Life

Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day By Following These Hilarious Indigenous Comedians

Indigenous People’s Day feels different this year. After a year of political and societal upheaval that has seen Columbus statues fall alongside longstanding racist branding and mascots, it’s starting to feel like marginalized people are finally being heard. At least to a larger degree than any other time in American history. As such, it feels like we’ve entered a new era — an era in which progress is possible.

To help us celebrate the strides that Indigenous folks have made toward some semblance of equality (there’s still a long way to go, mind you), we thought we’d shed some light on comedians we know and love from Indigenous communities around the Americas. Joey Clift — a Cowlitz comedian living and working in Los Angeles — put together a list of 25 Indigenous comedians you should know as part of your Indigenous People’s Day celebrations this year. Clift has also partnered with Illuminative — a non-profit working to raise the visibility of Indigenous people worldwide — and Comedy Central to shine a bright light on the work these and other Indigenous comedians are doing on stage, in writers’ rooms, online, and in film and TV.

Once you’ve spent some time with this list below, check out the Comedy Central Instagram — where Clift is running things all day long. It’s a chance for you to expand your knowledge of young, Indigenous comedians while also learning about Indigenous communities, all paired with a laugh or two. Illuminative is also offering an Activist’s Guide for Supporting Indigenous Peoples’ Day Toolkit, so you can learn more about the Indigenous lands you live on, the people who still call this land home, and how to be an advocate without f*cking it up. It’s an incredibly useful and fact-packed guide to why Indigenous People’s Day is important and what you can do to support America’s most ignored, misunderstood, and at-risk communities.

Let’s get into the 25 comics Clift compiled (and wrote bios of) for your enjoyment. We’re also calling out Clift at the end because he’s a must-follow, too!

Jana Schmieding (Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux Tribe)

Bio:

Jana Schmieding spent years killing it in the NYC improv and sketch comedy scene before moving to LA in 2016, where she quickly impressed, snagging a staff writing job on the Peacock comedy series Rutherford Falls. Jana’s as funny on screen as she is on the page, so she even landed the lead role on the show!

Be sure to follow Jana on social media, and check out this Cosmopolitan article about a sketch comedy video in which she hilariously panhandled for a date on the NYC Subway!

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Lucas Brown Eyes (Oglala Lakota)

Bio:

Lucas Brown Eyes is a super funny Oglala Lakota television writer, who sold the first-ever Native American family comedy to Fox in 2017. He has written for shows on Netflix, Freeform, and Disney, but he has dominated on Twitter for years and is definitely someone to follow!

Here’s one of our favorite Lucas Brown Eyes twitter jokes.

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Brian Bahe (Tohono O’odham Nation/Hopi/Navajo)

Bio:

Brian Bahe is a hilarious standup comedian and writer, and his Twitter game is so strong that he was even written up by Vulture! Pre-COVID he co-hosted the Brooklyn-based standup shows “Star Fuckers: Astrology but Make It Comedy” at Union Hall and “Butt Dream” at The Rack Shack, which is New York’s only comedy show in a lingerie store. Post-COVID he’ll be headlining Caroline’s On Broadway, as part of their Breakout Artist Series.

Here’s one of his great stand-up comedy sets pre COVID.

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Adrianne Chalepah (Kiowa/Apache of Oklahoma)

Bio:

As one of the founders of the Ladies of Native Comedy, Adrianne Chalepah has been taking over stand-up comedy stages, from Hollywood to Indian Country, for years. She’s even opened for Michelle Obama and wrote the final chapter of the popular children’s anthology series “Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever!” Whether she’s acting, performing, or posting hilarious jokes on social media, she brings the laughs everywhere she goes.

Here’s her amazing stand-up comedy set from First Nations Comedy Experience!

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Azie Dungey (Pamunkey)

Bio:

As a writer for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix, “Sweetbitter” on Starz, and “Twenties” on Showtime/BET, Azie Dungey has been killing it in television writers’ rooms for years! We strongly recommend checking out her hilarious Twitter and Instagram accounts, and if you want to see her acting/writing genius at work, you’ve got to see her super-viral and super funny web series “Ask A Slave” on Youtube. It’s two seasons deep, but we recommend just starting from the beginning and thanking us later!

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Tai Leclaire (Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk Nation)/Mi’kmaq)

View this post on Instagram

*Eats frybread once* #nativeamerican #ndn

A post shared by Taietsarón:sere Leclaire (@tai_leclaire) on

Bio:

To watch Tai (short for Taietsarón:sere) perform live character-based sketch comedy is to see comedy personified. He’s currently working as a staff writer on the Peacock series “Rutherford Falls,” but when he’s not writing he’s bringing his sketch comedy and stand up chops everywhere, from Austin Sketch Fest to the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre’s “Character’s Welcome” teams in New York City.

We recommend checking out this Tai Leclaire live comedy piece about a Native shaman exorcising a basic white ghost. It’s SO good!

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Dash Turner (Yurok)

View this post on Instagram

PICK ONE 📸: @tai_leclaire

A post shared by Dash Turner (@disturbia2007film) on

Bio:

Dash Turner was previously an editor of the all-POC satire publication Flexx, so it’s no surprise that he’s one of the sharpest comedians in the game right now. Whether he’s doing stand-up with Tai Leclaire and Brian Bahe as part of their New York City-based Native-centric stand up shows “Thanks But No Thanksgiving” and “No Settlers,” or laying down an insanely funny tweet, Dash is definitely a comedy guy to follow.

Here’s one of our favorite Dash Turner tweets about Native American sports mascots!

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Tiffany Midge (Standing Rock/Hunkpapa Lakota)

Bio:

If David Sedaris were a Hunkpapa Lakota woman, she would be Tiffany Midge. Fresh off the release of her hilarious book “Bury My Heart at Chuck E.Cheese’s,” which includes satire essays like “Fifty Shades of Buckskin,” Midge isn’t afraid to go there with her comedy. If you want to check out one of Indian Country’s best satirical minds, look no further.

Read her Pushcart Prize-winning McSweeney’s article “An Open Letter to White Women Concerning the Handmaid’s Tale and America’s Historical Amnesia” here.

Follow Here:

Twitter

Bobby “Dues” Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota)

Bio:

As a member of the legendary all Native sketch comedy group The 1491s, Bobby “Dues” Wilson has been holding it down in Native comedy for nearly a decade. And much like fellow 1491s member Sterlin Harjo, he’s been taking Hollywood by storm too. You can find his writing on “Rutherford Falls” on Peacock, along with Sterlin Harjo’s “Reservation Dogs” on FX, and watch some of his world-class sketch comedy performances on The 1491s Youtube channel.

Check out one of our favorite Bobby “Dues” Wilson led 1491s sketches, “The Avatars” here.

Follow Here:

Instagram

Kelly Lynne D’Angelo (Tuscarora (Haudenosaunee))

Bio:

Kelly Lynne D’Angelo is every bit a renaissance person in the comedy space. From writing cartoons for Adult Swim’s “Final Space” and Cartoon Network’s “Mao Mao,” to working as a professional Dungeon Master, to co-writing the amazing full-length musical “Starry” about the life of Vincent Van Gogh (We know, right!?), Kelly is versatile, hilarious, and absolutely worth your follow.

Do yourself a favor and give the full “Starry” musical a listen on Spotify!

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Marc Yaffee (Navajo)

Bio:

Marc Yaffee’s been in the game for a long time, and he just keeps getting funnier! You might already know him from his appearance on the Showtime stand-up comedy special “Goin’ Native,” his hilarious stand up shows all around the world, or as part of the Pow Wow Comedy Jam Tour. If you don’t know him, start getting acquainted because he’s still one of the best in the stand-up game and he’s just getting started!

Check out his amazing Dry Bar Comedy special from 2019 here!

Follow Here:

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok

Kaitlyn Jeffers (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota))

View this post on Instagram

#nofilter 📸 @emilyeffler

A post shared by Kaitlyn Jeffers (@_kaitlynjeffers) on

Bio:

Kaitlyn Jeffers is no stranger to Los Angeles stand-up comedy audiences. She slayed crowds at the first-ever showcase of Native American comedians at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019, and she brings her punk rock comedy sensibilities to online satire publication “The Hard Times” as a writer. She’s an exciting young voice in the stand-up scene, and we strongly encourage you to give her a follow!

Here’s one of her many great Hard Times articles.

Follow Here:

Twitter

Monique Moreau (Cree/Saulteaux)

Bio:

A twelve-year veteran of stand-up comedy, Monique Moreau is a pro comedian and so funny to boot. She’s performed everywhere from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to San Francisco Sketchfest to shows all over Los Angeles. Her yearly show “Weighted Blanket,” featuring comedians and musicians on the autism spectrum, is pure comedic joy.

Check out Monique’s hilarious stand-up set from last year’s “Ghost Of Christopher Columbus Theater Smudging Spectacular” at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.

Follow Here:

Twitter

Kyla Garcia (Taíno)

Bio:

A Native comedian firmly in the artist/activist space, Kyla Garcia has been killing it with experimental comedy pieces that’ll leave you laughing and screaming “preach!” When she’s not acting or protesting with the nonprofit The Valley of Change, she’s dropping amazing comedic spoken word pieces, like her great video “John Smith Was a F*ckboy”.

Be sure and follow her on the socials, and check the amazing “John Smith Was a F*ckboy.”

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Tim Fontaine (Anishinaabe (Sagkeeng First Nation))

Bio:

Along with Tiffany Midge, Tim Fontaine is one of the top voices in satire. His news parody site, which he founded, Walking Eagle News, is like The Onion for Indian Country. And with headlines like “Your uncle, cousins deliver stimulus package to area rez dogs”, he more than lives up to the hype! Besides his writing, Tim is also a super funny performer and storyteller, dominating the stage at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival and “The Beaverton TV Show!”

Rather than choose one Walking Eagle News article we recommend just making Walking Eagle News your homepage.

Follow Here:

Twitter

Tonia Jo Hall (Hidatsa, Lakota/Dakota)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tonia Jo Hall (@toniajohall) on

Bio:

Tonia Jo Hall has only been in the game since 2014, but in six short years, she’s become Native American sketch comedy royalty. With her character “Auntie Beachress,” and her funny and motivational videos about her personal life and family, Tonia is a comedian that will be cracking audiences up for years to come!

For a steady drip of all things Tonia Jo Hall, definitely follow her on the socials. If you’d like a quick Tonia 101, check out this helpful primer put together by North Dakota’s KX News!

Follow Here:

Facebook, Instagram

Siena East (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)

Bio:

If her appearance on the Buzzfeed series “Bridesmaids Share Their Horror Stories” is any indication, Siena East is one of the funniest young storytellers in Los Angeles. She’s performed killer standup and storytelling everywhere from The Comedy Union to ACME Noho, and her Twitter game is legit hilarious.

To see her amazing storytelling in action, check out her “Bridesmaids Share Their Horror Stories!”

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Howie Echo-Hawk (Pawnee/Athabaskan)

Bio:

Howie Echo-Hawk is a hilarious stand-up comedian and writer who performs with the energy of a young Andy Kaufman or Maria Bamford. To watch them is to watch controlled comedic chaos distilled, and we are here for it. Besides live comedy, Howie is also one of the founding members of the Seattle based Native American performance collective Indigenize Productions. Howie is doing amazing work, and you should check them out.

Read Howie’s viral Medium article “As a Native American Comedian, I wasn’t mad at the SNL Thanksgiving Sketch, I was just disappointed” here!

Follow Here:

Instagram

Jackie Keliiaa (Yerington Paiute & Washoe)

Bio:

Jackie Keliiaa has been killing it in the Bay Area stand-up comedy scene for a minute, and folks are finally starting to take notice of just how funny she is! Jackie has opened for everyone from Nikki Glaser to Judah Friedlander, and her monthly stand up show “Amazonians” is a Bay Area comedy institution.

Check her out on Instagram for regular updates on her live shows, and be sure and watch her June 2020 stand up set from Nowhere Comedy Club!

Follow Here:

Instagram

Darrell Dennis (Secwepemc)

Bio:

You can’t talk about Native American/First Nations sketch comedy without mentioning Darrell Dennis. As an actor, he was the first-ever Native cast member in the history of any Second City companies. “The Guilt-Free Zone,” which is an APTN comedy series Darrell directed, head wrote, and acted in, was nominated for two Canadian Comedy Awards. He’s performed everywhere from the Just For Laughs Festival to the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and last year he won Just For Laughs’ “Stand up and Pitch” competition for his TV sitcom pilot “Big Game”!

In short, Darrell Dennis is a comedy powerhouse who should be on everyone’s radar. Check out his legendary performance at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Mylo Smith (Crow Creek Sioux)

Bio:

There’s a disarming, universal appeal to Mylo Smith’s comedy that needs to be seen to be believed, and he has the rare ability to pull laughter from everyone, from elementary school students to a jaded comedy audience. Mylo‘s been a staple of the Native comedy scene since the late 2000s. He’s still killing it over a decade later. If you want to smile, we recommend checking out his official Facebook page.

Check out Mylo’s hilarious Facebook video “Natives Always Watching The Same Movies.”

Follow Here:

Facebook

Robert Hall (Blackfeet)

Bio:

Robert Hall may have started his @DeadDogLake Twitter account just to fanboy over rez dogs, but he’s turned into one of the funniest Twitter accounts in all of #NativeTwitter. From his funny memes to his posts highlighting some of the cutest dogs on any reservation, his is definitely a Twitter account to follow.

Though it’s tough to narrow Robert’s comedic output down to just one tweet, this is one of our favorites.

Follow Here:

Twitter

Reg Charging (Lakȟóta/Dakȟóta)

Bio:

Reg Charging has only been slinging Rez comedy on Twitter for a few years, but in that time, he’s established himself as a powerful comedic voice on #NativeTwitter. His video shorts and sketches are so funny and so on point, and he carries himself with the confidence of someone who has been making people laugh for decades.

Check out his hilarious video short “Every News Story on Natives ever” to see what we’re talking about.

Follow Here:

Twitter, Facebook

Tiio Horn (Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake)

Bio:

Fans of the TV series “Letterkenny” are no strangers to Tiio Horn’s comedic acting chops, and anyone who follows her on social media knows that it’s not just her character that’s great with jokes! Her social media game is so funny, and she also hosts the great “Coffee With My Ma” podcast where she interviews her activist mom about her life.

Follow her on all the socials, check out all of her acting work, and definitely listen to “Coffee With My Ma” for a show that’s as heartwarming as it is hilarious.

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

Jim Ruel (Bay Mills Ojibwe)

Bio:

Jim Ruel’s laid-back comedic stylings have cracked up audiences from Indian Country to Hollywood, and everywhere in between. Smart, and with the comedic delivery of the funniest uncle on the rez, he’s worth a follow, and someone you should absolutely see the next time he does a show in your town.

Check out his set at the Native American Comedy Slam.

Follow Here:

Twitter

Joey Clift (Cowlitz)

Bio:

Joey Clift was one of only a few Natives who made it onto a house team at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. He used his position there to boost up other Native comedians who deserve to be showcased. In 2018, Clift started producing and hosting the first-ever all Native American comedy showcase in UCB’s 20-year history. The show is called the “Ghost of Christopher Columbus Theater Smudging Spectacular” and it was on Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples’ Day because, of course.

The show was standing room only, so they did it again in 2019 along with an all-Native improv show the day before Thanksgiving which also sold out. Still, the best part of the show was that several great Native comedians got writing and acting jobs in part by performing in these shows. And that’s what really made the shows a “success” in Clift’s eyes.

Today, Clift is a cornerstone of the L.A. Native comedy scene with a joke-filled social presence, game-changing gues on podcasts, and a continued love of all things Garfield.ZJ

Follow Here:

Twitter, Instagram

×