to find out….
Peters was born in Toronto, Ontario on September 29, 1970. Even as a youngster, he had a knack of making people laugh, and it was this that inspired him to look at the possibility of turning comedy into a professional career. “I like the sound of laughter,” he’s been quoted as saying. “I was the guy in the group of friends that would always make the friends laugh. And everyone was like, ‘you should do stand up,’ So I gave it a shot, and ta-da! they were right.” His first steps in comedy came in 1989 when he began performing on the comedy circuit in Toronto. 3 years later, he met his icon, George Carin, who suggested that if he wanted to make it big, he’d need to perform wherever and whenever possible. Peters took the advice to heart and has since credited Carlin’s words of wisdom as the main reason for his subsequent success.
The Turning Point
After several years of plodding away on the Toronto comedy scene, Peters’ career went global in 2004 when his performance on the Canadian TV comedy show Comedy Now! went viral. After YouTube turned him into an overnight sensation, his ticket sales went through the roof. His performance at Toronto's Air Canada Centre sold more than 30,000 tickets in two days alone, making him the first comedian to ever sell out the venue. 2 years later, he broke the UK’s comedy sales record when his performance at the O2 Arena in London drew over 16,000 punters. And the success didn’t stop there… in 2010, he gave the biggest ever comedy show performed in Australia, and in 2012, his gig at the Singapore Indoor Stadium sold more tickets than any ever comedy act that had ever performed at the venue, either before or since.
By 2008, Peters’ had firmly established himself as one of the new leading lights of comedy… so much so, in fact, he’d received the honor of being invited to host the 2008 Juno Awards ceremonies (an event at which he also managed to win the Gemini Award for "Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series). The broadcast proved to be one of the most-watched Juno awards ceremonies ever aired, leading Peters to be invited back for a 2nd round in 2009.
By 2006, Peters’ success had grown to the point that he had enough of an audience to justify a comedy album. Titled Outsourced, the uncensored DVD version of the album went on to sell more than 100,000 copies, occupying a position on the National DVD Chart for over 18 months. His follow up albums and DVD’s have proved no less successful, and to date, have included Red, White and Brown (2008), The Green Card Tour: Live from the O2 Arena (2011), Notorious (2013), Almost Famous (2016), and Deported (2020). On each release, Peters has also served as the executive producer.
By 2010, Peters had achieved such success that he’d managed to make the Forbes list of The 10 Top-Earning Comedians for 2010, having managed to net a grand $5 million in 2009. From there, the money just continued to grow; according to dfives.com the comedian made a giant $21 million in 2013 from his Nearly Famous world tour in Australia, while his subsequent sell-out tours of Iraq, Malaysia, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Afghanistan, China, Vietnam, Sweden, Jamaica, and the Middle East haven’t exactly hurt either.
Moving into Movies
No one could ever accuse Peters of a poor worth ethic. In tandem to his career in comedy, he’s built a successful career in film. His debut came in 1994’s Boozecan, and while both the part and the film itself were relatively minor, he’s since enjoyed bigger success in Senior Skip Day (2008), Breakaway (2011), alongside Camilla Belle, Anupam Kher, and Vinay Virmani, National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus (2011), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), The Jungle Book (2016), and Supercon (2018). He’s also made numerous appearances on TV, regularly performing on televised comedy specials as himself while also donning his acting hat for such shows as Lord Have Mercy!, Are We There Yet?, Mr. D, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, Family Guy, and The Indian Detective.
If there’s one thing that pulls in the money, it’s merchandise. Peters hasn’t shied away from slapping his name on t-shirts, mugs, keyrings, or anything else that could pull in a tidy fortune, and the results speak for themselves.
Awards don’t necessarily guarantee fame and riches, but they do tend to make it a lot more likely. Over the course of his career, Peters has won a slew of titles and honors, including a Dave Broadfoot Award at the 2007 Canadian Comedy Awards, a Best Large Venue Stand-Up Award at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards, a Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series at the 2008 Gemini Awards, a Peabody Award at the 2016 Peabody Awards, and a Best Arts Programming at the 2017 International Emmy Awards.
As The Guardian notes, Peters’ comedy style has always relied on the tried and tested route of relatable, unchallenging material. While not everyone’s a fan, few would deny he’s exceptionally talented at what he does. With a humor that’s insightful, intelligent and original, and an ability to appeal to just about anyone without ever pandering to the lowest denominator, he has the kind of broad appeal that almost guarantees success. And that, essentially, is how Peters has made his fortune.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee