Those with an interest in the history of comedy; those interested in the ways that US and Canadian popular culture have excluded groups, specifically Native Americans / Indigenous people.
In a nutshell:
Author Neteroff provides a comprehensive history of Native American comedy interspersed with vignettes about modern-day Native American comedians.
Why I chose it:
andtheItoldyousos reviewed it and it sounded so interesting.
I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. I think it might be one of the few cases where reading it as an audio book might have harmed it – for example, I didn’t realize until maybe 1/4 of the way through that the chapters were set up as sort of an alternating straight time line of the history of comedy and chapters about modern comedians. It felt super disjointed and a bit hard to follow until that clicked.
That said, the information in this book is interesting and pretty much all of it was new to me. The racism and lack of opportunities is not surprising, but I’ve been completely ignorant of the plight of Native American comedians – I’m not really ‘in’ to stand-up comedy, though I am a fan a few comedians (Hannah Gadsby springs to mind). I’m not totally unaware of the challenges that people who are not white men (or white women, to a lesser extent) face when seeking out their careers in places like Saturday Night Live, but I appreciate how the Native American experience is unique in this area.
I do wish this were written by a Native American writer or comedian, as I think they would be able to provide even more cultural context, though Nesteroff clearly has done loads of research.
Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
If it weren’t an audio book I’d donate it.