For Russell Peters, five years is so long ago. In those days he was worried about his DVD sales. He was also skeptical of Netflix.
Peters owns the paramount distinction of being the first comic to perform a concert special for Netflix. The grand experiment, “Notorious,” premiered in 2013. The special changed Netflix’s programming trajectory, as the streaming service is now home to an array of comedy specials.
“I was the guy who started that trend, and I didn’t know how it was going to go from there,” says Peters, who headlines Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms on Saturday night. “At the time I was thinking, ‘How am I going to sell DVD if Netflix owns the show?’ Well, cut to now. Where the hell do you buy a DVD? Ask a kid today where he gets a concert DVD.”
Originally from Canada, Peters has been on the road so often, currently on his “The Deported” tour, we forget he lives in Las Vegas.
“Actually, Henderson,” he says. “I”m not cool enough to live in Las Vegas.”
Peters likes playing Vegas and is particularly at home at the Pearl.
“You know, I wish I could play Vegas far more than I do,” he says. “You get a different audience every weekend. Very rarely are there locals in the audience.”
Peters says his adopted hometown is overcoming a “comedy deficit” over recent years.
“It’s great to see it finally coming back,” he says. “How much do you need to see a guy doing jumping jacks in front of a pair of CD players all night, when you can have some real entertainment?
“We have more big names in comedy now than 10 years ago, and comedy is becoming more of a thing, more of a destination, instead of just going to a club and saying, ‘That guy was funny.’ “
Peters will play Microsoft Theater in L.A. on Oct. 20, then the Masonic in San Francisco on Oct. 24 as his concert spree continues through its scheduled finale in London, Ontario, on Nov. 20.
“Hopefully, the ‘Deported’ world tour will end at some point,” Peters says, “and I can come home.”
Davis in glass
Alt-rock band Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis unveiled his memorabilia display at Hard Rock Hotel on Wednesday, hours before his show at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. As the drapes dropped on the all-black stage gear, Davis said, “My uniform!” In an odd blend of music sensibilities, Davis’ display is back-to-back with rap icon Tupac Shakur’s outfit that he wore the night he was killed.
Davis has just released “Black Labyrinth,” his first solo album. Two new songs from the new project, “What it Is” and “Basic Needs,” are planned for the upcoming “Criss Angel Mindfreak” show, as the two have become close over the years. Davis produced the theme song for the “Mindfreak” series on A&E, and actually appeared twice on the show — but the footage was never used.
“It was too crazy to air,” Davis said after the event at Hard Rock. “We did the bullet catch, where I shot him in the mouth and he caught the bullet. We also played Russian roulette, which was scary as (expletive).”
The bullet-catch is a familiar illusion, with several variations. But Davis says the game of Russian roulette was real. “Yeah, we did some crazy (expletive) back then.”
A ‘Fool’s’ paradise
“Fool Us,” Penn & Teller’s contest series challenging magicians to fool them with a trick in front of a live audience, has been renewed by The CW. The network made the announcement Tuesday. After premiering in London in 2011, the show has since been taped at Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio. If for no other reason, watch the show because it is the vehicle that gave us Flamingo Las Vegas headliner Piff the Magic Dragon (Season 1, Episode 4).
The debate continues over whether Piff actually fooled the guys on that show, but their bond and mutual respect remain strong. Penn continues to occasionally perform as Pop the Magic Dragon, the sidekick father of Piff and a master of mirth, juggling and bass playing.
The Dark date
Mondays Dark is holding its fifth anniversary at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Dec. 17. The annual show is a highlight of the holiday season and a major philanthropic event. Founder Mark Shunock is amped about entering 2019, when the show expects to hit $1 million in donations to Las Vegas charities. The whole thing started in December 2012, after the first preview performance of “Rock of Ages” at The Venetian. Shunock played the quirky club manager Lonny in the show, but as he has since proven, he had bigger plans for Las Vegas.
Cool Hang Alert
Expect a double dose of live-music action at Italian American Club this weekend. Bobby Brooks Wilson, son of R&B legend Jackie Wilson, headlines the showroom at 8 p.m. Friday. Vocalist Rene Hale heads up a variety lineup at 8 p.m. Sunday (Jay Ramsey & Jerry Brown, Rita Lim, Jay Joseph and Evan Fonfa are in the mix). Cover is $25; the palpable old-Vegas ambience is free.