In an interview with National Public Radio, pioneering Native comedian Charlie Hill, Oneida-Mohawk-Cree, talks about his journey from the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin reservation to the comedy clubs of L.A. and the biggest shows on late night TV.
He prefers to say he’s living not so much the American Dream, but the “Indigenous Dream,” traveling to Los Angeles for work but living on the reservation with his Navajo wife. They have four children. Hill, who will turn 62 in a couple of weeks, is the elder statesman of Native American standup comedy and is a welcome celebrity presence at Native events across the country. “You can’t get any closer to the American dream than that,” he told NPR.
Hill says that, while Hollywood stereotypes are great comedic fodder, he is ultimately trying to help Indians and non-Indians find common ground through humor: “My whole thing is to get people to laugh with us, not at us.”