Tiffany Haddish performed in Miami on New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t her best set. It sounds like it wasn’t close to her best set. She forgot some of her jokes. She was heckled. People walked out. People who didn’t walk out filmed some of the most awkward moments. At one point, Tiffany acknowledged she was bombing and ended up inviting people up on stage to drink with her. Now, because of a bad day at work, and we all have bad days at work, some are saying she’s cancelled. Which is why others are stepping up to defend her. Because, again, we all have bad days at work. And comics especially have a LOT of bad days at work. Every comic bombs now and again. Every performer bombs now and again. You know who else has bombed on New Year’s Eve? That would be Mariah Carey. Two years ago. Mimi wasn’t cancelled. Mimi is just fine. In fact, Mimi is finer than she’s been in years. So any performer who claims they’ve never bombed? Is a liar and a fraud.
That said, failure is a part of improvement. There’s a lot of learning that happens in failure, there’s a lot of work that can be done out of failure. Here’s Tiffany on Instagram the day of the show, hours before she bombed:
Here’s Tiffany after the show bombed:
Yes this happened. I wish it was better Miami. I prayed on it and I have a strong feeling this will never happened again. Tiffany Haddish Bombs, Drinks with Fans Instead https://t.co/4QxPn0j0xc via @TheRoot— Tiffany Haddish (@TiffanyHaddish) January 1, 2019
No denials. No excuses. “Yes, this happened” is an acknowledgement that she was not prepared. That’s work too, to admit to yourself that, well, it was all on you. I appreciate that she’s owning it. I also appreciate this tweet from Marlon Wayans:
To be honest New Year’s Eve sets are haaaaard as fuck! I had a weird ass ending to my show last night too. Stopped mid joke to do countdown then... GOOD NIGHT— marlon wayans (@MarlonWayans) January 1, 2019
That’s one comic relating to another about the work of being a comic doing a show on that specific night. Beyond the fact that Tiffany was over-partied and not prepared, for some comics, certain nights are more difficult than others. Because of course NYE is a mood. People who buy tickets to a show already have expectations. People who buy tickets for a NYE show have even higher expectations. They’re expecting the person on stage to give them one of the most memorable NYE experiences they’ve ever had. The feeling is that that experience sets a tone, sets up their hopes, they’re more jacked than ever, and the performer has to calibrate that enthusiasm, internalise it, and send it back out there. Tiffany Haddish did not deliver on that. If there is a next time then, she now knows what’s expected, of any show, New Year’s or not, but ESPECIALLY for a New Year’s Eve show, especially now that she’s this famous, this popular, and people are coming to see her on New Year’s Eve. This is the way I read her tweet – that she is ready to put in the work to put this behind her. Which is more than we’ve seen from, ahem, some other comics recently and they haven’t been cancelled so why should Tiffany Haddish?