Just hours after media outlets reported Tiffany Haddish was arrested for driving under the influence, it became a punchline in her stand up comedy routine that followed the incident.


Last Friday, it was reported that Tiffany had been arrested in Beverly Hills and faced a DUI charge for falling asleep at the wheel. Within hours, she had been released, allowing her to perform at the previously scheduled comedy show.

TMZ obtained audio of her set, taped by an audience member. In it, someone inquired about what happened Friday night, to which Tiffany responded:

“You tell me. I had prayed to God to send me a man with a job, career, preferably in a uniform, and I answered my prayers.”

This isn’t the first time that she’s been arrested for driving under the influence, nor is it the first time she’s made a joke about it – which begs the question of the relationship between celebrities, DUIs and, perhaps, accountability.


For celebrities in particular, hearing about DUI arrests always leads me to one question – why couldn’t you just take an Uber? Like, why do you not have a driver, at least for nights like this where you know you’ll be drinking alcohol or dabbling in the devil’s lettuce? That’s the part I never understood. With your status and wealth, you really mean to tell me you couldn’t just hire someone to get you safely from point A to point B? That angle of things will always boggle my mind.

Celebrity DUIs are nothing new. I recently wrote about Real Housewives of Orange County’s Shannon Beador’s DUI arrest. Besides her though, we’ve seen stars like Justin Bieber, Khloe Kardashian, Mischa Barton and of course, Lindsay Lohan all have their flubs with the law. In a lot of cases, many learn their lesson and straighten up. But with this being Tiffany’s second DUI arrest in less than two years, plus some really damning allegations, is Tiffany in her flop era?

Her previous arrest came in January 2022. People were especially graceful to her as she was reeling from some major deaths which included her dog, her grandmother, and friends Bob Saget and producer Carl Craig.


Then, last September, some really disturbing allegations came to light surrounding Aries Spears and Tiffany. A 22-year-old woman filed a civil suit on behalf of herself and her brother that alleged Aries and Tiffany abused them when they were minors. The lawsuit alleged the pair were groomed and coerced into "filming sexually explicit child pornography skits” as part of a video entitled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes”. Later that month, the woman requested the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice, but the damage had already been done, with Tiffany and Aries being dragged on social media for their involvement in such a questionable and inappropriate project.

Then, in April of this year, she found herself in hot water yet again after celebrity stylist Law Roach appeared on the Hollywood Unlocked podcast and revealed that she “ruined” his relationships with several prominent brands. As a favour, he would inform her when brands were lowballing her, using insight he had from his other clients that were landing deals with the same brands. He gave her advice on how to negotiate, but instead, she would run back to the brands and inform them that Law Roach, specifically, told her they were lowballing her. He informed host Jason Lee that he had to stop working with her because he “ruined a lot of relationships trying to elevate Tiffany.” Relationships he spent years building.


This set off a firestorm of activity on Twitter as people who sided with Law Roach started digging up examples of Tiffany’s shady antics in the past, which brought to light this clip of Issa Rae describing a really inappropriate series of interactions between Tiffany and a guest star on Insecure. Someone also reshared this clip of Marlon Wayans telling Tiffany that she was immature and unprofessional and that’s why he never cast her in some of his projects.

Prior to these incidents, for a long time, Tiffany was at the top of her game. Not only was she genuinely funny, but she was doing a lot to help other comedians elevate their careers. She was praised for following through on her commitment to go back and get some of the less famous comedians she had worked with in her early days, earning her a lot of respect in comedy, particularly as she afforded opportunities to Black women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. 


She landed a Primetime Emmy Award for a Saturday Night Live episode she hosted. She wrote a memoir detailing her intense come up which included being homeless for a period of time. She won a Grammy for the Best Comedy Album, and she was only the second Black woman to do it after Whoopi Goldberg, who won it in 1986.

Beyond winning awards, in 2018 and 2019, The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the most powerful 100 people in entertainment and TIME listed her as one of the most influential people in the world in 2018. And perhaps that is what distinguishes DUIs that everyday people get versus DUIs that celebrities get. Influence. Power. It’s also what makes their response and their handling of their DUIs all the more telling.

We’ve seen stars come back from some pretty insane scandals. It took years of whistleblowing for Diddy to finally get the heat he’s been receiving in recent weeks. He was given the BET Lifetime Award in 2022 despite rumours of his abusive ways swirling for years prior. And despite histories of very problematic commentary, women like Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham are still going strong. But it's tough to measure the public’s scale of forgiveness in Tiffany’s case. I think part of that has to do with the fact that she’s Black, part of it has to do with the fact that she’s a woman, but an overwhelming majority of it has to do with just how heinous the allegations she faced were, particularly when you couple that with her lackadaisical response to her latest DUI and all the other sh-t she’s found herself in over the last two years.


I’m mindful of the fact that if there’s one thing Black people are good at, it’s turning trauma into humour. But in this case, the trauma is actually not hers to make light of. The trauma surrounding a DUI belongs to family members of people who may have been critically injured or even left dead as a result of this kind of recklessness. So with that in mind, turning someone else’s trauma into humour isn’t funny, it’s really gross.

I mean, imagine there was a parent or relative of someone who died in a drunk driving accident in the audience when she made that joke, perhaps seeking out comedy for the same reasons we all do – to experience the joy of laughter. It would impact them completely differently than it would someone who has never had the misfortune of ever having to deal with that. 

Just because society has seemingly become desensitized to celebrities getting DUIs, it doesn’t mean drunk driving incidents carry any less threat to innocent civilians everywhere. And though you can’t please everyone, particularly with comedy, this is one of those cases where there is absolutely no question that sensitivity, respect and courtesy is owed.