May 04, 2008

Humor at the FAITA awards

With Charlie Hill as the host, there was a lot of humor at the 16th annual First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) ceremony, naturally.

  • Hill did a bit of his standup routine and got off some good jokes. For instance, he said it was nice to see all the brown faces in the audience so he wouldn't go snowblind. He said one of the themes the show considered was "Russell Means: Bad Dude or Bad Actor?" And he finished with some political hits. For instance, "America's going, 'Gee, are we ready for a black president?' I say why not? We already had a retarded one."

  • Hill later came out wearing a "I Hate the Environment" t-shirt. His rationale was that the Bush administration opposes everything that Indians value. He hoped his t-shirt might spur the administration to take global warming seriously.

  • Hill and actress Kateri Walker produced a video to commemorate the show's actual theme: The Long Walk to Hollywood. In it they took a long walk through Hollywood to look for signs of Indians.

    They found stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Will Rogers, Jay Silverheels, Johnny Cash, and Kay Starr (Iroquois). (They drew a star for Will Sampson.) They posed in front of the studios where movies such as Dances with Wolves were produced. They visited the American Indian National Center for Television and Film, a resource center for Natives in the biz, where they met Arigon Starr in disguise. They stood in a church where Silverheels taught the first Native acting workshop, and the Bob's Big Boy where FAITA's founders first gathered. They met a passerby who just happened to be Navajo, and they passed a street named Cherokee Ave.

    Note:  If they had included Indians or part-Indians such as Wayne Newton, Jonathan Winters, Burt Reynolds, and June Foray, their star search would've been more successful.

  • Drew Hayden Taylor told a joke from his book Me Funny. An Indian woman named all her 10 children Lloyd. When asked how she told them apart, she said she calls them by their last names.

  • Hill and Keith Secola did a live game-show bit titled "Name that Lyric," in which contestants had to name a song to win a prize.

  • Incidentally, Hill shook my hand as he walked by. I think he kind of recognizes me as the guy who works with Victor Rocha at

    For more on the subject, see First Americans in the Arts.

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