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‘I was ecstatic’: Local actor selected for role in Indigenous television show for CTV Comedy Channel

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Cheyenna Sapp from Little Pine First Nation, just west of North Battleford, is set to star in a new Indigenous television show called Acting Good that will air across the country starting next week.

“Everybody's super excited to see it,” the 35-year-old said.

Sapp, a fourth year Indigenous studies student at the University of Saskatchewan, didn’t intend to be an actor. Her journey to the screen began after some memes she created went viral, which led her to standup comedy in 2019.

“I did start taking classes here at the U of S,” she said. “I took the acting classes just to help with my stand up comedy delivery.”

Sapp’s memes were noticed by Indigenous comedian Paul Rabliauskas , the creator of Acting Good.

“I know it sounds silly to base things on Facebook posts, but she was really consistent with her commenting,” he said.

“Then I just submitted her name. I was like, ‘She'd be somebody that we can take a look at.’”

After two auditions, Sapp was given the part of Rose, Rabliauskas' character’s on-again, off-again girlfriend.

“I was ecstatic,” she said.

“She was up against pretty well known actors who have been around for a long time and I think what stood out for her was her sort of comedy,” said Rabliauskas .

“Her comedy roots and how funny and unique that she was, and she definitely didn't let us down.”

Sapp as Rose, her character in the show (Courtesy: CTV Comedy Channel)

The show will premiere on October 17 on CTV Comedy Channel and run for 10 episodes. It borrows from Rabliauskas’ life growing up in an isolated, fly-in community in Manitoba, and the characters that live there.

“I think comedy is such a strong tool to teach Canadians about our culture,” he said.

“I've learned that in standup comedy, it's up to you. You can educate people, not be preachy, and use jokes which people enjoy listening to, and then they're learning at the same time. That's I think that's an incredible thing to possess.”

Even the title of the show is a nod to Indigenous culture.

“Acting good, it's reserve slang kind of,” said Sapp.

“It's a term that means when somebody is trying to act better than everybody else. It's a term to remind people to be humble. If you're out there showboating, then you're acting good.”

Sapp says walking onto a set to work with professional actors was intimidating.

“I was scared because I was working with a lot of talented people,” she said.

“I'm a pretty anxious person, like growing up I had stage fright. I couldn't be on stage for anything. I would freeze up.”

Her standup comedy helped her get comfortable with being in the spotlight, and has also given her an important platform.

“I think that through my comedy and my acting, I really want to help with Indigenous representation, because we didn't get a lot of that growing up,” she said.

“I didn't see a lot of people who looked like me or acted like me on TV, like I saw the stereotypical Hollywood Indian right, but I didn't see modern day Indigenous people. So having an all-Indigenous cast and Indigenous showrunners and creators and writers, it's going to be something really special for Indigenous people.” 

Correction

In a previous edition Paul's last name was spelled incorrectly. It has been updated. 

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