January 24, 2010

Indian casino joke on Tonight Show

On the penultimate episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (airdate: 1/21/10), Conan was talking with comedian Robin Williams. The subject was what to do with the sound stage after O'Brien leaves the show. Williams came up with the following:You know what you can open up here is a really nice Indian casino. You can get tribal status. What's your tribe?

What is the name of your tribe? "I'm not a ho."
To be fair, O'Brien had done a bit a few days earlier about how he resembled a "ho" (prostitute) because NBC was screwing him. I think Williams was riffing on that bit.

Still, it wasn't a particularly funny or sensitive joke. And it was incorrect in its presumption that it's easy to get "tribal status" and open a casino anywhere.

I've been giving O'Brien and his staff credit for mentioning Indians, but we can't credit him for Williams's line. It was an odd thing to say, since nobody had mentioned Indians or casinos, the stage doesn't resemble a casino, and Indian casinos aren't in the news. Maybe Williams performed at a casino recently.

For more on the subject, see The 2009 TV Season So Far and The Facts About Indian Gaming.

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