Last week, around a dozen Native American actors simply walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie, once more blazing a path for other pioneers to follow. Still, the majority of the more than 100 extras stayed behind, many of them agreeing with Netflix’s statement that Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6 is a “broad satire” featuring “a diverse cast that is not only part of—but in on—the joke.” As one of those who are definitely in on it, Carma Harvey, told Albuquerque’s KOAT (via Rolling Stone), “It’s going to make fun of a lot of things that most people make fun of,” with this Adam Sandler movie sparing no culture in its gimlet-eyed skewering of our nation’s ethnic spectrum, and all the diverse, funny sex jokes we have for names.
But obviously, not everyone gets that naming characters “Beaver’s Breath” and “No Bra” or painting them as useless drunks is just a way of satirizing cheap stereotypes, by creating and perpetuating them—well, you know how satire works. Over the weekend, cellphone footage was released of some of those who just don’t get it confronting producers with their request that “Beaver’s Breath” be changed, only to be told that they should just leave if they’re “overly sensitive.” Unable to realize that people who are the butt of the joke are, technically, “in” on it, they did just that.
Also over the weekend, Defamer got hold of a draft of The Ridiculous 6’s screenplay that was dated December 7, 2012, revealing that Sandler’s passion project has just been waiting for someone brave enough to dump it directly to Netflix. It also uncovers the intense artistic process that went into honing his comedy to its sharpest point, as seen in the substitution of the name “No Bra” for the original, far less witty “Sits-On-Face”—explaining the producers’ reluctance to jettison all that hard work over hurt feelings.
But more importantly, it features scenes like these, which speak the satirical end product that makes all the controversy worthwhile. After all, you’ve got to break a few racism eggs if you want to make a dick-joke omelet.
“It’s a comedy, not a documentary,” said Bonifacio Gurule, one of the Native American actors who remained on the set, encouraging those who left to “lighten up” so that we may be united in our shared American heritage that boners are hilarious. His sentiments were echoed by noted Native American spokesman Vanilla Ice, who told TMZ that, as someone who is “part Choctaw Indian, I see both sides.” But above all else, “This movie isn’t Dancing [sic] With Wolves, it’s a comedy”—and as someone who is playing Mark Twain, obviously he knows comedy. And besides, who would ever accuse Vanilla Ice of appropriating someone else’s culture?
Should the blessing of Vanilla Ice not be endorsement enough, the producers of The Ridiculous 6 say they also plan to add a disclaimer at the end of the film making clear it’s not meant to be an accurate portrayal of Native American culture, as an admonition to future historians. Meanwhile, those who are offended by shitty comedy will get their own warning right up front, with the disclaimer “starring Adam Sandler.”