JR Redwater
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JR Redwater

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
Band Comedy Spoken Word


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"Quotes from Fans"

“A great act and a real inspiration”
-Bob Perkell, Big’s Comedy Club

“A one of a kind!”
-Ken Nero, Second Stage Theatre

“Great humor for the reservation!”
-Kevin Peniska, Well Nations

“Wisdom from the past, Courage for the future”
-Sam English, Indian Artist

“Well, first of all, thank you JR for giving back to our people, especially
to our youngsters & elders, by uplifting their hearts through laughter & encouragement. Secondly, you give hope to all of the native people that want to touch people's lives through the power of laughter, such as myself. Thank you & God Bless”
-Dusti GoodBird The Spirit Lake Sioux Nation, residing in Bismarck, ND

- Various

"Various Reviews"

“A one of a kind!”
-Ken Nero, Second Stage Theatre

“Great humor for the reservation!”
-Kevin Peniska, Well Nations

“Wisdom from the past, Courage for the future”
-Sam English, Indian Artist

“Well, first of all, thank you JR for giving back to our people, especially
to our youngsters & elders, by uplifting their hearts through laughter & encouragement. Secondly, you give hope to all of the native people that want to touch people's lives through the power of laughter, such as myself. Thank you & God Bless”
-Dusti GoodBird The Spirit Lake Sioux Nation, residing in Bismarck, ND

“A great act and a real inspiration”
-Bob Perkell, Big’s Comedy Club

Featured Speaker and Performing Engagements With:

The Comedy Store, Los Angeles, CA
The Ice House-Pasadena, CA
The Improv-Ontario, CA
Fish Lips, Bakersfield, CA
Jokers, Oklahoma City
The Comic Strip, El Paso TX

Cal State Long Beach
Comic View on BET
Make Me Laugh on Comedy Central

Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Nebraska Urban Indian Health Treatment Center
Crow Creek High School - KeyNote Graduation Speaker
6th Annual Aberdeen Area Addictions Conference
Youth 2000 Conference- Huron South Dakota
South Dakota State Fair- Native American Reconciliation Day
Indian Child Welfare Council
Youth Leadership Conference

- Various

"Well Nations Article-Sept 2005"

Reservation Sensation woes audiences with healing humor
JR Redwater seeks his own level as American Indian comedian; but the road to success was paved with pain and obstacles!

Story and photos by
Kevin F. Peniska, Sr.

POCATELLO, Idaho – “I remember walking down the road on my reservation when I was five years old, with nothing but my underwear on,” joked Dominic JR Redwater. “I remember thinking something is wrong here this doesn’t feel right. But I was looking for my mom, going to door to door saying, ‘have you seen my mom anywhere.’”
His facial expressions and deep raucous hard-as-rock baritone voice lend profoundly to his special effects, and turn this audience of more than 100 people into a sea of laughing skins.
“I’m from a reservation in South Dakota,” Dominic JR Redwater explains to Indian and non-Indian alike who have come here to an Indian Child Welfare Association (ICWA) Conference to learn, laugh and heal. “Give it up for me, I made it off the Rez,” JR Redwater sets up his punchline. As the crowd applauds for him for makin’-it-off-the Rez, he clowns, “That’s like Gilligan makin’ it off the Island; that’s a big deal.” The crowd erupts with laughter.
But things weren’t always so funny in the life of this stand-up comedian and aspiring actor. His parents had succeeded in bringing several girls into the world and in 1975 they finally got their wish – a boy – Dominic Redwater, Jr. He was born in Fort Yates, North Dakota on the Standing Rock Nation, his parents were alcoholic and times were tough.
“I always knew from as long as I can remember that I was going to do something great with my life,” JR Redwater explains. “At school I would have a hard time. I would go to school hungry. I went to a boarding school and graduated when I was 18. At that time I was using drugs and drinking. I knew that that wasn’t the way for me, because the times that my parents were sober they would teach me my culture, and they instilled my culture in me so that I would remember it.”
JR knew about the songs of his people and for a time in his younger years he was a traditional dancer. As a young man he entered the Navy, got married and had a couple of children. But the marriage didn’t last
“I didn’t know at the time how much alcohol affects Indian people. I think the mistake a lot of people make is that they think they are above their addiction,” JR Redwater said. “My addiction was alcohol and I thought that I was above that. I thought that it was something that I could control. In the Navy that turned out to be a big misconception. When I was stationed in Japan it turned into a big problem for me. My buddies and I were always broke but we would scrape all of our money together to get some beer. Every port we hit, we partied. I guess I didn’t sow my oats, so-to-speak, and that is when all of the cheating started to happen. I don’t talk about that much but I’m not ashamed to say that anymore, that was the demise of my marriage with my first wife.”
In 1999, he found himself penniless, divorced, and strung out on booze. But he knew there was something better for him in life if he could just apply himself; if a door would open up; if he could create some type of an opportunity to achieve.
“I took the greyhound bus to California because I had a dream,” JR Redwater said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew something big was going to happen. I needed to find my way through life and take a risk.”
With just a duffle bag and .30 cents in his pocket, JR met up with the wrong crowd but they became friends and took him in. In early 2001 he started doing stand-up comedy and moved to Los Angeles. He has been chasing his dream ever since he cleaned up and sobered up on Oct. 14th 2002.”
While learning the ropes of the Los Angeles comedy club circuit he studied the California Drivers License handbook and passed the test. He then went to the United States Truck Driving school for a six-week course, which he passed and ultimately received his Commercial Drivers License, and drove truck on the side.
Williams and Ree, Charlie Hill, Drew LaCapa, Don Burnstick; they’ve all made us laugh for years with their unique views into the hilarity that is modern day Indian Country. But an evening with JR Redwater is quite a bit different; he gives you a reason to laugh at the harsh realities of the Rez, certainly because he can, hell he’s been there. But he also is quick-witted enough to share about some of the urban stereotypes that have been placed upon Indian people.
“White people give southwestern Indian people credit for creating the rain dance,” JR states in one of his comedy monologues. “But really it is a natural reaction to the 120 degree sand, ay yae, ya yae, ya yae ya.” He demonstrates what people wearing no foot protection would look and sound like, dancing in the hot sand. And he draws a great response from the audience.
“As the jokester in my family, that was my role, to try to break the tension in the room and it was always built up,” JR explains. “It came natural to me to make my family laugh and minimize the situation all the time. For me it was the healthiest way to deal with situations like that. Today I realize that I was in an unhealthy situation. Growing up in the environment I trained myself to be funny. But we Indians have a lot of humor, more humor then people know about.”
According to JR Redwater, mainstream America doesn’t know that Indian people carry a lot of humor with them. He says humor was a survival mechanism for Indian Nations and that is why we are survivors.
“That is why we can go through so much tragedy and we can laugh about it and heal because we know how to rough it, we know how to get through hard times,” JR adds. “My grandfather was always playing pranks and jokes, and my father was always telling jokes wherever we went. Our family always told jokes and so it was instilled in me, but I perfected it. All through school and in the Navy I was the class clown. I was the one who entertained everyone. I was the one the teachers were afraid of; who my commanding officers were afraid of; because I spoke my mind. I think that is what makes me a good leader today. I speak what is on my mind but I do it in a good way. I do it in a way where everyone could see it from my point of view and that is all it is, my point of view, so I blurt a lot. That is what is funny about comedians and people who are in the business of making people laugh, we blurt and we speak our minds.”
Moving to Los Angeles, kick-started JR’s secret dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. He eventually called up a well-known venue in L.A., The Improv, and told theme he believed he had what it takes. After only a four minute audition, he was asked to perform before a live audience. But his first night out of the gate was a disaster in his mind.
“I invited all my friends and I bombed,” JR says with a, booommmmmbed. “When I went home that night I was sick to my stomach because it was such a negative experience for me. I was funny all of my life and I just couldn’t accept that defeat, because I knew that I was funnier than the comedians on television. So I learned how to perfect it, but first I had to get right. By getting it right I mean I had to go to treatment and deal with my past. A lot of things happened to me while I was growing up but none of that was going to be an excuse for failure. I always look at my trauma as, it could only make me stronger. I knew that I had to face up to each and every problem head on. That was the only way that I was going to be able to free myself from all of that negativity.”
JR Redwater, despite his sense of humor, was scared during his October 2002, 45 day treatment program. He worked on the issues that he needed to and discovered an inner child that was damaged.
“I was sexually molested when I was a young boy, I had to go back in time and deal with those demons,” JR Redwater confides. “My counselor really helped me through that and I always feel indebted to her for being there for me so that I could heal. After dealing with all of that I knew that I could conquer anything, I could do anything. I went back to Los Angeles and started back in my career in comedy only this time I was sober and that made the whole difference.”
But JR Redwater found something else on his new journey of sobriety, something that would empower him to new and exciting levels of success. He found spirituality, God, and the church, and for him it has become his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
“With my spirituality, comes everything else, God has blessed me with all that I have now,” JR Redwater explained. “Today I am standing in front of hundreds of people a week performing, for Indian and non-Indian people, telling them my story. I own a house in Southern California, I have a new wife and two children, they are very much a part of my support system. I really appreciate that. I appreciate being able to look back and see my struggles and learn from them and look into the future and be optimistic about the opportunities ahead.”
Doors are opening wide for JR Redwater all across Indian Country – the word is getting out that there’s a hot new Indian comedian on-the-circuit. He schedules about four to five dates a month performing in Indian communities and at Indian gatherings nation-wide. But also, he keeps his material fresh by spending his time as a regular performer on the LA Comedy Club circuit.
“A lot of my material is based on my life,” JR Redwater admits. “ I take a lot of the tragedies that have happened to me in my life and I bring it on to the stage with me. I present it in a way where – like an artist would do a painting right in front of you – but I do the painting with my words and my actions on stage. I talk about certain tragedies, like being dirt poor and times when us kids were always left alone because our parents were out drinking and using.
JR Redwater bases his comedy on real life events!
“People laugh at it and it’s OK to laugh at it because I am OK with it,” JR Redwater says. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be spilling it out on the stage like that. I want people to laugh at it because things like that are tragedies that we see on a day-to-day basis on the reservation. The funny thing about much of my material is, it really happened.”
Redwater’s goals are simple, to bring the tragedies that happen to Indian people into mainstream. He does regular performances in Hollywood with hopes of being discovered and someday to reach mainstream America.
“Indians have suffered systematic oppression and genocide and our families are suffering” Redwater said. “The way I bring people together is by making them laugh and taking all these hardships and bringing everyone together through healing and laughter. Today I am proud to be an American Indian leader and I am proud to be a role model for my people. I enjoy doing stand up comedy. One day, I promise, you will see me, I will be as good as, or even better then, the Chris Rocks. I plan to put American Indian comedy, American Indian humor on the maps.”

- Kevin F. Pineska Well Nations Magazine

"Honorary Acceptance Into The Alligator Pit"

From: Julie Bennett Barrow/ Seminole Tribe of Florida
Date: 11-06-07

Re: JR Redwater’s visit to the Seminole Tribe of Florida

I wanted to take a few moments to write to you and let you know what a wonderful success JR Redwater was on his tour of the Big Cypress Reservation during our Red Ribbon Celebration Week.

He did an excellent job at our Family Comedy Night on Thursday and had the audience laughing with his great sense of humor. At the end of his act he took a few moments to share his life story and the triumphs he now has over drugs and alcohol and over his past abuses. His message hit hard and his vulnerability was greatly appreciated.

On Friday morning he spoke to our 6th through 12th grade students at the school. The teachers, students and dean are all still talking about his visit and they appreciated his mixture of humor and hard truths about drug and alcohol abuse.

His grand finale was as MC for our annual Red Ribbon Awards Luncheon and as a judge for our parade. JR did a great job keeping the crowds laughing while we waited on our food and he did a great job running the awards portion. I don’t know what we would have done without him! The crowd loved him so much they made him an honorary guest in the alligator pit and our local alligator wrestler put on a special show just for him. I have no doubt he will be invited back!

Julie Bennett Barrow
Prevention Specialist
- Seminole Tribe of Florida


Still working on that hot first release.



"I want people to be able to heal from the inside out and to deal with their past. To grow and to be the person God intended them to be. In order to have strong healthy families and leave of legacy of love and happiness. And through laughter I believe this is possible." Sincerely, J.R. Redwater.

Dominic Redwater Jr. is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He was born in 1975, when the President of the US was Gerald Ford, the world population was just over four billion people, Foolish Pleasure wins the Kentucky Derby and George Carlin hosts the premiere of Saturday Night Live, "One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest" sweeps the Oscars. Meanwhile, back on the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota, Dominic Sr. had threw his wife Leanne into the pick truck and drove to Ft. Yates in the dead of winter to deliver their first son, the other four were all girls.

Coming from a poor alcoholic family wasn't a happy life. Sure, life was a little normal here and there. But in JR’s eyes not normal enough. So becoming the family hero was how he would make up for it, and because it was a dysfunctional family he knew he had to dream big. The Redwaters' thought by having kids and naming them after each other would make things normal. It did, but only for a while, than it was back to the drinking, fights and cheating. Many times his mother would be left alone crying and J.R. would be there to wipe away the tears. He was already thinking of ways to make her happy. It was not his role, but he began acting as the man of the house, as he did on many occasions.

At the age of ten, J.R. as he was known, got his Indian name in a naming ceremony. It would be "Wanbli-Ohitika", which means Brave Eagle. His Native American culture would play an important role in his life. He sang and danced traditional on the pow-wow trail. He had a best friend named Roy who he did lots of fun with, like showing their peepees off, and making teepees. Like I said, they were best friends. There was never a time when Dominic wasn't cracking Roy up. He would keep in touch with Roy for years to come. Mostly at Pow-wows.

He soon moved to his Dad’s reservation in South Dakota. His parents tried once again to work things out. They just graduated from the University of North Dakota, and were going to live happily ever after. Dominic attended a small school in Harrold SD, and Stephan SD. Most action going on at this time was the tumble weeds blowing and of course more drinking. You see the lengths of sobriety in the family didn't last long. Now it was definitely a part of his being.

Growing up Dominic would play pranks on those around him. Especially his four older sisters. Kind of like wicked step sisters, except not. There was a time when he set his oldest sisters hair on fire at the drive-in movie. That was funny. Needless to say he walked home from the drive-in theatre. That wasn't the only time he would play with fire. There was that other time he shot his other sister with a BB gun. He told her to dance but she refused. Well you know what happened next. No dance, than sing. Fighting his younger brother Bob was common thing. He had seniority over him until he learned to fight back, now he's locked up so that doesn't really matter anymore.

After high school, Dominic joined the US Navy. Going to see the world and get the heck out of here! It seemed like a good solution for a kid who liked adventure. It would be one of his best decisions yet! Shortly after boot camp, he married and had an instant family. Then, he was deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. After a year in Japan his new orders were to meet his new ship off the coast of California. The USS Carl Vinson, CVN-70. A nuclear aircraft carrier.

Dominic took leave one winter and traveled on the Greyhound bus back to South Dakota. He visited with another passenger who had known his best friend Roy. JR found out that Roy had passed away in a terrible accident during an Army training exercise. This was devastating news. Dominic knew that he would never have another friend like that again. A piece of him was gone. Three West Pac cruises to the Persian Gulf and many years later, Dominic also tried to reconcile with his ex-wife. But just like his parents had tried to reconcile so many times in the past, JR would also try but without success. He also took his turn with and drug and alcohol abuse

Today, JR is following his hearts dream to become a professional Comedian and Speaker. He is drug and alcohol free, remarried, and now resides in Southern California. His life experiences at such a young age allow him to share his knowledge with those who dare to dream, He mentors high school students and young adults. He is a devoted Christian. He turned to comedy as an outlet for his anger and to help other people heal their hurts. Comedy is a way of life for him. His fond memories of his pal Roy will always be alive in him, and he vows t