Watch from :58. Lots of stand-up comedians have long “get off my lawn” rants about DJ culture in general, but at least Russell Peters manages to sum up the difference between DJs who are doing something, and those who aren’t. Nothing more high culture/low culture than that. There’s a reason the police tell you to put your hands in the air if they want to make sure you’re not doing anything with your hands. Ahem.

Thank you for this, S7N.

  • Realist

    Watching someone scratch a record is the same as watching someone wank out on a guitar. I don’t care if a DJ is a virtuoso, there’s no way I’m dancing to the tired wicky-wicky-wicky of a slab (unless it’s 1983).

    • Peter Kirn

      This is beyond that… if your hands aren’t actually touching gear, then you aren’t doing anything… so the extreme case here.

    • enparticular

      That’s offensive for lots of Theremin players out there 😀

  • Greg Miernicki

    Give it up for the “PRESS PLAY” DJ’S !!!


    I will argue that what Mr. Peters is describing in his comedy routine is a “performance” or “routine” versus so called DJ’s playing back tunes but not actually doing anything. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. However, Russell Peters is a fan of scratch compositions, scratch artists, and he practices his cuts on the regular so I will give him credit for calling playback DJ’s out. I wonder how he feels about Ableton Live controllerist vs everyone else =P

    • Peter Kirn

      I wouldn’t overthink this. It’s part of what I liked about his take.

      DJs playing something are using their hands.

      If all they’re doing is waving their hands in the air, all they’re doing is waving their hands in the air.

      The guy has a point.

    • emanuel davis

      Most controllerists are also doing something (press buttons, turning knobs, etc). Peters is obviously referring to the guys that cheat and just stand there while one hour-long, pre-beatmatched, harmonically mixed, (and synced to visuals) track plays. Of course you have time to smile and make all the hand motions you want when you don’t have to worry about actually controlling or adjusting the music…no matter what the genre.

  • D.j. Davis

    The secret to making a lot of money playing music: play other people’s music.

  • DJ 2x VLC Media Player

    I’m gonna just suggest that in many situations the dj’s been hired to make sure people have a good time, not to ‘perform’ djing. Think of them as the master of ceremonies. If they’re playing to a crowd of people wanting to be hyped-up then their job is to get people hyped up, nobody at the Deadmaus/Steve Aoki show is there to watch a technical performance. If, OTOH, you’re at the PAN/Modern Love show, you are probably going to want to look a whole lot more intent and studious.

    The hard (and I would say, the only interesting) part of djing is knowing the split between playing to your audience, and getting them to a place where you can show them something new.

  • Non-performing-visuals

    Skrillex, Deadmouse, Sasha, Digweed, etc.

    • Space Captain

      IF you knew what you were talking about it might be more effective.

  • Victor

    Lol! This is ridiculous!!! There’s no such DJ that waves his hands in the air all the time. In regular djing you have a lot of time if you have prepared your tracks and you know them well. So you can wave your hands from time to time, especially on festivals where headlining DJs probably know most of the songs they’re gonna play.
    The claim that Russell makes is bullshit! He actually means that if you’re not a turntablist than you’re not a DJ, because Russell himself is a turntablist. But even turntablists are not always busy doing something on the decks.
    It is obvious to me that he makes this claim because he’s offended by the fact that most people prefer to listen to DJs who are not turntablists.

    You can see in this video, DJ Fricktion saying that if you’re not scratching you’re not djing. I guess Russell shares the same opinion. So, Richie Hawtin is not a DJ???
    I hope that haters are going to stop with the stupid claims!

    • Peter Kirn

      CDM is firmly of the opinion that the only real musicians are scratch turntablists. 😉

    • Space Captain

      You are not a Real™ DJ™ unless you can cut your own reel-to-reel tapes in a bathhouse.

  • PongFu

    How would you like your mp3 skipper?
    Starting from scratch while the key is first shaken then stirred.