TORONTO — Canadian comedian Russell Peters says he and homegrown rocker Bryan Adams are planning something "different and interesting" for the Juno Awards show, which airs on CTV on April 2.
Earlier this month, Junos organizers announced the duo will host the show from Ottawa, replacing Michael Buble as he continues to care for his three-year-old son, who is fighting cancer.
The Canadian Press spoke with Peters by phone this week as he shot his upcoming series "The Indian Detective" in Cape Town, South Africa. The CraveTV comedy will premiere on CTV as part of the network's fall schedule.
CP: You're hosting the Junos for the third time (after 2008 and 2009). What keeps you coming back?
Peters: This time it was really to help out my buddy Michael Buble, who is a brother to me. I very often go through these patches where I really miss home and this was the perfect timing where I was starting to feel a little Canadian homesick, so what a great way to come home.
CP: We really haven't seen Bryan Adams in this kind of spotlight in many years. In terms of hosting duties, do you have that figured out yet?
Peters: I think I'm going to start steering the car first and then I'm going to pass the wheel over to young Bryan and I think he's going to be just fine. I mean, you can't be in this business for as long as he's been in this business and not know what to do.
CP: I know you've DJed and you still do, occasionally. Have you ever spun his music?
Peters: I, in fact, have. I have some edits of his music that he probably doesn't even know about, remixes and stuff.
CP: What songs of his do you tend to throw on?
Peters: If you're playing a party, you've definitely got to play "Summer of 69," because you want them to dance.
CP: What are your memories of his music over the years, maybe when you were younger?
Peters: This generation now is so lucky that they can love and appreciate Canadian music and talent, but when I was a kid it wasn't the cool thing to do. We were like, "Oh, it's Canadian, it's got to be bad." And then you go back and you listen to all the stuff that you thought was supposed to be bad and you're like, "Damn it, that was all really good, and now I'm a jerk."
So I've become a retroactive fan of a lot of people that I heard when I was a kid. Like Rush, I've become a huge fan of later in life, and Bryan Adams, even stuff like the Payolas and the Spoons and stuff.
CP: It would be nice if you incorporated a bit of Canadian music history in your hosting duties.
Peters: Hey, don't think it's not in my wheelhouse right now. It's being spun as we speak.
CP: Yeah? Do you think you'll be listening to some Canadian tracks ahead of the Junos?
Peters: I'm going to be rocking some Chilliwack in my headphones.
CP: In terms of hosting the Junos, is there anything you can tell us about what you're planning?
Peters: I definitely want to do something with Bryan. That's what we're working out right now. We're trying to figure out a way of making it happen and make sense — otherwise I'm just a comedian and I can't sing or play any instruments, so I'll be dead in the water. But we're working on something different and interesting. I think if it comes together the right way, it could be pretty awesome.
CP: You could spin while he performs.
Peters: Don't you start blowing up my spot, lady. (laughs)
CP: Am I onto something?
Peters: You might be onto something. I don't need you detective-izing.
CP: Writing-wise, what's happening there?
Peters: For awards shows I usually get Kristeen von Hagen, Luciano Casimiri and Jean Paul together to be my think tank because I'm out here shooting the show, so I've got to focus on that. But these guys know me very well and all three of them are extremely funny, so all I've got to do is just direct them a little bit like, "No, go down this way a little bit more."
CP: Are you going to get to come here ahead of time?
Peters: Do you want to know something crazy? I fly in the day before the Junos, from India.
CP: You're going to be jetlagged a little bit.
Peters: I'm going to be a mess, but it'll be fun. Adrenaline will get the better of me.
— This interview has been edited and condensed.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press