Comedian Daryl Johnson talks Alcatraz Occupation: Comedy Central’s Drunk History

Vincent Schilling

After a few rounds, Johnson's comedic tale portrayed by Adam Beach, Zahn McClarnon, Q'orianka Kilcher, Dallas Goldtooth

Comedian Daryl Johnson says he ‘wasn’t even familiar with the history’ of the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island when he took the gig to study up then tell the tale after getting intoxicated.

Comedy Central’s Drunk History is a show in which comedians drink their favorite adult beverages to the point of intoxication then share the history they have learned or studied up on over the course of a few weeks. Johnson says he chose this topic because he wanted to learn something new.

“They never taught us that in school. I'd never heard of the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz. So for me, it was like an opportunity to learn something and get drunk and be funny with it. So yeah, that was the first time I ever even learned of it was when I was doing the drunk history.”

After a few weeks of study, and his favorite adult beverage, Johnson said he was ready to go. Tuesday night’s episode is on National Parks.

The show description is as follows: John Muir convinces Teddy Roosevelt to preserve Yosemite, journalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas fights to protect the Everglades, and Native American activists occupy Alcatraz.

Johnson took the Alcatraz gig.

The episode features Adam Beach, Zahn McClarnon, Q'orianka Kilcher and Dallas Goldtooth as key players in the occupation to include Beach as Richard Oakes, McClarnon as Adam Fortunate Eagle, Kilcher as LaNada Means and Goldtooth as John Trudell.

Johnson says that though the show is comedic, and the actors play along, he was once again angry about the treatment of people of color. “I'm sure I'm pretty angry whenever I talk about how white people go to treat people of color. So, um, I thought they did such a great job of capturing that, and being true and telling a story. It looks great and I can't wait for everybody to see it.”

“Until we can figure out how to get all the brown people and all the yellow people and all the people of color together, the white man is going to try and have his way,” says Johnson.

You can watch Comedy Central’s Drunk History episodes Tuesdays 10/9c, programming and episode info here:

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

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