Tiffany Haddish’s stock in the world of comedy is on the rise. She has a role on the comedy television series, The Carmichael Show, alongside Jerrod Carmichael. She also recently appeared in the Key & Peele film, Keanu. Haddish is more than just an actress—she has also established herself as a successful writer and stand-up comic.
I spoke to Tiffany Haddish about her new projects and her thoughts on the art of comedy.
How did you land your role in Keanu?
I auditioned for it. I remember the day I auditioned I got a flat tire on the way there and I was mad. When I got to the audition I still had an attitude at it was very appropriate for the part. It was a bad day that turned out perfectly.
Is auditioning the worst part of your job?
When I first started acting it was difficult for me. Now, I have figured out a way to make it fun. It’s fun for me now. Sometimes it’s hard because they might send you the script the night before. It can be frustrating at times but I try and make it fun. I have something to offer—I feel like I am a salesman. ‘Do you want to buy this?’
You get to share a lot of screen time with Method Man in the film. What was it like working with him?
Method Man was so much fun to work with. He is so talented. When you work with a rapper you think it’s going to be just shits and giggles. But, he is a real performer and a real actor. He was so prepared. It was fun to work with him.
You had to be a fan of Wu-Tang Clan growing up.
Hell yeah! I’m a big Wu-Tang fan.
You also have a part currently on The Carmichael Show. What is it like working on that show?
We get to talk about things that are relevant on the show. I always tell Jerrod I want to do something that means something. Some people may say I am a dirty comic but if you listen to what I am saying it’s about empowering women or empowering men. On The Carmichael Show we are doing something that means something. We are giving people an outlet and platform to talk.
The show is kind of a throw back to the sitcoms of the past that addressed social issues with comedy. That has to be something you are proud of.
It’s definitely a throwback—we should come on Thursdays. I remember being a kid and watching All in the Family and The Jeffersons and you could have a conversation. I would ask my grandmother or aunty, ‘is it okay to date a white man?’ I remember the conversations we would have because of those shows. I feel like The Carmichael Show does that too.
Comedy allows you to address serious issues in a less threatening way. Is that one of the best parts of being a comic?
Comedy is the most awesome thing in the world because it’s healing. You can learn and laugh. All the teachers that made a difference in my life…made me laugh. Comedy is the best teacher.
Comedy can also easily be misused. Sometimes people think they are being funny when actually they are being mean spirited and hurtful. Do you think the misuse of comedy is a major issue today?
There are things people make fun of that are not hitting and it’s insulting. Comedy can be a hateful and nasty place. A lot of the time it’s about the intention. Is it intended to be informative or hurtful? There are a lot of specific examples but I don’t want to be specific.
How do you know when to draw the line and not become hurtful?
You can feel it. You can feel it in your gut. I have written jokes that I thought meant something but I get on stage and I feel like it’s not right. We all have thoughts and in the moment you might think it’s hilarious but when you get on stage you realize it may not be the right place or platform for it.
You can watch The Carmichael Show Sundays on NBC and catch Keanu in theaters everywhere right now!