January 25, 2010

Burial-ground joke on Tonight Show

On the final episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (airdate: 1/22/10), Conan offered a list of things that might happen to his studio when he was gone. The last item on the list was:Studio will be air-lifted to a location with better luck, like on top of a Native-American burial groundImplying that Indian burial grounds are cursed isn't cool, Coco. It's a common but unjustified stereotype.

With O'Brien's seven-month run over, we can sum up his record. By my count he told ten jokes involving Natives, or about nine more than anyone else. In addition, Robin Williams told one joke involving Natives. And Conan discussed scalping and smudging without mentioning their connection to Indians.

O'Brien came across as a typical Hollywood-style liberal: sincerely thinking about Indians, but incredibly naive about them. Some of his jokes were good, some (like this one) were lame. But again, I give him credit for trying.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

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