Funny lady Tiffany Haddish is everywhere lately. She burst onto the scene in the hit film Girl’s Trip and she’s been inescapable ever since. Not that we want to escape her! She’s pretty much amazing. She’s real, she’s honest, and she’s just like us — except, you know, 20x funnierand friends with a bunch of mega-celebs. With a new show with Tracy Morgan on her slate and more movies in the pipeline, we have to know more about this comedienne extraordinaire.
Despite being all over the place the last year, she’s still a bit of a mystery. But if you’re anything like us, you have to know everything about the hot new actress on the scene. Haddish has had an interesting past, a definitely a bright future. Here are some little-known facts about the up-and-coming star!
20. She’s of African-American and Eritrean-Jewish decent
Haddish was born and raised in Los Angeles, but she has a rich cultural history. Her father was a refugee from Eritrea and was raised in a Jewish family. Her mother was an African-American Jehovah’s Witness. This has given Haddish many racial and religious identities in her life. Although her father left her family when she was young, she still embraced his culture and the Jewish side of her heritage. She even honored the Eritrean side of her with a traditional dress from the country at the 2018 Academy Awards!
19. She had a rough childhood
Haddish had to grow up pretty fast as a child. Her father left the family when she was a small child and she was raised by her single mother. Her mother eventually remarried, but the man she married ended up messing with the brakes on her car and causing a horrific accident. Haddish’s mother suffered brain damage from the incident which then triggered her schizophrenia. Because of this Haddish, then 12, and her siblings were placed in foster care for a time and split up. It wasn’t until three years later that they were all reunited and put under the care of her grandmother. The comedienne had to grow up quicker than most children, and she definitely worked for everything she has!
18. She was functionally illiterate up until high school
Haddish turned to comedy after her tough upbringing, but there was a time where she couldn’t write a sentence – let alone jokes. The actress was functionally illiterate through her pre-teen years and had to get tutoring to improve. This is the ultimate case of someone struggling through to success. She may not have been able to read and write well then but now she writes jokes and reads Hollywood scripts for a living. #Winning.
17. She almost died at age 13
When Haddish first started doing press for what would be her breakout film, Girl’s Trip, she used the interviews to share some interesting tidbits about her life. One such tidbit? She got Toxic Shock Syndrome at the age of 13 the first time she used a tampon. Of course, the funny lady turned the story into a humorous anecdote but don’t get it twisted — she almost died! Haddish recalls being in the hospital for three days and the doctors revealing to her that she’s actually allergic to the chemicals in tampons. To this day, she doesn’t use them at the doctor’s warning and instead favors the diva cup. There’s no such thing as TMI when it comes to Tiff!
16. A social worker inspired her to get into comedy
After her unpredictable upbringing, it’s not hard to believe she was a bit of a handful in school. Despite being a decent student and very into theater, she kept getting into trouble. So her social worker gave her an ultimatum: she either needed to go to psychiatric therapy or the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp. She chose to actually attend the camp and the rest is comedy history!
15. She was mentored by big-name comedians at the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp
When attending the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp, a 17-year-old Haddish was able to interact with many famed comedians. She was mentored by Richard Pryor, Dane Cook, and the Wayans Brothers, just to name a few. She credited her time at the camp with igniting her love for comedy and saving her life which was on a downward trajectory. Out of the comics she worked with, we have to say the biggest name today is definitely Tiffany herself! Sorry, boys!
14. Her nickname “the last black unicorn” doesn’t have super happy roots
Haddish has always owned the moniker “the last black unicorn.” It’s even the name of her memoir! But it doesn’t have the happiest origin story. In school, kids used to make fun of a wart on her head and call her a unicorn. So she turned it on them and owned it! What’s cooler than a unicorn? Basically nothing. So Haddish took the name, made it her trademark, and now she’s making money off it. I think she showed those bullies who’s boss!
13. She lived out of a car in Beverly Hills at the start of her career
After committing to comedy and acting for a living, Haddish decided to put 100% into it — and that meant some hard times where she couldn’t get work. When she was first starting out, she was living in her car trying to book gigs. She was doing shows at the Laugh Factory trying to get recognized while booking Bat Mitzvah’s on the side for spending money, but couldn’t afford a home of her own. It’s a true rags to riches story!
12. When she was living out of her car, Kevin Hart gave her $300 and a pep talk about life
Haddish met Hart on the comedy club circuit and he noticed one day that she was living out of her car. At first, he told her that as a beautiful woman she could be living with any man, but she assured him she was independent and definitely didn’t want someone supporting her. He then told her to write down a list of goals she wanted to achieve and gave her $300. While she was skeptical of his methods, she got a motel room and wrote down her goals and lo and behold – the next day she got offered an apartment. While she noted the place was crappy and gross, it was somewhere to live and she took it!
11. She reconnected with her absentee father as an adult.
After her father left her family when Tiffany was only three years old, she learned how to live without him. But when she got older and had the means to find him, she hired a private investigator to help. She did end up finding the man, and he even walked her down the aisle on her wedding day. He continued to be in and out of her life until his passing in 2017. Despite his absence in her life, he did share that he was proud of her success.
10. She’s been married – and divorced. Twice. To the same guy.
Haddish has been married, and divorced, twice to the same man. Oh, and he happens to be the private investigator that found her father for her. Tiffany’s father even walked her down the aisle. The two were divorced a few years later, but then they remarried shortly after that. They divorced for the final time in 2013 and she cites her budding career and his refusal to support her as the big reason. However, she’s also mentioned that he was abusive towards her – allegations which he denies but she stands by.
9. You’ve seen her before, even if you didn’t realize it
Tiffany just burst onto the scene in a big way, but she’s been a working actress for years. She’s appeared in many TV shows over the years and we guarantee you’ve seen her face in something. The actress has guest-starred on That’s So Raven, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and My Name is Earl. Excuse us while we rewatch all of those shows and try to figure out how we missed this huge personality the first time!
8. Oprah gave Tiffany her big break
Well, sort of. Haddish’s big break came when she was cast to star on a show on Oprah’s OWN network. The role led to bigger and better roles – when she was cast to star on a show on her network. The show, If Loving You Is Wrong, led to a bigger and better role elsewhere on TV. After she left that show, she was cast on Tyler Perry‘s The Carmichael Show on NBC. She moved on to a huge network and an elevated career, all because Queen Oprah’s network gave her a chance!
7. She wants to build resources for kids to have better lives
After her tumultuous childhood, Haddish wants to use her fame and money to give back to kids who need what she didn’t have. One of her ideas is to build a mental-health center, a job-placement center, and a transitional housing building on the same street. She wants kids to have a place to learn and create skills, and a place to get practical real-life training that you can’t get in schools these days. Oh, and she wants to do it on a street named after her. Girl’s got goals!
6. She has a two-year first-look deal with HBO
So we can expect more from the actress on the small screen! She already has a comedy show with Tracy Morgan slated for 2018, could we get a prestige HBO drama from her too?! She’ll have the right to have the first look at potential projects and decide if she wants to be involved before others can get their hands on it. Haddish has reached a point in her career where she can be choosey, and we are so here for whatever she chooses to do!
5. She has the best Beyoncé story
And that’s probably why Queen B shaded her in her latest song! The two met each other at a party one night and to Tiffany’s astonishment, Bey knew who she was. Haddish shared the story on a late-night show and added she saw Beyoncé shoo away a woman who was trying to brush up to Jay-Z. Comments like that are probably why in DJ Khaled‘s newest song featuring Beyoncé the songstress says that if you’re gonna hang with her you’re gonna need to sign an NDA. Can’t be sharing the queen’s secrets, no matter who you are!
4. She LOVES Groupon!
Before she was rich and famous she was using Groupon for everything — and she still is! The star loves it so much and has been so vocal about it, that they made her their official spokesperson. Haddish has shared her love for the money-saving site with her famous friends, too. She even took Jada Pinkett Smith and her family on a swamp tour courtesy of Groupon. Hilariously, the Smith family had no idea what Tiffany meant when she mentioned Groupon. Our girl is down to earth AF and it’s one of the many reasons we love her!
3. She surfs!
She may not look like a surfer bro, but the comedienne actually loves surfing. Haddish was inspired to start surfing from Sally Field in the movie Gidget. The actress cites Field as one of the bigget influences on her acting career and surfing passion. She even said she’d like to remake the film with a “black Gidget” and maybe Meryl Streep as her mom!
2. She was the first black female stand-up to ever host Saturday Night Live
She’s not only making us laugh but also making history! Tiffany is the very first black female stand-up comedian to host the late-night sketch show which is huge. The big question here is why did it take so long, but we’re willing to forgive since our girl Tiffany got the honor of being the first. And she killed her stint as host! Which, duh, we knew she would. We’re hoping this is the first of many hosting gigs in her future!
1. She’s 38, ranking her as one of the greats who didn’t get her big break until later in life.
Sometimes it takes a while to get where you’re going and Tiffany Haddish has put the time and effort into being where she is today. It didn’t come easy, or early, but all good things come to those who wait. And now the star is one of the many celebs who didn’t hit it big until later in life a.k.a something you KNOW we all think about when yet another birthday rolls around. Not everyone is going to be a superstar right away, and that’s okay! Everywhere gets where they need to be in life when the time is right. And we’re so glad the time is right for Haddish because she is definitely our new fave!