Adrianne Chalepah: I'm the comic who waged war on Ralphie May

Comedian Adrianne Chalepah posted a clip on YouTube that sparked the controversy over Ralphie May's old joke. Photo from Twitter

Adrianne Chalepah, a member of the Kiowa Tribe, posted the YouTube clip that put fellow comic Ralphie May on defensive for an old joke that offended many Indian people. She reflects on the controversy and what comes next:
My passion for comedy is much like when you fall in love. Comedy makes me feel young and giddy. It started as a young girl watching Monty Python and Saturday Night Live. My whole family is funny and we tease hard. I was teased because I'm nerdy and I 'talk like a white girl', and I love chocolate cake so I'm always wearing a few extra pounds.

Comedy became my defense mechanism.

This is why when I heard the audio clip of Ralphie May's comedy. I took it more personal. It combined my two passions of fighting stereotypes and my love for comedy. I decided to publicly pose the question of whether his joke was funny or not. I failed to research the clip and see how edited it was. I was blind with rage. At the time, it didn't matter that the clip was taken out of context. I was hurt by someone whose comedy I adored.

Then, everyone joined me in this hurt. It sparked an intense reaction from my indigenous people. I realized, that for the first time in my life, I had a voice.

Then Ralphie and I talked. I realized that he wasn't this racist monster out to get us. He is a comedian who was now the victim of cyber-bullying, death threats, and tons of Native men rallying their war parties

Get the Story:
Adrianne Chalepah: I'm the Comic Who Waged War Against Ralphie May (Indian Country Today 4/15)

Related Stories:
Comedian Ralphie May tries to turn Indian joke controversy around (4/13)
Comedian Ralphie May forced to postpone or cancel more shows (4/12)
Comedian Ralphie May apologizes after Indian routine resurfaces (4/7)

Join the Conversation