Nonfiction at Night: "We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy"

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Community, Discussion, Literacy

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Program Description


Join us in person or on Zoom to discuss real reads and true stories.

This month's title

"We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy" by Kliph Nesteroff

Book description

Comedian Nesteroff (The Comedians) delivers a veritable who's who of Native American comedy from "the rez" to New York City in this sometimes disturbing yet beautiful history. Starting with the contemporary Ojibwe comic Jonny Roberts—who, like many of his contemporaries, must drive hours to get to an open mic—and jumping back to the racist history of nearly forced Native participation in P.T. Barnum's and Buffalo Bill shows, Nesteroff's narrative returns often to the story of Oneida comic Charlie Hill. Hill's ability to weave Native politics artfully into his work made him a superstar in the '70s after he starred on Letterman, and he later used his success to jump-start the careers of other Native comics. Nesteroff also covers the 1491s—a Native sketch group—and the latest crew of Native comedic stars, among them Adrianne Chalepa, and TV writers Lucas Brown Eyes and Sierra Ornelas, who continue to work to put Indigenous actors on the big screen. This sharp collection addresses the politics, history, and merits of Native comedy in a way that's never been done before.

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