Some Saskatchewan comedians are making their national debut on APTN
- By NC Raine | February 24, 2023
What started out as a simple, comedic website ran by a few friends has now become a full comedy show on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
The minds behind the new APTN comedy show, The Feather News (no relation to this paper), are Ryan Moccasin, Muskwa Lerat, Shawn Cuthand, and Danny Knight – all of whom are proudly from Saskatchewan. Their passion project-turned-APTN show is to debut on Feb. 14 on APTN Lumi, and consists of six comedic, sketch-based episodes.
“I feel excited, but relieved at the same time,” said Moccasin, the show’s executive producer. “We’ve spent a long time putting our hearts and souls into making this comedy show. To see this finally come to fruition and sharing it with the world is exciting.”
Although they think it’s funny, they have to wait and see how the public responds to their brand of comedy.
“So we’re a bit nervous too,” said Moccasin.
The show might be grounded in comedy, but it uses laughs as a gateway to explore some serious cultural and social issues. Season one of the series looks at subjects like false claims of Indigenous identity, protests, systemic racism, and social media activism, among others.
“I think it will raise some eyebrows,” said Moccasin. “There are sketches that have some shock-value. But APTN gave us guidance and showed us where some red flags were.”
He references an episode that features a fake interview with “The Pope,” where he’s talking to individuals from First Nations in Saskatchewan. They wrote the sketch even before realizing the real pope would be making a trip to Canada.
“It’s never our intention to deliberately offend or fool people,” said Moccasin. “When we write satire or comedy, we always try to punch up. There’s nothing more democratic than seeing the high and mighty spoofed. But we never punch down.”
Moccasin, Cuthand, and Knight are all stand-up comedians, which is how they met and started The Feather.
The initial idea behind the new show was to provide an Indigenous voice responding to contemporary issues and stories in our society, said Moccasin.
“When you look at Canada through the news, they don’t paint a very happy picture of us,” he said. “So we really want to share the Indigenous experience through comedy, satire, parody, sketches. Humour is very important to us as Indigenous people.”
The Feather News went from comedy blog in 2018, to a site with YouTube shorts and fake articles, to a site with longer and more elaborate comedy sketches. Their goal, whether broadcast over APTN or posting on their blog remains the same: use comedy to heighten the cultural consciousness in Canada, especially with respect to Indigenous people, explains Moccasin.
“I hope we can present a more nuanced angle to issues in Canada, like when it comes to our relationship with the RCMP, or how taxes on reserves work,” said Moccasin. “The comedy can disarm people at first, then they can start talking about the issues after that.”
On Feb. 24, the team behind the new TV show will host a night at The Roxy Theatre in Saskatoon, where they will screen two episodes as well as perform a stand-up set.