Tiffany Haddish is so much more than a comedic actress. She has layers that when pulled back and placed on display, you wouldn’t even believe your eyes. Tiffany’s life growing was the perfect script for a Lifetime original movie. Initially, Tiffany Haddish’s mother was a successful woman who did any and everything to take care of her children. But as luck would have it, a terrible car accident occurred and her mother’s schizophrenia was triggered and wound up being so severe that her mother was no longer able to care for Tiffany and her four siblings. They ended up in Foster Care until their Grandmother was able to take custody.
In school, Tiffany was constantly a target for bullies. “The kids were horrible. They used make fun of me all the time and sometimes I just felt all alone,” she remembers. “Then I watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit one day, and the detective asked the rabbit, ‘Why are all of these people doing nice things for you?‘ And he goes, ‘Because I make them laugh. If you make them laugh, people will do anything for you.’ So that’s what I did. At school I would quote the movie and get people laughing which would also get me in trouble a lot so one day my case worker came to me and gave me an ultimatum – either I got to the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp or I go to therapy. I was no fool so I signed up for the Laugh Factory.’
While Tiffany excelled at the Laugh Factory, her road to success hit a snag – and she wound up being homeless after turning 18 and being booted from the Foster Care system. “I was living in my Geo Metro in Beverly Hills, so you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t doing it right. I thought, this is what all the starving artists do so I think I’m on the right path… A little after that I started working this retail job after I graduated but I still wasn’t happy. I decided maybe it is time for me to see somebody and talk to them about how I’m feeling and what I’m going through. My counselor asked me when I’m the happiest and I told them when I’m making people laugh it makes me feel good. And that’s when my counselor suggested that I go back to chasing my dreams of Hollywood and comedy and here I am today.”
To date, Tiffany Haddish has appeared on a number of comedy specials and sitcoms from Chelsea Lately to OWN’s If Loving You is Wrong. Tiffany’s latest acting credit is on the newly popular sitcom “The Carmichael Show” which stars David Alan Grier, Loretta Devine and Jerrod Carmichael. Tiffany plays the character of Nekeisha, the ex wife of Bobby (who is played by Lil Rel Howery) and acts as (in Tiffany’s terms) is the voice of the hood – she is the person who calls it like they see it, with no filter. “I feel like sometimes shes the most honest and level-headed in the room. You know, Jerrod is steadily trying to figure out life out loud, Bobby is sometimes lost but you can always count on Nekeisha for that little dose of reality.”
Tiffany sites her Grandmother as the person she deems her greatest inspiration. “That woman is amazing!” she boasts. “She never gave up. By the time she had her fourth child she was winning modeling competitions and I just want to make her proud. A reason why I wanted to do comedy so tough is because my granny said you should do something so great that your daddy would be proud. And that’s another reason I went so hard doing this.”
Tiffany’s dreams of becoming a household name in the entertainment industry are no where near short, she hones her craft daily by reading the newspaper in different voices and tries implementing different emotions as well. “I’m still taking acting classes at least once a week or if my schedule gets too hectic, it becomes once every other week. The industry changes every day and I’m just trying to keep up.”
The ultimate role Tiffany would love to play someday is some sort of disshelved youth or adult, who is the daughter of a man played by Robert DeNiro and her aunt is played by Meryl Streep. “When I dream, I dream big.” she laughs and you can almost feel her love and light through the phone. “In five years I hope to be running my own major production company and still creating content. I never want to stop creating.”
Tiffany’s advice to young performers trying to forge a path on their own? “Do one thing towards your goal everyday, if you do 5-10 everyday you’ll get there even faster.”
Tiffany Haddish is a force to be reckoned with on any stage and I can’t wait to see her career blossom as her star status rises.
By Monique C. Tillman