At the age of 28, Paul Rabliauskas is on the verge of bursting onto the mainstream comedy scene. As one of Winnipeg’s rising stars, Rabliauskas has a talent for comedy and entertaining and, while he juggles a few roles in Winnipeg’s entertainment scene, his passion lies in making people laugh.
Rabliauskas was born on the Poplar River reserve in Northern Manitoba and moved with his family to Winnipeg when he was about 7 years old, "I was a pretty straight edge kid because my mom kept me busy and out of trouble. Plus, I knew I could never out run a cop or jump a fence", jokes Rabliauskas, who laughs at his husky size.
Growing up in the North End, Rabliauskas attended St. John’s High School where he discovered a knack for comedy.
"I was injured playing football in my second year of high school; I had more time on my hands so I joined the theatre class and I instantly found something that I loved and was good at."
When he was 16, Rabliauskas got a gig hosting a show on APTN called Cool Jobs.
"Not too long after theatre class a friend of the family literally dragged me down to audition for a TV show on APTN," he recalls.
He got the part and hosted the show for three-and-a-half years, which involved travelling across the country interviewing people with, well, cool jobs.
"It was a lot of fun and that’s where I found my comedy", explains Rabliauskas.
Rabliauskas went on to train as an editor and assisted with shows that aired on APTN. He currently co-hosts the Laughing Drum Panel on the network, which features Aboriginal comics tackling political issues with a comedic twist. He also hosts the morning show on Streetz 104.
With all he’s been doing in the community, Rabliauskas still finds time for his passion for standup comedy.
Drawing on his unique Ojibway and Lithuanian cultural mix o, Rabliauskas’ comedy is a laugh-out-loud combination of lighthearted humour about growing up on the reserve and relatable Canadian and North American issues.
"My comedy can be very clever, it can be very loud, and it appeals to the young and old. I read crowds before I go up and adjust accordingly, he explains.
Though Rabliauskas was considered "too Aboriginal" when he first started his comedy act, he’s proud of his culture and understands the role his gift.
"We’re taught to realize our gifts, and I carry the gift of storytelling through my comedy.
Alisa Pihulak is a community correspondent for Riverbend.