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Stories come tumbling out of Tiffany Haddish’s mouth so quickly and uproariously it can be hard to contain them, much less try to squeeze them all into a single profile.
Such was the case when The Hollywood Reporter hopped aboard a flight from San Francisco to New York with comedy’s fastest rising star — or its new queen, as THR‘s first comedy issue dubbed her — for the week’s cover story. But rather than let the outstanding tales and other intel from Haddish gather dust on the cutting room floor, we’ve decided to assemble them below.
So, here they are: 14 things — including the time she thought she had a shot with Stephen Colbert (yes, really) — that didn’t get any ink … until now.
1. During last summer’s promotional tour, Haddish stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. And while the visit didn’t go viral the way her stop at Jimmy Kimmel Live did, her rapport with the host — particularly as she danced her way into the interview — got plenty of love. Now, Haddish confesses that she thought she had a shot with Colbert, at least as she was dancing by his desk. “I was like, ‘Ohhh, he’s into me, maybe I’m gonna date him.’ That’s what I was thinking,” she says. “And near the end of the interview, when I saw that ring [on his finger], I don’t know if you could see my whole body language change but it did. ‘Cause I really thought he was in there. I thought, ‘Oh we’re gonna hang out. I might get to date this dude. I like him. Okay.’”
2. Haddish may talk (a lot) about sex, but don’t expect to see her in a sex scene anytime soon. Nudity, at least for now, is off limits. “I’m a comedian,” she explains, “I’ve never seen Lucille Ball get bare-ass naked. I never seen Carol Burnett have to get naked. I never seen Whoopi Goldberg’s booty naked. Tina Fey? Nope. I’ve seen her appear to be naked, but we never seen her nipples.”
3. Ironically, she was supposed to show hers in Girls Trip, but she says she shut that down: “They really wanted me to show my actual breasts and I told them straight up, ‘I’m not gonna do it. I got paid the least amount of money outta everybody in the movie and I’m a 31A, I don’t have no boobies. So, I will not show these nipples unless I’m getting paid what Queen Latifah gettin’ paid. Otherwise, you gonna have to get some pasties.’” (Yep, Dina wore sparkly pasties.)
4. Haddish FaceTimes with Taylor Swift.
5. She’s down to host the Oscars, assuming the Academy is down to pony up. As you may remember, Haddish and her co-presenter Maya Rudolph stole the show during their bit at the 2018 kudofest, prompting calls from everyone including The New York Times to have the duo, or Haddish solo, emcee the film industry’s biggest night. “I heard they only pay $100k,” she says, though two-time host Jimmy Kimmel has previously said he was paid only $15k. “But we each need to get $300k, at least. That’s $600k total. And if I do it by myself, I need $600k. That’s one apartment building in South Central Los Angeles. Or if they don’t want to pay me cash, just give me an apartment building in South Central Los Angeles.” (For more on her plans for said building, click here.)
6. Haddish’s personal and professional motto, “She Ready,” is the name of her production company, and is emblazoned on a lot of her clothing and multiple pairs of shoes (including black Converse high-tops and a pair of Gucci slippers). As for its origins: “It started with me and my cousins when we were younger,” she says. “We used to go out to the club, and you’d get ready and come outside the house, and if you look good, we’d be like, ‘She reeaaady.’ And if you come outside the house and you don’t look good, we’d be like, ‘She not ready.’ I just started saying it all the time. It’s really empowering, too. And I know it’s improper English but the energy of it, it just makes you feel good.”
7. Among her many goals: to remake Funny Girl and have Barbra Streisand play her mom. Hey, she’s pals with Streisand now, so…
8. Her character in Girls Trip is not the only one with a flossy posse. Haddish’s posse is every bit as spirited as she is — it includes one of her best friends from middle school (now her assistant), her longtime makeup artist and her go-to hair stylist. They’re busy planning their next big vacation together as we type.
9. Haddish saw all of this coming, at least the fame part. “I used to tell everybody in school that I’m gonna be the most famous person in the world,” she says with a laugh. “I used to put a white T-shirt over my head and stick grapefruits in my bra and tell everyone how famous I would be. And, of course, they’d be like, ‘Tiffany, sit down, you’re so silly.’” Of course, other early plans included working at a Snickers factory (so she could figure out the recipe and make/eat endless amounts of them) or a panty hose factory (so she could fix the runs she’d always get in hers) — or to be a horse farmer.
10. Haddish’s dad, who came back into her life when she was an adult, passed away late last year. She had him cremated and, per his wishes, went to Eritrea to spread his ashes — or at least half his ashes. The other half she sprinkled in her garden at her home in Los Angeles. Haddish told her dad of her plan when he was in the hospital. She recalls the exchange: “He said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Cause you ain’t never fed me, then you can finally feed me.”
11. Her take on the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy is every bit as raw as you’d expect. “It’s fuckin’ stupid. They act like high school mean girls. And I’ll be like, ‘Why are you mean? Why you being this way to me?’ And they’re like, ‘You gotta pay your dues, sis, you gotta pay your dues.’ I’m like, ‘My pussy don’t count as dues. I’m not paying with my body to get on stage to do five minutes,'” she says, clarifying: “Now, I didn’t have to do that. Never. I ain’t gonna lie to you, I done fuck some dudes — I’m 38 now — but never did I sleep with anybody to advance me to something.”
12. Which is not to say comics haven’t tried to take advantage of her. Since there’s no sense trying to paraphrase this story, here it is in full: “There was this one dude who was like, ‘I want you to see my new car.’ And I’m like, ‘All right,’ so I go get in his car and we’re talking. He’s handsome but not that handsome. I mean, I’m not really vibin’ him. Anyway, he’s like, ‘Oh man, my dick is so hard, can you help me? Can you help me get it down?’ And then he pulled it out, and I was really offended. It was humongous though. Like, huge. But I was really mad ’cause I didn’t ask to see that. And he kept asking. So, I was like, ‘I can get it down for you. You sure you want me to?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ So, I slapped the shit out of it. I slapped the mother so hard. And then I heard him, ‘What the fuck? Fuck! Fuck!’ And I get out of the car fast ‘cause I thought he was gonna punch me. But before I did, I was like, ‘Did it go down? Next time, be more specific and stop being so disrespectful.’”
13. Haddish’s role models, in no particular order, include Oprah, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep and Goldberg. In fact, Goldberg, with whom she shot an upcoming Tyler Perry movie, has turned into a mentor, helping Haddish with both the emotional and the financial transition as her career takes off.
14. Speaking of that transition, Haddish says, as bluntly as she does everything else, that she has no desire to be anything but herself. “Some black women are like, ‘Oh she’s just perpetuating a stereotype,'” she says. “That I’m a stereotypical loud black woman, and, whatever, ghetto. And I say, ‘Well, home girl, it wouldn’t be a stereotype if it didn’t exist. And guess where I grew up? In the hood, the ghetto, loud, all those things. So you can call it a stereotype, I’m gonna call it my life. That’s who I am. And there are hundreds of people like me and they’re not just black. People like me come in aaallll colors and sizes and shapes, so whatever bitch.’”
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