Tiffany Haddish on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter... what are you still doing here? Go read it! Look at the photos. LOOK AT THIS COVER!!!
So the takeaway that most people will be talking about coming out of this profile will be the Beyoncé thing – who bit Beyoncé? We’ll get to that later. What we must stay on now is Tiffany and where she’s at in her career. There are so many projects namechecked in this article, I could barely keep up – that’s the kind of year it’s been for her. And it’s not stopping any time soon. As she used to say before she broke out, "You better jump on the Tiffany Haddish train while you can. It's movin' slow now, but it's about to pick up steam." So much steam that some of her friends are starting to worry. Tiffany hasn’t had a day off in a while. She’s shooting a movie now. There are standup commitments, there are TV commitments, and there’s working with Tracy Morgan.
She and Tracy started working on a series together before Girls Trip. After Girls Trip, as we know, Tiffany became the big f-cking deal that she is now. And… it doesn’t sound like Tracy appreciated it. Fame is an undiscriminating alchemist. It changes an entire environment. It changes the people around you and your relationships to and with them. Here’s the paragraph about Tracy:
"When the Jimmy Kimmel thing came out, he's like (in Morgan's voice), 'I saw you on Jimmy Kimmel, you was nervous as fuck, huh?' I'm like, 'No …' 'Haddish, come on, I could see it in your eyes, you were scared.' … But you don't argue with Tracy, you just say, 'OK, yeah, you're right.'"
A few days before we meet, Haddish's former Carmichael co-star Lil Rel Howery tweeted a link to an interview Morgan had just given, in which he shut down a question about Haddish. Rel included a message to Morgan: "Don't bite the hand that keeps you relevant!" Haddish says she tried to get her friend to take down the post, but he flat-out refused. "That motherf-cker's a hater," Rel told her. Other comics reached out, too, and she says she told them all the same thing: "You guys, chill. He's probably just tired of hearing my name. It's exhausting. I'm tired of hearing my name. I could see how that could be irritating, like, 'Hello, I died, people. I'm back from the dead. Tiffany's cool, but it's me sitting here now.' So, I get it, I'm not mad about it, I love me some Tracy."
That’s a generosity that many celebrities would have a hard time extending. But Tiffany Haddish’s road to celebrity hasn’t been easy. This is a woman who once went up on stage after allegedly getting beaten up by her ex-husband who, by the way, is now suing her…
There was also a messy marriage and an even messier divorce, though she's no longer able to discuss it since her ex is suing her over the abuse allegations she lobbed in her memoir.
The Laugh Factory's Jamie Masada, who attended the wedding, says he still hasn't shaken the memory he has of Haddish coming into his club with a black eye. "She was crying so much she was gasping for breath," he says. "The emcee comes over and goes, 'Tiffany, you're next,' and I told him, 'You gotta put some other comics on first.' But she says, 'No, I'm going on, these people paid to see me.'" Masada starts to get emotional. "I'll never forget it, she went into the bathroom, threw some water on her face, and then went out onstage, and for 30 minutes she made people laugh. There was so much pain inside her, but she didn't allow any of it to show. In all my years, I've never seen anything like it."
When you make it through that and the universe rewards you, you no longer sweat the small stuff. It doesn’t cost her anything to be understanding of Tracy Morgan and what he might be struggling with.
And it won’t cost her now to tell the story she’s been saving up about Roseanne Barr. The woman who just had her show cancelled. I won’t spoil it for you because the anecdote is best read in context. But just in case you thought maybe her Beyoncé experience would have held her back from talking sh-t about all kinds of famous people now that she’s so famous herself – nope. What she has to say about Leonardo DiCaprio might even be better than that time she was at a party with Beyoncé:
"Yeah, I met him at a party two, three months ago, and I asked him if he'd let me hit that," she begins. "He's like, 'Tiffany, you're so funny.' I'm like, 'I'm serious.' And then he goes, 'I mean, I'd do it, but …' I was like, 'Come on, wasn't you in a squad? The coochie squad or something?' [Editor's note: DiCaprio was famously a member of the "pussy posse" with pals Tobey Maguire and Kevin Connolly.] I told him, 'My only stipulation: I wanna do it with you as your character in What's Eating Gilbert Grape.' He starts bustin' up laughin'. 'Why?' he asks, and I say, 'Cause I feel like that performance deserves a real reward and that reward is this (gestures at her own body).' He starts goin' into how he got into the role, how he worked with these kids and all this stuff, and I'm just listenin' and listenin', like, 'Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.' I finally go, 'All that's good, I just need to know, When's this gonna happen?'"
THE COOCHIE SQUAD!
She said that to his face!
And of course, OF COURSE, he’s that guy who, in the middle of a f-cking hilarious conversation with Tiffany Haddish, decides at a goddamn party, to get into his “work process”. Can we please, once and for all, just collectively agree that Leo DiCaprio is boring AF and has zero charisma?
As for Beyoncé and who bit her… well… I think we have an answer:
With roughly two hours left in our flight, I broach the topic of Beyoncé. In case you missed it, and at this point it's hard to imagine you could have, Haddish recently told an insane story about a private party she'd been at where an actress bit the pop star's face. The mystery of "Who Bit Beyoncé?" all but broke the internet.
Haddish asks whether I know who did it, and I whisper the name that's been rumored: Sanaa Lathan. She smiles. "I'm super good friends with her stepmom and her dad [Stan, a producer-director], and they were mad at me," she reveals. "They were like, 'Why would you do this to the family? You know, black actresses, you guys have to stick together, it's so hard for you guys to get work as it is, why would you try to ruin her career?' But I didn't try to ruin her career. I never said her name! I was just trying to say how Beyoncé kept me from goin' to jail that night. I coulda just shut my whole career down."
You know what’s brilliant about this? It’s the way Tiffany has reframed the gossip. She was gossiping – no problems here – but the gossip led back to HER. And she’s right. She was telling a story about how one night Beyoncé stopped her from what would have been a terrible decision. And in the end, in not making that decision, and instead making the one to tell the story in the first place, the opposite happened. It only enhanced her career. So…why should she stop?
Click here to read the full piece, to see more photos, and watch the video too. I’m pushing for more of this to be included in the next episode of Show Your Work. Because there’s a LOT of work happening here from Tiffany. It’s subtle and sly, but she’s giving us so much career strategy to unpack.