Comedian Tiffany Haddish beat all the odds stacked against her and is becoming a household name. After 19 years of hard work, she landed a breakout role as “Dina,” the rambunctious, vulgar girlfriend alongside heavy hitters Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Regina Hall in the box office hit Girls Trip. Then, she made history by becoming the first African American female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live (11 other Black women hosting the show including Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Taraji P. Henson, Queen Latifah, Whoopi Goldberg and more, but Haddish is the first non-cast member stand-up comedian)! But what many do not know is her road to success involved many twists and turns.
During an interview with The Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM, Haddish talks about raising her younger siblings. Their mother suffered a head injury as a result of a tragic car crash. An emotional Haddish recalls being at the hospital and the doctor pulling her to the side saying, “Look, she’s never going to be the person that she was. It’s time for you to grow up now you’re going to have to help her as much as you can.”
From that moment on, the then 9-year old Haddish helped her mom learn how to read, walk and talk again while raising four younger siblings. Haddish says, “When I think back on it, it made me super strong.”
Comedy to the Rescue
Eventually, Haddish and her siblings moved into foster care because her mother developed schizophrenia and became abusive and neglectful to Haddish and her siblings. There were two instances while in foster care that inspired her to become a comedian. Haddish recalls having to share sleeping quarters with “gangster chicks with mental problems” who would threaten to fight her every night and to thwart them off she remembered a scene from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
“This movie inspired all of my comedy because there was a scene where Roger tells a detective if you make people laugh they will do anything for you. And I was like yea that’s the ticket, this is how I’m going to keep from getting beat up.”
Haddish was also propositioned by her social worker to either go to psychiatric therapy or to the Laugh Factory’s Comedy Camp. By choosing comedy camp she worked with celebrities such as Richard Pryor and Dane Cook who inspired her to take her comedy seriously.
After a few years in foster care, Haddish’s grandmother…