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February 03, 2006 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-03

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February 3, 2006
arts. michigandaily.com

RSeMii gttal






By Punit Mattoo
Daily TV/New Media Editor

Russell Peters's success might just be a copyright
attorney's worst nightmare. Already an established
standup comedian in his native
Canada, his popularity exploded Russell Peters
when an illegally shared copy of
a show - riffing on Indian cul- Friday at 7:30 p.m.
ture - was quickly passed from Tickets
student to student through a net- $42.50
work of file-sharing websites At the Michigan Theater
and programs, making him one
of the Internet's newest stars.
The increased exposure led to his first major
headlining tour in the United States, which includ-
ed a sold-out show at the legendary Apollo Theater
in New York and now, tonight's show at the Michi-
gan Theater.
Peters explained that he didn't expect this burgeon-
ing Asian and Indian fanbase to appear so suddenly.
"I had been doing standup for 16 years, and for it
to happen like that sort of freaked me out," he said. "I
mean, I've been doing the same shit for so long and
all of a sudden, people know me."
Raised in a working-class family in Toronto, Rus-
sell started his career without the expected stereo-
typical objections from his South Asian parents. "If I
weren't doing this, I'd probably be working in a ware-
house," he said. "There were no plans of going to col-
lege or anything. That was never in the cards."
Instead, he's out on the road with a repertoire
of borderline offensive yet still hilarious material
derived from his everyday experiences.
"If people get offended with some of the things I
say, I get pissed off because I'm like 'I didn't create
this,' " Peters said jokingly. "This is actually happen-
ing; you can't get mad at me for telling you what the
fuck is going on out there."
A large part of his routine relies on his Indian
background, and it's this ethnic humor that has gen-
erally brought in Peters's new audience. "In Canada,
I already had a following, so people knew me and I
was right across the border. It wasn't like only Indi-
ans knew me. I was already mainstream before the

Joey Dosik will perform with his quartet tonight at Canterbury House.
Local quartet stays
and plays together

By Derek Barber
Daily Arts Writer

For those who still think of brass play-

ers as the epitome of
the high school band
geek, Music sopho-
more Joey Dosik
has another idea.
According to him,
"The saxophone is a
hip-ass instrument."

Joey Dosik
Friday at 8 p.m.
At Canterbury House

Courtesy of Russell Peters

Comedian Russell Peters will perform tonight at the Michigan Theater.

Indians caught on," Peters said.
Despite new audiences' expectations of Indian
jokes, Peters isn't worried about becoming a niche
comic and abandoning humor regarding other topics.
"I don't ever worry about that. I've been doing it for
way too long to be worrying about that ... At this
stage in my career, I can get up and talk about what-
ever the fuck I want."
Peters is branching out, however, and has a new
show in development with Fox. Though no other
characters have been cast, Peters will be the star. His
additional role as the story editor places him in con-
trol of the standup-based sitcom. Slightly outside the
mold of typical, "Everybody Loves Raymond"-type
comedies, Peters explained that it shouldn't be con-
strued as an "Indian sitcom."
Talking about this rare leading role for an Indian

actor gets Peters a little upset. "Well, the funniest
thing is 'ER.' It's in fucking Chicago and there's only
one Indian doctor. Isn't that crazy?" He saves his big-
gest criticism, though, for Kal Penn who, after play-
ing a non-stereotypical Indian character in "Harold
and Kumar Go to White Castle:' is returning to the
role of Taj, the nerdy international student, in the
sequel "Van Wilder 2."
"If I did 'Harold and Kumar,' there's no fucking way
I would look at 'Van Wilder 2' ... But he wants to buy
a house and get a paycheck. I'm very harsh on that kind
of stuff. I have a huge poster in my room framed of
Malcolm X and it says 'No compromise. No sellout.'
And I refuse, I refuse to not live by those words ... I
don't want to be that guy to look back on my career and
go, 'I can't believe I did that' ... I don't want to feel like
a whore at the end of the day."

Those who hear him play would agree.
Dosik, who hails from Los Angeles,
got his start playing piano before switch-
ing to saxophone in the third grade.
After finding a good teacher and absorb-
ing large quantities of Coltrane, it wasn't
long before Dosik was blowing along
with some of the world's top musicians
- Arthur Blythe, Nels Cline, Henry
Grimes, Ndugu Chancler and Azar Law-
rence, to name a few.
"Initially, it just felt good to blow air
and speak with it," Dosik said. "But
eventually, it began to feel more like an
extension of my body."
After arriving at the University last
year, Joey sought out fellow musicians
to form a quartet, which came to include
Music junior Matt Endahl on the piano and
Music senior Chad Hochberg on drums.
After a year of playing together, local bass
extraordinaire and Music senior Andrew

Kratzat stepped into the picture, providing
the firm foundation they needed. "Andy's
probably too humble to admit it, but he
really gives us our sense of definition as a
group," Dosik said.
That kind of unity and sincere respect
for one another is a trait that distinguish-
es the quartet from other groups. "When
I'm playing with these guys, it's like
being able to jump off a cliff and have no
fear. They're my safety net."
Besides providing a flexible frame-
work, the other members are accom-
plished musicians in their own right.
From fronting avant-garde acts to
displays of individual virtuosity, this
rhythm section is composed of some of
the best talent Ann Arbor has to offer.
"We want to be able to play anything,"
said Dosik, in reference to the group's
diverse repertoire. Whether soulful
selections like Marvin Gaye's "What's
Going On?" or the more atmospheric
world of Radiohead and Bjork, the quar-
tet plans to stay diversified. Still, Dosik
seems to understand the importance of
his earliest influences. "Of course, we
still want to be able to swing 'Ornithol-
ogy' as hard as possible," he said.
Concertgoers can expect an intimate
and powerful concert driven as much by
their mutual camaraderie as their ability
to transcend musical boundaries. Feel
like asking whether or not it's still jazz?
Look no further than what Dosik has to
say about their music: "It's all free."

Rom com
to fall for
By Christina Choi
For the Daily
The most shocking revelation in
"Something New" might be the fact that

Famous comedians shed image
on extended 'Aristocrats' DVD

the story's heroine
has (spoiler warn-
ing!) a weave. We
thus watch her dras-
tic transformation
from a beautiful,
long-haired black
woman to, well, a

Courtesy of Focus dic minds, push blue humor to the
"I got my start with Colorworks in college. Does that make you hot?" limit in Penn Jillette (of Penn &
Teller fame) and Paul Provenza's

At the Showcase
and Quality 16

beautiful, curly-haired black woman.
Puzzlingly, the vapid film delights in pre-
senting such utterly bland surprises.
"Something New" is a halfhearted
attempt by first-time film director Sanaa
Hamri to relate the story of Kenya (Sanaa
Lathan, "Alien Vs. Predator"), a success-
ful-yet-love-starved lawyer tricked into
going on a blind date with a nitty-gritty
white landscaper named Brian (Simon
Baker, "The Ring Two"). Initially turned
off by his race, sparks (or rather wood-
chips) begin to fly when he gets hired to
landscape her new home. After some of
the usual plot contrivances, the two must
decide if they can overcome their differ-
ences or if she is really meant to be with
an "IBM" (ideal black man) - a wealthy.
lawyer who dotes on her in that creepy,

caretaker sort of way.
Ironically promising a "new" take
on relationships, rehashed race issues
constitute the film's convenient epicen-
ter of conflict. Take Kenya's labeling of
her law firm associates as "those white
boys at the plantation." For an interra-
cial couple, this serves as the common-
place argument fodder that jeopardizes
their relationship.
Clunky metaphors also make a fierce
appearance, and seem to battle each
other for depth as barren gardens begin
to bloom and beige walls are painted
pretty colors with the entrance of love
into Kenya's tragically deprived life.
Similarly unoriginal, the other char-
acters consist of a version of the "Sex
and the City" ladies as her support sys-
tem, with a younger brother thrown in
for comic relief (Donald Faison, TV's
The one shining exception to these
cardboard archetypes is Kenya's
exemplary father, a wise and loving

> 1

doctor. He understands her struggles
and displays witty tact up against
her stuffy mother that ultimately
translates into refreshingly genuine
onscreen affection.
Yet despite this one bright spot, the
generally awkward plot is further trou-
bled by a lack of music and some shaky
camera shots. The movie plays out like
an affected documentary when, at the
climax, Kenya is desperately searching
for Brian. As it turns out, no, he is not
dead, missing or lying mutilated in a
ditch, but rather just chilling with his
dog at the local flower shop.
"Something New" strives to preach
the progressive values of colorblindness.
But then, Kenya's brother demonstrates
that driving a Jaguar is all you need to
impress a bevy of brainless beauties.
Truly timeless advice from the for-
ward-thinking film: When it comes to
winning that special Valentine's heart,
all you really need is some solid horse-
power and shiny rims.

"The Aristocrats."
The film's premise is simple.
Take a joke with a solid opening and
punchline that's been around since

the days of vaudeville and let the talent run with it and
infuse it with personality.
While not widely known by the general public until
recently, it has been -a favorite for years among come-
dians who appreciate its improvisational nature and
diversion from modern "bit" comedy.
During a two-year span, Jillette and Provenza ("North-
ern Exposure") compiled about 200 hours of arguably
the dirtiest humor ever recorded.
Doug Stanhope ("The Man Show") and Andy Richter
("Andy Richter Controls the Universe") educate their
infant children about the fine details of being an aris-
tocrat, while Sarah Silverman ("The School of Rock")
reminisces about her past days as a young aristocrat and
Gilbert Gottfried ("Aladdin") brings the New York Fri-
ars Club to their knees during the roast of Hugh Hefner
just after Sept. 11.
Unfortunately, Jillette and Provenza are unwilling to
let the comedians speak uninterrupted. Stars like Saget
have some great material, but it's chopped into sections
with commentary and assorted background information


spliced in between. The editing doesn't allow the audi-
ence to become invested in any particular comic, which
weakens its central arc.
The film's preference for talking heads over any actu-
al insight into the joke or its history also imbues it with
a core superficiality that looms even in its most success-
ful comedic moments.
Though the 89-minute theatrical release might have
left audiences wanting more, the DVD is more satisfy-
ing, including more than two hours of previously unre-
leased footage. The DVD doesn't contain a new cut of
the film, but does have longer takes from many of the
comedians that can be watched individually. But once
again, it appears that bad habits never die as Provenza
and co-editor Emery Emery haphazardly cut portions of
the extended takes, too.
Not all the comedians are heavily edited, but fast-
talking comedians like Lewis Black ("The Daily Show")
and Gottfried have the dead air removed from their takes
to speed them up. This makes the jokes feel scripted,
and removes the improvisational edge that makes "The
Aristocrats" so exhilarating.
The DVD features a commentary from Jillette and
Provenza, an unnecessary highlight reel, a few other
jokes from some of the featured comedians, select con-
test winner's versions of the joke and a Johnny Carson
Despite its deceptively simple premise, "The Aris-
tocrats" is about more than just the constant retelling
of one infamous joke. Through the inclusion of a wide
spectrum of comedic veterans in a variety of locations,
Jillette and Provenza give the audience a unique per-
spective into a private comedic culture we rarely see.
And combined with ample oration about bestiality,
incest and rape, it certainly sets itself apart from stan-
dard Hollywood fare.
Film: ***
Extras: ***

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