“Healing Through Humor with Tatanka Means “


“Actor and comedian Tatanka Means reflects on healing with laughter in a Native way  amidst the COVID-19 pandemic”ICT AUG 11, 2020

“Tatanka Means is arguably one of the best-known Native actors and comedians in Indian Country, who in early 2020, had a jam-packed schedule filled with comedy gigs, acting jobs and speaking engagements. When COVID-19 hit, Means had all of his plane flights, and gigs canceled. But he pressed on. His standup routines have strong ties back to his Native heritage. In one popular standup, he discusses how Native people tease each other ruthlessly and always solve any awkwardness with the phrase “Aaaayyyyeeee”


[Means’ first screen role was in 2004 playing lead stunt double in the film Black Cloud, which was shot in the same gym where he had previously trained as a boxer.He has since had major roles in several films and TV series. In the miniseries Into the West (2005) he played Crazy Horse. In More Than Frybread (2012), he played Buddy Begay, a “hip-hop Navajo fry-bread rock star” who sells fry-bread from a truck on the reservation. A reviewer who described it as the “showiest part” in the film said, “Means .. overdoes it a little … but that’s part of Buddy’s personality.” Wikipedia]



“People are just going through hard times right now in different places. People are losing people. Communities are being hit hard but you know through comedy, through history, with Indian people, we always laugh when we’re having hard times. That’s why I say the humor brings us back up when we’re at funerals. You know, we’re laughing hard, sometimes telling stories those good old times, you know what I mean? And it’s just finding the humor right now in what’s happening in everyday life and how it’s changed. My daughter’s going back to school right now, but she’s not going back to school. Everything’s online. I mean, there’s no eating in restaurants. There’s pickup only there’s this humor all over the place.” Tatanka Means