The Shinnecock Indian Nation’s recent controversial construction of an electronic monument in Hampton Bays got the Comedy Central treatment in a satirical segment that aired this week on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
Comic correspondent Michael Kosta braved Hamptons traffic in August to interview Shinnecock Chairman Bryan Polite, who can’t contain his laughter when told that Hamptonites find the ad-revenue-generating monument on the side of Sunrise Highway to be an attack on their way of life.
“How much of this monument is economic development and how much of it is kind of a f*** you to the people of Southampton?” Kosta asks. Polite replies, “I think it’s a little bit of both.”
The segment isn’t the first time Long Island has become fodder for Comedy Central jokesters. A decade ago, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart made a national laughingstock of Long Island’s proposal to secede from New York State, courtesy of then-correspondent Samantha Bee, who now has her own show on TBS, Full Frontal.
It’s also not the first time Daily Show cameras have turned their attention to the Shinnecock. Also during the Jon Stewart era, in 2005 then-correspondent Rob Corddry traveled to Southampton to “report” on the Shinnecock’s failed bid to build a casino in the Hamptons’ playground for the rich and famous. As we now know 14 years later, the only place Long Island is allowed to have a casino is at an Islandia hotel offering beautiful views of the Long Island Expressway.
As for the current Shinnecock brouhaha, New York State is suing the Shinnecock, arguing that the not-a-billboard lacked approvals that the tribe claims it didn’t need since the monument was built on tribal land.
The suit is pending. But the recent hearing on the issue in Comedy Central’s court of public opinion resulted in a conviction of man’s laughter.