Anishinaabe comedian’s 10-part series premieres on CTV Comedy Channel



Nestled someplace within the huge boreal forest in northern Manitoba is the distant group of Grouse Lake First Nation.

The small, fly-in group lives by its personal guidelines and is house to a tight-knit group of household and pals, not not like many First Nations throughout the nation.

While the First Nation is fictional, the tales featured in CTV Comedy Channel’s new sitcom “Acting Good” will not be. The 10-part series premiering Monday is loosely based mostly on the lifetime of Anishinaabe comic Paul Rabliauskas.

The series was co-created by Rabliauskas, who additionally stars in it, and fellow comedians Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Eric Toth and Pat Thornton.

“Acting Good” follows Rabliauskas’ character as he returns house after a failed try at residing in Winnipeg.

The present is being touted as a primary of its variety in the case of Indigenous storytelling in Canada. The series showcases the quick-witted, sharp and satirical humour present in Indigenous communities as an alternative of being rooted in trauma and drama so usually depicted in tv and flicks.

“To have a present on the market for the Canadian viewers that is pure comedy is so necessary,” Rabliauskas stated in a cellphone interview.

“The previous stereotypes that you just’re used to seeing — none of these are there. It actually is nearly a foolish household that simply occurs to dwell on a reserve, that simply occurs to be Native.”

Much of the situational humour on which “Acting Good” depends comes from Rabliauskas’ personal experiences rising up in Poplar River First Nation, about 400 kilometres north of Winnipeg. The standup comic spent his childhood in the neighborhood earlier than shifting to Winnipeg along with his household for varsity.

Though the comic has greater than a decade of expertise on the standup scene, that is the primary time he has ventured into scripted territory.

“The performing was just a little scary and intimidating,” admitted Rabliauskas.

Transitioning into the brand new function was made simpler with assist from a veteran crew, together with Cree actor Michael Greyeyes, who directed a number of the episodes. Greyeyes is recent off his function as Terry Thomas in Peacock’s sitcom “Rutherford Falls.”

It additionally helped that the character relies on Rabliauskas, however he stated he does not have any plans to go on any auditions now that the primary season has been shot.

The present additionally tapped Anishinaabe director Darlene Naponse, whose newest characteristic “Stellar” premiered at this yr’s Toronto International Film Festival, to direct, in addition to series co-showrunners Daniels and Toth.

The series additionally stars Thornton because the supervisor of the native grocery retailer and the “solely white man on the Rez,” in addition to a lineup of Indigenous actors together with Billy Merasty, Roseanne Supernault, Gabriel Daniels, Avery Claudia Sutherland, Cheyenna Sapp and Tina Keeper.

Keeper’s firm, Kistikan Pictures, produced “Acting Good,” together with Buffalo Gal Pictures.

The Cree actor portrays household matriarch and Rabliauskas’ character’s mother, Agnes.

Keeper received to know Rabliauskas’ real-life mom, Sophia, throughout her time as a Liberal member of Parliament. The elder Rabliauskas has been internationally acknowledged for her work as an environmental activist.

The function did include some new challenges for the veteran actor. Despite years of expertise performing in dramas, together with “North of 60,” Keeper hasn’t had a lot alternative to behave in comedic roles.

Keeper stated structural modifications within the trade have compelled the individuals in positions of energy to create area for numerous and inclusive programming reflective of group realities with out relying on damaging tropes. For years, networks failed to acknowledge the humour in Indigenous communities.

“People had their blinders on. It’s not that it wasn’t there. It simply wasn’t being picked up,” stated Keeper.

“The instances are altering. The systemic, structural modifications are actually necessary.”

Rabliauskas hopes the present appeals to Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences alike. But what would make his effort successful is that Indigenous communities can watch the series and see themselves in it.

“I positively need my individuals to like the present — I hope there’s a variety of satisfaction that they take away from it,” he stated.

Being greenlit for a second season would even be welcomed, he added with fun.


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