BIOGRAPHY | RESUME | DEMOS
When is a comedian not just a comedian? When he’s also an actor.
But seriously, folks, despite his rocket-like success as a stand-up comic, Peter Kelamis has always been something of a dramatist. That is, his humour is based less on jokes than on detailed storytelling, in which this talented impressionist plays the ensemble cast. The dark-haired performer’s background has provided many different characters to draw on.
Born in Sydney, Australia, he was sent to the Greek Islands to live with his grandparents while his family relocated and re-established themselves in Canada. Reunited with his parents in Canada – and learning that his Greek grandparents were in fact not Mom and Dad – the young Kelamis sorted out life’s cast of characters by imitating them. When he ran out of relatives and teachers to imitate, he resorted to slapstick or whatever was handy (“I would kill with the fart jokes,” he insists, sincerely), and he drew on material gleaned from TV. “The breakthrough for me was watching Rich Little do impressions on his variety show. I don’t know why, but that just fascinated me. So pretty soon I was doing his stuff and cracking people up even though I had no idea who the hell Richard Nixon was!”
Career driven since kindergarten he did his first stand-up act in front of his grade 4 class – he solidified his stage ambitions with a plum role in his high school’s version of “Grease”. (“I can’t sing,” he explains, “but the music was really loud.”) In the mid 1980s, he enrolled at the University of British Columbia, taking a mix of psychology and drama classes. But schooling started to slip when he heard about a lunch hour amateur contest sponsored by Punchlines Comedy Club. “I heard you could win five bucks, and I’ve never looked back.” In fact, it was his first paying gig, and the “scrawny, hyper kid” soon developed a following. He made ends meet as a banquet waiter, kept at the stand-up, and excelled at improvisation in the Vancouver Theatresports company.
All this led to his first appearance at Punchlines Comedy Club located in the Gas-town district. “The experience at UBC paid off. Peter hit the stage with about 15 minutes of material already in my back pocket.” He had his first headlining spot within a year (extremely fast by even stand-up standards) and eventually he opened for such comics as Howie Mandel and Dennis Miller. “I got my first agent, got a few small parts, and was dropped like a sack of hammers.” The harsh reality of show biz realized. Bruised but not beaten, Kelamis rebounded to experience the highlight of his career to-date: Improvising on stage one-on-one with Robin Williams. “Robin came up to me after the show and said, ‘You’re really, really funny.’ I mean, I didn’t go to him, he came to me!” In fact, there was a casting agent in the house at that gig, and he’s barely stopped working since. He got a new agent and after a few commercials, Kelamis began landing straight roles in films and on TV.
He is nominated, for a second time, as “Stand-Up Comic Of The Year” at the 2007 Canadian Comedy Awards and was nominated for two “2006 Canadian Comedy Awards” in the Categories of “Writing TV or Special” and “Taped Live Performance”. Along with his own Comedy Now special on CTV, and a raft of on-going voice-over jobs, he has appeared in more than thirty films, series, specials, and movies-of-the-week, most of them in the past few years. He was seen opposite Angelina Jolie in “Life Or Something Like It” and the film “LaLa Wood” with Martin Short. His one man play, “SCARFARCE”, a one-man Scarface parody just came off a SOLD OUT run in Vancouver and was Nominated as “One Man Play of The Year” at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards and performed at the “MONTREAL-JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL” as a Gala Performer. Peter is excited to have appeared in the film, “50/50”, opposite Seth Rogen which was Nominated as “Best Picture-Comedy” at the 2012 SAG Awards. Peter just completed a Lead Role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger Action-Comedy “Why We’re Killing Gunther”, Directed by Taran Killam from Saturday Night Live. He will also be seen in the Feature Film, “A Dog’s Purpose” being released in January 2017. His voice can currently be heard in the new Netflix Animated Series, “Beat Bugs”. And finally, watch for Peter in the Lead Role of “Yellow Jacket” in the new ABC Freeform Series. See Peter’s IMDb profile here.