Comedy team uses Cree tradition to poke fun

Thursday, May 10th, 2018 2:37pm


Image Caption

Anyone can be a kookum if they want to, says the Folk Lordz.


Folk Lordz Todd Houseman (Cree from Edmonton) and Ben Gorodetsky (absolutely not Cree) have taken a poke at author Joseph Boyden in a satirical video sketch called Care of the Kookum, as featured recently on Walking Eagle News.

Houseman plays staid literary interviewer Charlemagne Dung on the show Can-Lit Chat-Chit, and Gorodetsk plays Boyden, Dung’s guest.

The real-life Boyden, whose Indigenous identity has been scrutinized and questioned after claiming roots in a variety of communities, inspires Gorodetsky’s Boyden to claim he is a kookum (the Cree word for a grandmother) in order to promote a new book called Care of the Kookum.

Dustin McGladrey of CFWE-FM spoke to Houseman about the comedy sketch and the duo.

“We thought we would use some of the Cree tradition of making jokes and laughing about it,” said Houseman about Indigenous identity and claiming ties to a community.

The Folk Lordz have toured for about five years. Houseman describes their work as an “improvised storytelling platform” which mixes both of their cultural backgrounds. (Gorodetsky is a first generation immigrant from Russia.)  Last summer, wanting to produce something more concrete that could be preserved for a long time, they decided to set up a YouTube channel to showcase their comedy.  The result is 15 sketches from three to seven minutes in length. The plan is to make more of them for distribution, but the 15 sketches do appear on the Folk Lordz website at