140 CHARACTERS features brief interviews showcasing the best of our Indigenous communities and what they’re working on. Today we’re talking to Paul Rabliauskas, an Anishinaabe standup comedy star in the North End of Winnipeg.
What got you into comedy?
Just being a funny kid who grew up with a funny family. We teased each other day-in and day-out. Also, having a love for all things comedy at a young age: movies, TV, music.
Who are you inspired by?
My mother and father, who happen to be the most kindhearted, honest people I’ve ever met.
What’s the best way to walk away from a performance that you bombed?
Walk away without anger or excuses. The first few times I bombed, I’d get upset and blame the audience. Everybody bombs. Try and limit that experience and just keep writing. Not every crowd you meet is going to relate to your experiences.
Where was your favorite performance?
There’s been a few. I’ve been very lucky. Getting invited by Tatanka Means to perform at the Shooting Star Casino in Minnesota was a thrill. The “Size Matters” show at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival was probably the best set I’ve done, the response was amazing.
What is the best way to find out if your jokes are funny?
Try it on a friend. Better yet, try it on a non-friend. But the absolute best way is to try it on stage at an open mic, that’s what it’s for.
What advice do you have for upcoming comics?
Write; go to open mics; surround yourself with other comics, or people that get comedy; and be patient. It’s super rare for comics to blow up in their first ten years.
What are your goals?
I just want to be happy. Being able to travel with friends and perform comedy, and get paid for it, is the ultimate goal.
What is your favourite thing to do when not performing?
Honestly, nothing really. There are so many open mics and shows in the city. When I’m not performing, I’m just watching old TV shows and listening to music, basically just waiting for the next show to start.
Who is your favourite comedian?
It’s a tie between Patrice O’Neal and Charlie Hill. Both of them have passed on but I’ve learned so much from watching these two legends.
Name an Indigenous comedian to watch out for.
Chad Anderson — I watched this young man develop into a fierce young comic who has amazing potential. Florence Spence — amazing Cree comic who’s breaking down so many barriers for young native women. And Tatanka Means — I just think he’s the best indigenous comic out there and will do things in the mainstream that our people haven’t seen yet.