Tiffany Haddish – Beautiful, Talented, Funny & Smart
Our Interview with Comedian & Rising Actress, Tiffany Haddish
Creative, beautiful, entertaining, and accomplished, those are just some of the adjectives you can use to describe the lovely Tiffany Haddish. As a comedian her credentials speak for themselves, and as a person her aura exudes nothing but welcoming and positive energy. Underneath it all, she has a back story that has without a doubt shaped her work ethic, pushing her to be who she is today. With her recent appearance on Arsenio Hall adding to her recurring role on Real Husbands of Hollywood, to say that she has arrived is absolutely an understatement.
Parlé Magazine: Your credential sheet starts with a profound statement that you are proof that the system works, given your background and upbringing in the foster care system, can you speak to the values and experiences that it has taught you?
Tiffany Haddish: Foster care prepared me for life in general, as well as Hollywood. In the foster care system one of the worst feelings is that of being rejected by loved ones at first and then by complete strangers until finally someone loves you and takes you in. I learned how to deal with that and it helped me deal with the reality of rejection in life, and now in business. My experiences have allowed me to grow, and as a way of dealing with them I used comedy as therapy; through performing, I channeled my emotions.
Parlé: Your philosophy is “Do one thing everyday towards making your goals and dreams a reality.” I want to go back to the point in which you thought of this mantra, can you remember where you were in life?
Tiffany Haddish: I remember being about 24 years old and I had dreams, things I wanted to accomplish and as of yet they had not happened for me. When I initially came up with that motto, I was sitting back one day kind of wondering where everything was headed and how long it was taking. I thought about learning to walk, and remembered it was a process; I crawled every day, until I was able to take quick steps, which were baby steps. Eventually I learned to walk, then run; I apply that to my career, nothing happens overnight, I learned to respect the steps in the process of accomplishing my goals. In turn I encouraged others to do something every day that is progressive and goes towards the accomplishing of your goals. Along the way this train of thought has helped me determine if this is something that I want, meaning a comedic career. Ultimately I learned that YES this is what I want!
Parlé: When did you realize that comedy was your calling; was it a product of peers telling you that you were funny, a defense mechanism or something else?
Tiffany Haddish: As a kid, I had moles on my face, at least I thought they were, but then again sometimes I thought they were warts. The kids made fun of me all through my school years. They called me a unicorn, they used to say that I was bringing the roaches from home to school on my face. Terrible right? I definitely used comedy as a defense mechanism when I was younger, I wanted to make people like me. I always remembered the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In it, Roger used to say when asked why he was so funny or entertained, “If I make people laugh, they’d do anything.” That always stuck with me. Being a comedian wasn’t my first choice; I actually wanted to be a farmer, I love horses. Or own a beef jerky factory.
Parlé: You give a tremendous amount of credit to Ms. Karlita Lewis as being very instrumental in your personal and professional development; can you tell us about the Comedy Boot Camp which she herself funded?
Tiffany Haddish: In school I was very disruptive, something like a class clown. I used to drive my social worker Ms. Lewis crazy. My school was about 47 miles away, they would bus me at 5 A.M. from South Central. After a while, she got tired of coming up to the school and one summer she offered me 2 options: Go to Laugh Factory Comedy Camp or go to therapy. I asked, “Which one gets drugs?”
At that time I was about 15 or 16 years old and going to Comedy Camp was a great experience, I learned so much. I learned first and foremost that I wanted to make people happy. That was my calling. I was able to sharpen my communication skills, write jokes, and I learned confidence which helped me become secure with myself. We had guests such as the Wayans Brothers and Richard Pryor who came to lecture, and impart certain tricks of the trade. I got the chance to perform for them and they taught me structure. In addition, that was the first time I could remember someone telling me I was beautiful. They impressed upon me not to speak negative, I took that with me. To be honest I still didn’t believe; I was working for the Alaskan Airlines and I was depressed. Funny thing is around that time I actually did end up seeing a therapist and I shared my desire to make people laugh. I was encouraged, so I took stand up on as a hobby and in 3 months I was making money. I was on the cover of the airlines’ newspaper and all. I realized at that point, this was what I’m meant to do, besides being the last Black unicorn. (Laughs). If Ms. Lewis did not make me go to camp that summer, who knows where I would have ended up. Maybe 5 kids, 4 baby daddy’s in and out of jail. My life today is fantastic, I am a role model to my siblings. I was like their mom growing up due to us not having one. I love it.
Parlé: You are said to embody comedic genius, how unsettling or empowering is that compliment?
Tiffany Haddish: Really someone said that? I have to give my PR team a raise… wait maybe a big hug! (Laughs) But seriously I am humbled by that; the compliment is awesome. When I was backstage preparing to do Arsenio, I could hear him talking to the crowd and he said, “This next comic coming to the stage is beautiful, talented, funny, and smart; really support her.” I started crying like nobody’s business. No man had ever said that before, that I was smart. The producers were telling me to get myself together. He announced me and they pushed me out there, let me tell you it was like I had an out of body experience. I look up to him. I had to go back and watch footage to confirm that was actually me on stage in my mind. I was so touched by his recognition.
Parlé: Your credentials are very impressive, from performing for our service men and women globally, to guest appearances on Chelsea Lately to stand up on Def Comedy Jam, and more recently the Arsenio Hall show. As you sit back, has it settled in yet that you are indeed living out your goals?
Tiffany Haddish: I realized I was living my dream a long time ago. it was while filming Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia with Danny DeVito. I played a stripper and there was a scene where Danny kisses me on my chest, and at that exact moment I knew I had made it. Anything after that was cake. Anyone that knows me knows that success is my drug of choice. Everything to me is success; waking up in the morning is success. It has all settled in, and I know it will get better. I will enjoy the highs, and that helps me with the lows, and vice versa. But the highs are my focus and they’re growing like mold.
Parlé: I’ve checked out your IG and you are very entertaining, how do you come up with some of the ideas for making the masses laugh?
Tiffany Haddish: I post whatever I think of. People know me, I speak my mind; whatever I feel, I just do it. I try to have a filter, but I can’t. I say what I think. Like the posts with my weave, before, in the middle, and after. I look at myself and I say you are a pretty girl. Or the one with the duct tape over my nipples like a mermaid. I probably should be more calculated but to me that’s not life. I rely on being in the moment. I make mistakes, hey I’m human. I post what I think is funny, beautiful or that I enjoy.
Parlé: Tell us about your role on BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood?
Tiffany Haddish: It’s like being in the 10th grade around all the seniors and you’re crushing on them, but they see you as the little sister. When I’m on set, I’m part of the family. Kevin Hart is so genuine, I think what you guys get to see is a façade. He really cares, he will ask how my day is, etc. I’ve known him for 12 years now and its fun working with him. I consider him a good friend.
Parlé: Any funny moments you can share with us from the set?
Tiffany Haddish: There are so many, let me see. OK I got one, the hotel scene, where I bring him some food and I didn’t see it written in the script where Kevin is supposed to jump on me when the mouse appears so when he did I was caught off guard and it was naturally funny; funny thing is he is so light, we are almost the same size so imagine him jumping into my arms, it was like catching a toddler. Or another one is a scene when I’m on the bed and I added the vibrating affects, very impromptu; wasn’t originally in the script but I nailed it and they kept it. That was hilarious. The producers let you be yourself and I love that.
Parlé: What’s next for Tiffany Haddish?
Tiffany Haddish: I am slated to do Comic View on BET, it will be airing sometime in the Spring, which I am excited about. I always wanted to do Comic View, I was disappointed when they took it off, but now it’s back. Valentine’s Day I will be a part of Jenny McCarthy’s Dirty, Sexy, Funny which has a bunch of beautiful women and I will be headlining. It’s kind of in the pattern of Kings of Comedy, except being all about sexy women. She also bought me an iPad, which is awesome, she loves me. I will be dropping a book in June titled, Last Black Unicorn, which will be my memoirs. I will be talking about compromising situations as a unicorn and how I transcended to a different place in life.
Parlé: What do you want your legacy to be?
Tiffany Haddish: I want my legacy to be an inspiration to young women, showing them to be themselves and loving who they are. I enjoy seeing others happy, don’t listen to the doubters. I want to be remembered as the funniest, and of course the Last Black Unicorn. My tombstone will say something to the affect of:
“She’s making God laugh and we wish she was here to make us laugh”
Check out her Arsenio Hall Performance (Dec 2013)
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