By Dominick Joseph, Communications Assistant
Joey and I sat one thousand one hundred and twenty-nine miles away over the phone to discuss Native American tokenization, life experiences, and the comedy scene in Los Angeles.
Joey Clift is a writer, performer, and enrolled member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe who has written for Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, Nat Geo Wild, Guff, SyFy and TruTV. He is also a Washington State University alumni.
I first heard about Joey Clift when I was in the Native American Student Center at WSU from Faith Price and Tony Brave when I asked them about Native Alumni from WSU. It started with a direct message on Instagram, asking him if he wanted to let me pick his brain about his career path after graduating WSU.
Joey and I were able to discuss many things over the phone, one of them being the experience he had on the podcast “How Did This Get Played.” He was asked to review a game called “Custer’s Revenge” where the video game’s objective was to conquer Native American women. In his article he wrote afterward, titled, “I Celebrated Native American Heritage Month by Ruining a Comedy Podcast” he stated, “Casually asking me to review a game about the rape of a Native American woman for the Thanksgiving episode of a comedy podcast, without a hint of understanding as to why that’s a ridiculous thing to ask someone, is the email equivalent of covering me in a blanket made entirely of cockroaches. What, besides my Nativeness, made them think I’d be a good fit for this? Why on Thanksgiving, a day that gives us a yearly reminder of our genocide? What “Native” perspective am I even supposed to bring to Custer’s Revenge besides that rape is bad” (Av.club.com, 2019).
Joey’s statement on “How Did This Get Played” gave a lot of Indigenous people courage to stand up to subtle racism in America. We talked about people who in our lives have tried to abuse our friendships with us to be “woke.”
We had a lot in common as two Native men; we both grew up in the same area, went to the same college, and love comedy. Naturally, it was easy to talk to one another with those similarities.
I discussed my interest in comedy with Joey, talking about the possibilities of moving to Los Angeles and what I should do post-graduation. Joey gave me very constructive tips to ensure my future as an aspiring comedian. He stated that obtaining a degree is very important to get a foot in the door, especially in the writing world.
I am very thankful to have such a vast network of people from WSU.
Read more about Joey at joeyclift.com.