Stand-up, sketch and satire: The rise of Indigenous comedy

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Tim Fontaine Initiative and a member of the sagging first nation and he joins me from Toronto. Intel Hallo Tim Moon who I need so tell me. Do you still remember the first story that prompted you to start walking eagle. There was a would watch. Watch the news when I was a reporter. You're watching the news. And I was watching a story about pipelines like pipelines has been in the news for for decades and it always seemed to me that they were always going through indigenous land. No matter what it just seems like they're you know you never hear of it. Like it's going to go through brandon or something like that. It's always like our. We're GONNA go through this list. And so I had made this joke over the years that they're fighting and make a pipeline that goes through every single indigenous community in the country first nations and you admitted meaty that was probably the sort of like the Genesis of Walking Eagle News was I wrote it exactly like a new story. This joke and it was. And that's basically that's the headline is new. New proposed new pipeline will cross through every single indigenous community in the country and Yeah so that was. That was probably the first one that I wrote. It wasn't the first one that that I published but that was the one that made me think I could probably do something with these. Yeah yeah now at the top of the show you did recite some of your headlines but looking back over for the last two years even posting these esoteric articles. What's been your most popular? The most popular is the one about the the Queen US can trudeau. How how her Indians are doing? And it's one that's like a lot of them are strangely plausible like as ridiculous they sound or there's there's something in there that makes people think think that she actually say that or they actually say oh. I can't believe she said that. Even like believing that chef she said it so that one is probably the most popular one of all of the stars that Everton. It's one that's that gets shared the most still what about the most controversial story Any of the ones that do with racism. I mean there was one then. There's some that that I hate saying this. 'cause new real news as says this all the time. Sparks debate is is one about all white panel. Discusses says whether something is racist and that one gets a lot of people. Well you know whatever like people taking both sides on that one Any of the ones about racism usually. Yeah Yeah I get a lot of people sort of riled up either some topics that That you won't cover yeah. I don't do a lot of my. WG and that was one where very very early on in the site. published a story about At inquiry being called into the inquiry which maybe now might fly. I don't know but at the time There were so many families that that were struggling with what was going on. They weren't feeling like they were getting information. And then the story comes out. That's written just like a new news story and I think some of the families believed what people told me and so I just I just put it in apologize because and so. That's that's one where it's sort of. It's really tough to cover without feeling like you're making fun of the issue itself right like a lot of these stories. You'll have to trump fine line between laughing at the issue and laughing at the ridiculousness of the response to it which is usually what I do But that one. I didn't want anybody with that issue. I absolutely don't want anybody getting even the impression that we're feeling that I might be making fun of. Where do you think that line is? What were you gone too far? You've got not gone far enough. I don't know I mean there's sometimes when I published a story and I can't think of one off the top of my head right now but there's a couple of times where I've published a story and I thought I could have been stronger on this. You know what I mean like in calling out racism or in calling the ridiculousness of how the media talks about indigenous communities. There's a couple of times where I've were published it because I published them really fast. It's usually just it pops into my head. I sit down and five five minutes I have a story and publish it and I find that the longer I dwell on it the more I second guessed myself and so and that works a lot of times and then other times it it. It comes out later that I think like maybe I probably could have said something stronger about that. I don't know where the line is yet. I don't think I've crossed although it's funny like people people think satire is the same as comedy and I don't think it always is satire. Doesn't always have to be funny like it doesn't always have to make you laugh. I think sometimes it can make you groan grown and and a lot of my stars do that and a lot of my stories make you feel uncomfortable and I think that's fine as well and so You know the the gauges ages different. It's not like it's not like every single one is getting a laugh. I think a lot of them are just sort of like woo. You know so. Sometimes it's not ha ha funny. It's like ha ha. Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah. There's a lot of that and I think that's that's that's sort of becoming my brand new headline says this is Kennedy. Which is true? I mean and that's that's there's a lot of that right like because I mean the thing about walking you'll news I've been thinking more and more about uh-huh roots and where it came from where that sense of humor came from and I think a lot of it is like sitting around with my brothers and my sisters watching the news when we were kids and parodying as it's happening right like sitting there and putting voices on the reporters or you know doing bad voiceovers or are imagining scenarios where the news would go right. I mean I remember my my old one of my brothers. He could just he could parrot a reporter like crazy and he's just as big MSCI guy he would be like you know Monte Fontaine. CBC He News Duckie. He would just do it. So perfectly but yet just exaggerated enough that it's really really funny right and so that that was always in me. Yeah I think as as the news is funny it can be very funny but it can also be you can say things with that voice. That's strangely make people listening. Yeah so For a long time indigenous issues as you know were largely ignored or misinterpreted by the media. Let alone featured in mainstream comedy Until we have this clip recently. I'm GONNA play this clip from the Baroness von Sketch show. Here's what happened when that sketch show decided to take on land acknowledgments before we begin this evening's performance. We'd like to acknowledge that this theater stands on territory of the initial Bay schone here on and Wendy first nation also mindful of broken covenants and the need to make right with all our relations. Now please enjoy the show. Sorry excuse me should we. Should we go on someone else's it lands shouldn't we should we leave only the theaters here. Now we just like to acknowledge WHO's landed in. I'm sorry I'm so confused. So if we're on someone else's land shouldn't shouldn't we do something about that or Hopefully enjoy the performance. Okay so some of the money from ticket sales of the show or going to the indigenous. No the ticket sales go to theater. So is the money from the bottled water. Sold here here going to the first nations for clean drinking water or that money goes to sleep. Sorry I'm so who's minded. What are we doing? Gosh that's a good laugh. That's a bit of the sketch from the Baroness von schedule. And Land acknowledgements all shared on our facebook page. You want to check it out but tim. How did you react when I saw that sketch I thought it was great? Thought it was like it's finally I don't know who wrote it. I mean but they did a pretty good job of sort of like cutting through the ridiculousness of of these things that we're starting to take for granted now. Are these things that we're starting to expect. Do you feel like comedy generally is starting to get it. I think to a certain extent I mean you know there's pushback against that rate now I find you. They are working. Nobody can be funny anymore. But that's all like angry white comedy. Nobody sounds to me. Oh I don't understand anything anymore. I think makes sense. It's like that's that's basically what. The world is changing comedies changing. And everything's changing people. When that happens people tend to hold on tight sometimes right in that? That's where a lot of the detention comes in but there are still people out there that are that are funny. I mean I think a tall boys on on. CBC knowing mean that doesn't rely on on anything other than other than up. You know these these funny guys and so I think Yeah you can still be funny. But I think there's there's absolutely a brand of comedy out there that that now especially indigenous comedy. That's that's also there to sort of make you think all right then. I think I'm I'm sort of in that cap because I don't I don't consider myself a comedian yet or comic yet but it's definitely definitely cousins so yeah

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