Things are coming up Russell. Not only has legendary Canadian comedian Russell Peters sold out massive venues, earned a spot on Forbes’ Top 10 earning comedians list and inked himself into Rolling Stones’ Top 50 stand-up comedians of all time, but for the very first time in the guy’s career he’s also headlining his very own TV show.
The Indian Detective premieres Thursday night (9 p.m. ET on CTV and CTV Go) and stars Peters as Toronto Police Constable Doug D’Mello, a screwball and wannabe detective who is suspended from the force after a drug bust goes awry. During his “hiatus” he visits his father in Mumbai, where he stumbles across a case (and a pretty girl), prompting him to put his gumshoes on.
But it wasn’t filming in South Africa and India that struck Peters, nor was it the 14-hour workdays that took place six days a week during production. It was working with another Canadian legend, one who came on board the show as the four-part series’ Big Bad.
“William Shatner was amazing,” Peters tells us. “As a human being on earth, growing up and seeing him your entire life and in as many incarnations as he’s had in his career, and then to be standing across from him? He looks like William Shatner and he sounds like William Shatner and when he talks you immediately stop and listen because you’re like, ‘Amazing, that’s William Shatner right across from me! I can’t believe the Priceline negotiator’s right here.’”
Even though Peters and Shatner are both pretty notable Canadians in their own rights, this was the first time they’d worked together. In fact, Peters was so star-struck by the former Captain Kirk that he forgot they were actually working during their first encounter in front of the cameras.
“When we were shooting our first scene together he was doing the singing and instead of being in the moment of the scene I was watching him like a fan,” Peters recalls. “He stopped talking and I was supposed to have replied and I was just staring at him.”
Like anyone would blame him for that.
Sadly, the scenes between Peters and Shatner are minimal, given that Peters’ character spends most of the series trying to track down the criminal mastermind. But over the four hours there’s plenty of other Peters shtick to look forward to, including his usual fish-out-of-water banter as a Canadian in India and plenty of improvising with the script.
And if four hours sounds like a short show for fans of the comedian, he promises that he’s open to a second season with more episodes should the audience appetite allow. In the meantime he’ll be busy with his next venture: travelling the world once again for yet another comedy tour, which kicks off this February in Australia.
We wonder if Shatner will come see him.
Things are coming up Russell indeed.