DHT: As Native humorists, we aren’t reinventing the wheel. What makes me laugh, will probably make you laugh, and what makes you laugh, will make me laugh. I go home at night and watch the Simpsons and have a good time. Funny is funny. Many people think Native humor is a lot different, but really it isn’t that different.
Humor is exceedingly cross-cultural. Ninety-five percent of the people who come to my plays are non-Native. For my comedies to work, the humor has to be universal. Let me give you an example: you have tandoori chicken, chicken cacciatore, you have McChicken. It’s all chicken, but it’s the spices you use to cook that chicken that give it its cultural uniqueness.
CQL: Please explains what you mean by the “Ladder of Status” and how this applies to what is socially acceptable when one ethnic group tells jokes about another…
DHT: In essence, I break it down into the world of geometry. Humor works from the bottom up; racism works from the top down. We can make jokes about people higher up on the ladder than we are, whereas people higher in the culture, white people, cannot. That’s racism.