OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Saturday night of the Festival, Este Cate Night, featured the Navajo, Omaha and Oglala Lakota comedian Tatanka Means for his first time performing for the MCN.
This year has been busy for Means, with most of the filming roles being done in OK, so naturally, when he was invited to the MCN Festival, he was beyond excited to come back to the state and perform for the Muscogee People.
Means claimed all he could see were big laughs when he looked out in the crowd.
“Everybody was ready to laugh,” Means said. “It just made it that much better to perform. It’s a great feeling when people are having a good time, and the reception is good.”
In his role as a comedian, he claims that many jokes about aunties, frybread, and reservation life translate universally across all tribal nations.
“I try to make it for everybody so that I can go everywhere,” he said. “Native humor is universal.”
According to Means, he will be featured in Reservation Dogs, the FX tv series co-written and directed by Muscogee Citizen Sterlin Harjo that was filmed on the Muscogee reservation.
The next project that Means worked on in Oklahoma was filming Killer of the Flowers Moon, where he plays John Wren. The film is set to release this fall.
His first appearance as Crazy Horse on a mini television called Into the West was in 2005 when he was around 20. Since then, Means has played minor roles in various films, tv series, and documentaries, along with his stand-up comedy.
Many natives can relate to Means because he was a young Native American boy growing up on a reservation in South Dakota. One thing that set him apart from his peers was his love for entertaining, which helped guide his passions and lead him to where he is now.
Using his fingers and then his toes to count the years, Tatanka Means adds up 13 years total that he has been in the stand-up comedy portion of the entertainment industry. He mentions that the 13 years in this industry are equal to his years in recovery and sobriety from drugs and alcohol.
He takes pride in being an alcohol-free and drug-free performer.
“Just being here and being coherent,” Means said. “It’s an important part to being yourself.”
Though he is naturally funny, Means claims that it is not a talent he has always nurtured when asked about his humor.
“My family probably thought I was funny,” he said. “I was one of those that would think of a joke or comeback way after the fact.”
This left him laughing at his jokes most of the time during his pre-comedy career years but also allowed him to learn to write his scripts for a comedy performance.
Being a generational curse breaker is something he hopes to inspire the Native American youth to strive to be and chase their dreams.
For more information about the actor/comedian, visit www.tatankameans.com.