Coming Up: Comedy and Cabarets! - theHumm December 2018

Coming Up: Comedy and Cabarets! - theHumm December 2018

By Kris Riendeau

Closing in on the first anniversary of her inaugural Ottawa Valley Rag Bag Cabaret, Rachelle Elie is planning to end the year with a double-barrelled bang. On December 29 she presents a Lady Rash New Year’s Comedy Bash at the Grand Hotel in Carleton Place, and then on December 31 she will host a New Year’s Rag Bag Cabaret at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte. theHumm caught up with her to find out more about her busy schedule.

theHumm: It’s been about a year since you burst onto the scene with your first New Year’s Rag Bag Cabaret at the Almonte Old Town Hall. Have you been surprised by the reception these events have had in and around your new hometown?

Rachelle Elie: I was definitely surprised to sell out the Town Hall in Almonte a week before New Year’s last year and again for Valentine’s Day. Having produced shows in Toronto for twenty years I know how difficult it is to sell out any show in a big city. I’d assumed it would be the same in small towns, so it was very unexpected. I’d been warned that small towns are often last-minute so I’d prepared to be panicked… it was a treat to sell out a week before! That said, since New Year’s last year I’ve produced Rag Bag Cabarets in Orleans, Carp, Carleton Place and Arnprior and I am seeing that, no matter where you are, never assume that it’ll be a sell-out. Last year we did a show on Canada Day weekend and I realized many people go away in the summer so that’s not an ideal time for a show. I’ve learned a lot doing so many Cabarets in one year, and the big lesson has been that less is more.

Who have been some of your favourite Rag Bag guests over the past year?

I feel so honoured that Mike MacDonald drove out to Almonte from Ottawa to perform at the Rag Bag last Valentine’s Day. No one could have predicted his passing, but I know that when he died everyone who saw him that night realized how special that really was. To have shared the Old Town Hall stage with such a comedy legend was a real honour and I am still so sad that he is gone. I don’t have any other favorites right now because most of the artists in my shows are people I have been working with for years and I chose them to be in the show because I love what they do. That said, I am grateful that many of my colleagues are willing to drive from Toronto to be a part of the show.

Who is on the roster for your upcoming shows?

I am still putting together the line-up. I have asked the Canadian Chorus to come back because they are amazing, and I have booked Michael Freedman — a hilarious comic from Ottawa, who is also a chiropractor. It will be a rock star audience, that is for sure! I am thrilled to be back in Almonte at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum for the New Year’s Rag Bag Cabaret on December 31. And on December 29, I’ll be producing the Lady Rash New Year’s Comedy Bash at the Grand Hotel in Carleton Place, and that will be me stepping away a little from Cabaret and producing more comedy shows.

Looking ahead to next year, what are your performance hopes and dreams? Any thoughts of bringing back Joe, or performing S#!t I’m in Love With You Again in this area?

As much as I adore Joe, I’m committed to focusing on my stand-up career. I’ve promised myself to put my characters aside for a bit. I just found out I am doing the prestigious HUBCAP Comedy Festival in New Brunswick in Feb 2019 so for the next few months I’ll be prepping for that festival. I’m working on a new stand-up show called Lady Rash that I hope to premiere at the fringe this summer, but who knows — I may do a preview in Almonte!

Tickets for the two upcoming shows are available locally or on Eventbrite — visit for more details.


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theHumm in print December 2018 (pdf)

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