will tape his live stand-up Friday night in Dakota Magic Casino.
JR Redwater is so confident in what an upcoming comedy special on
cable television will do for his career, hes taping his stand-up
show Friday night in Dakota Magic Casino so hell be ready
to take his career to the next level.
and six other American Indian comedians will be featured in Goin
Native: The American Indian Comedy Slam, set to premiere Dec.
31 on Showtime, a show that Redwater believes will raise his profile
at 8 p.m. Friday, when Redwater performs live in Dakota Magic Casino
near Hankinson, N.D., his solo act will be filmed as Full-Blooded
Hilarious, ready to market to television after the Showtime
all about being proactive and striking while the iron is hot,
is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation
straddles the border of southwestern North Dakota and South Dakota.
He spent part of his youth in Grand Forks, attending Winship and
Lake Agassiz elementary schools while his parents attended UND.
Even then, he remembers, some of his friends told him he should
be a comedian.
humor has always been in place, ever since I can remember,
Redwater said. I was known as the family clown. When I would
show up in school, I would know my life and my household wasnt
perfect, so even in school, I would make people laugh to deflect
the reality that I grew up in a poor, dysfunctional family.
Grand Forks, his family lived on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation
in central South Dakota, where he attended an all-Indian boarding
school and joined the Navy after graduation. He was deployed to
Japan aboard the USS Independence and later served aboard the nuclear
aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Three WestPac cruises to the Persian
Gulf later, he returned to South Dakota with a serious drinking
fearless style of raw funny, as his press kit describes
it, reflects the harshness of reservation life and of Redwaters
life. Check out videos of Redwater on YouTube, taped during part
a Powwow Comedy Jam appearance at Wisconsins St. Croix Casino
& Hotel. Youll hear him riff about Moms good Indian
cooking (powdered eggs, powdered milk, commodity cheese)
and talk about what he hears from every casting director at every
audition he goes to in Hollywood: Where are your braids?
makes fun of his Indian name, Wanbli-Ohitika, or Brave
Eagle. It sounds like my dad just looked into a bowl of alphabet
soup, he says. He jokes about taking offense at an airline
attendant who asked him if he wanted a blanket: Last time
we took blankets, we died! Clean and sober for more than seven
years, he explains why he quit drinking: I was allergic to
alcohol. Every time I drank, I broke out in handcuffs.
is humor with a hard edge, reminiscent of Richard Pryors storytelling,
without the F-word.
people are naturally funny people, man, Redwater said in an
interview. We use humor to deal with all of our tragedies
that weve ever been through. Thats how our people have
been able to survive and deal with the way life has changed so drastically
in a couple of hundred years.
the Lakota people, there was a tradition of sacred clowns called
heyokha who did things backward. For instance, if food were scarce,
a heyokha would sit around and complain about how full he was. During
a heat wave, he would put on gloves and cover himself with a blanket.
The satire was important in the native culture. It was believed
the sacred clowns had the power to heal emotional pain, Redwater
said his travels and life experiences have taught him there is common
ground in his stories because tragedy happens to everyone, no matter
what race, ethnicity or gender. Because he performs for non-native
audiences all the time, he knows they relate to his comedy, too.
he moved to California, Redwater got sober and became a long-haul
truck driver before falling off the wagon, getting two DUIs and
losing his license. His struggle with alcohol continued for a time.
He worked as a mechanic before quitting to pursue his comedy career
full time. Today, in addition to stand-up, he is a motivational
speaker and a Christian who believes God is directing his path,
acknowledges his stand-up may have a hard edge, he said.
people dont want to laugh, I think its because they
feel some kind of guilt, and thats not whats its
about, he said. One thing people need to remember
it is comedy. This aint a take st seriously
show, this is a comedy show. We came here to laugh. We didnt
come here to be judgmental. Thats what Im going to give
them Friday night.