PLOT: A comedy Christmas special featuring Canadian comedian Russell Peters
Most modern Christmas special all seem to be going for the same theme: a return to shows of the past. The main issue with that is those specials from the 70s and 80s weren’t aware of how cheesy they were. The performers and writers weren’t in on the joke that those specials were terrible. So when A Russell Peters Christmas Special advertises as an homage those 30-to-40 year old shows, it comes off a little dry because as a comedian Peters is in on the joke which makes the special lose all its fun.
A Russell Peters Christmas Special does one thing that I had hoped Mariah Carey would do in her special, allow the guests have the spotlight sometimes. On the music side, Michael Buble performs most of the songs and his crooning style is perfect for the occasion, and adds a seriousness between the skits.
Where the special falls short for me is during the sketches. Despite employing some comedic talent — Jon Lovitz, Scott Thompson and Faizon Love — each segment fall flat and barely elicited a chuckle from me. The jokes lean too heavily on race and religious stereotypes, and feels lazy in spots. I don’t know how much that is because it was all improv, or if Peters has a shtick and doesn’t stray to far from it. Either way, it felt too reliant on one type of joke and was weaker than I was expecting.
With A Russell Peters Christmas Special being firmly a variety special, there was no love story per se, but there were some cute family moments between Peters, his daughter, and his mother.
One of the things it did get right was the set decorations. The main stage was beautiful and even the living room set had the right mix and didn’t look too gaudy. Hats off to the production team on this special.
Christmas-ness Score: 0 out of 5
If it wasn’t dull in spots, or lazy, or didn’t feel like an easy way for Peters to promote his book and DVD, A Russell Peters Christmas Special could have been good. The sets were great, his guest were unique, and the performances were perfect, but it felt too much like a poorly planned out attempt at combining his stand-up with a Christmas special, and it failed at being a good representation of either.