"I Wonder Which of You is Real": The Indigenous Confidence Man in John Kneubuhl's "The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo"

dc.creator Orr, Stanley
dc.date.accessioned 2023-10-04T20:13:36Z
dc.date.available 2023-10-04T20:13:36Z
dc.date.copyright 2021
dc.date.issued 2021-11-02
dc.description.abstract In response to Judith Yaross Lee’s introduction of a framework designed to probe the relationship between empire and American humor, this article analyzes John Kneubuhl’s “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo,” a 1966 episode of The Wild Wild West (1965-69). Kneubuhl (1920-92) was a Samoan American playwright who wrote for theater, television, and film. Like Mark Twain, he demonstrated a lifelong interest in the trope of the confidence man. In “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo” he depicts protagonists and antagonists alike in the US borderlands as con artists contending for power. While agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon emerge as cultural impersonators who serve the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the Prince of the South Sea Coral Islands, a Polynesian aristocrat, deploys American hegemony in Oceania. Kneubuhl draws on conventions of the fale aitu, a Samoan theatrical genre, as well as his association with Sam Amalu, a Native Hawaiian humorist and con man known for his elaborate pranks and swindles. As a site of contest between what Lee terms “neocolonial hybridity” and “postcolonial discontinuity,” “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo” exemplifies Kneubuhl’s unique trickster aesthetics.
dc.format Article
dc.format.extent 18 pages
dc.identifier.citation Orr, S. (2021). “I Wonder Which of You is Real”: The Indigenous Confidence Man in John Kneubuhl’s “The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo.” <em>Studies in American Humor</em>, 7(2), 329–346. https://doi.org/10.5325/studamerhumor.7.2.0329
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10790/42710
dc.language eng
dc.subject confidence man
dc.subject humor
dc.subject imperialism
dc.subject John Kneubuhl
dc.subject Oceania and the Pacific
dc.subject postcolonialism
dc.subject Sam Amalu
dc.subject television
dc.subject tricksters
dc.subject The Wild Wild West
dc.title "I Wonder Which of You is Real": The Indigenous Confidence Man in John Kneubuhl's "The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo"
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