Pussy Riot In Prison: Ron James Sounds Off On Russia's Penal System

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Comedian Ron James takes on the prosecution and imprisonment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot in his New Year's Eve special.
Comedian Ron James takes on the prosecution and imprisonment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot in his New Year's Eve special.

Canadian comedian Ron James' weekly CBC show is back for a new season, which launches with his annual one-hour New Year's Eve special Dec. 31. In this clip of stand-up from the special, James takes on the prosecution and imprisonment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

"The first time I heard the term 'Pussy Riot' used in the media, I thought they were describing another one of Silvio Berlusconi's Italian slumber parties," the comedian cracks.

Three members of Pussy Riot were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August and sentenced to two years in prison. The charges stemmed from a brief protest performance they gave in a cathedral to condmemn Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency.

One of the band members, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was later released on appeal but two others, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, were sentenced to prison colonies.

"Geesh, Russia, if you want to prove to the world you're a modern progressive democracy, you might want to do away with a system of crime and punishment that predates the novel, Crime And Punishment," James says.

The New Year's Eve special, which airs Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. ET on CBC Televison, includes special guests Linda Kash, Patrick McKenna, Raoul Bhaneja and Lauren Ash. The regular season of "The Ron James Show" begins January 7 at 8:30 p.m.

For more on Ron James, go to CBC, visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

With a file from The Associated Press

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