JFL: Russell Peters Explains Why He Keeps Coming Back To Montreal


Russell Peters explained on Tuesday why he keeps coming back to Montreal's Just For Laughs festival.

“When you’re a comic and you’re on the road and you’re doing these headline arena shows and stuff like that, it’s great, but you lose your connection with your fellow comics because you’re not surrounded by them anymore,” he told iHeartRadio.ca. “It’s just you. You’re in your own little world. As a comic, it’s not fulfilling to me and I love being around the rest of the comics and getting the camaraderie and having people who are funnier than you breaking your balls rather than just your crew who you’re the boss of.”

Despite being one of the world’s most successful stand-up comics, Peters said he still learns from the ones he sees at JFL.

“Oh yeah, you know, people have different ways of looking at things. People say things that make you laugh and make you look at things this way instead of this way,” he said.

At the podium moments earlier, Peters reflected on his first gig at Just For Laughs in 1996.

“I was excited because I was only seven years into my standup career at that point. I had to fly myself in and I had to put myself up and I don’t believe I got paid,” he said. “Which is why we’re here 27 years later – because I said one day you sons of bitches are going to pay me and we’re going to make this worthwhile.”

JFL is getting its money’s worth from Peters this year. He is set to host The RP4 – four galas over two nights (July 26 and 27) showcasing 32 comedians – “which sounds amazing for you and it sounds like a lot of work for me.”

Peters told iHeartRadio.ca that now more than ever, the world needs to laugh.

“I mean, laughter is literally the only thing that can unify us,” he said, before correcting himself. “There’s music and laughter. Those things can unite people.”

So what's on his playlist? “Not much new stuff,” he admitted. “I’m 53 now. I think my mental iPod is full. My friends put on to things now and then.”

Peters pulled out his phone for a glimpse of his eclectic music library, which includes B.B. King, Black Pumas and Crimeapple.

Just For Laughs runs July 14 to 29 in Montreal. For more information and tickets go to hahaha.com

iHeartRadio parent company Bell Media is a part owner of Just For Laughs and iHeartRadio stations Virgin Radio and CHOM are media partners.