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Russell Peters still out-of-touch heading into second Junos

Russell Peters is as out-of-touch as ever heading into his second stint as host of the Juno Awards, which celebrate the best in Canadian music.

Russell Peters is as out-of-touch as ever heading into his second stint as host of the Juno Awards, which celebrate the best in Canadian music.

At Tuesday's televised press conference to announce the Junos nominees, the edgy Brampton, Ont.-born comedian - known for his jokes about ethnic stereotypes - noted that singer Sarah McLachlan, a scheduled performer for the Vancouver show, is married to a "brown guy." Problem is, McLachlan and Ashwin Sood, a drummer, are actually separated now.

"I had no clue," Peters said later in an interview.

"What a way to find out! That's bad timing if I've ever had it."

The Los Angeles-based standup superstar has never been shy about expressing how little he knows about the Juno Awards and the artists who attend it.

"I am very aloof with it," he admitted. "I'm not a planner at all in any respect of my life ... I just do, and I do according to how I feel at the time."

Last year, when his debut stint as a Junos MC was announced, he said he'd never watched the show before as it didn't appeal to him, and he wasn't familiar with many of the nominees.

Yet this year, he was asked to host for the second year in a row.

"I think it had something to do with having the second-highest ratings in Juno history and I think it opened up a completely new audience to them," said Peters of last year's Calgary show that aired on CTV (this year's show will also air on the same network on March 29).

It also didn't hurt that he won a Gemini Award for helming the bash, he added.

Peters' targets in his jokes last year were Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion and Nickelback, who have a leading five nominations going into the 2009 show.

This year, he said he plans to really come out swinging and has some "really cool ideas" that, like last year, won't include the type of show-starting gimmicks used by previous hosts.

He would, however, like to see a little retro rock flair on the stage.

"I'm really pressuring the Juno committee to try and force Loverboy to perform," he joked.

"I said: 'Come on, let them perform, let them close it out, dude, with Turn Me Loose or Everybody's Working for the Weekend,' or some sort of medley of their hits."

Peters is also gearing up for his 20th Anniversary Tour, which will hit four cities in Canada this summer: Halifax, June 9; Toronto, June 12; Vancouver, June 16; and Calgary, June 26. Tickets go on sale next Monday at ticketmaster.ca and ticketatlantic.com for Halifax only.

"The Canadian tour is actually my only really big tour that I'm doing this year," said Peters.

"I feel it's only right that I would celebrate it in Canada, considering this is where I started . . . No matter what happens in other places and if the fans drop off here and there, Canada will always be home and always be my base, so this is a special tour for me."

The funnyman said he's feverishly writing new material for the tour, since his most recent stuff is already out there for sale on the DVD "Russell Peters: Red, White and Brown," released last fall in Canada.

"The minute the DVD comes out, all that material is dead," he said.

"It's kind of like sperm - the minute it hits the air, it's dead. That's a hell of an analogy."

 
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