Growing up in the culturally diverse community of Carson, California, has certainly paid dividends for comedian Ruben Paul. After recording a Christmas special in Canada, Paul was asked by the show's host and producer, Russell Peters, to join him on a series of dates around the globe. It went well. "I got invited back to South Africa to headline on my own," Paul says. "I got so much more confidence, because I found out my humor does translate abroad." At first, he was a little nervous about performing before international crowds. "Do they speak English? Are they going to get me? It's a little intimidating." Turns out what has worked for him here in the U.S. worked just as well overseas. He traces that back to his upbringing. "My act isn't bashing white people or anybody else," he explains. "I talk about race, but from experience, not observation. That makes a huge difference. If I'm telling a joke about hanging out with some white friends, I can tell you their names, their parents' names; they're real people. I'm not doing some generic white guy voice, or some random bit about white people I've never been around." While attending college on a football scholarship, Paul became more interested in acting and performing onstage. "I was good at football, but it wasn't what I wanted to do." It was an acting teacher, as well as his barber, who pushed him in the direction of standup comedy. And even though he was adept at making fun of people at the barbershop, he made a conscious decision not to do that onstage. "If I chose to do that, I'd be really good at it," he insists. However, he takes his craft too seriously to merely poke fun at folks in the crowd. "I want to take the art form of comedy seriously and have an act." 18+; 21+ later shows.
Jan. 16-18, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 18, 9:45 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 19, 9:30 p.m.; Jan. 19-20, 7 p.m., 2013