Tiffany Haddish sat down with David Letterman for My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and dished about her commendable come up from homelessness to one of the hottest stars in Hollywood.
Haddish shared intimate details about her hard-knock life and the car accident that her mother was severely injured in that resulted in Haddish and her siblings being placed in foster care. Haddish said her mom’s head went through the windshield of her car. She alleged in her book The Last Black Unicorn that her step-father cut the brakes on her mom’s car and tried to kill her, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Her mom she said was different after the accident and had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. Life became increasingly hard for Haddish and her whole family.
“I didn’t want to be with my mom no more, because she had become very violent and verbally abusive,” said Haddish. “You never knew who she was going to be; I was begging my mom to go live with my grandma.”
At the age of 12, the comedian was placed in foster care and says the experience was “the worst feeling in the world.”
“You’re dropped in these strangers’ houses, you don’t know these people, these people don’t know you, you don’t know if they’re gonna hurt you, if they’re gonna be kind, you don’t have a clue what’s going on.”
“I remember when I got my first suitcase, I felt like I was a traveler, like I had a purpose, like I’m a person, like I’m not garbage, I got this — it’s mine, and my things are in here, and wherever I go I can take this with me and I’m going somewhere, I’m a human. I’m not garbage.”
Letterman gave Haddish kudos for her revealing book, The Last Black Unicorn, calling it a “remarkable story.”
“The fact that you not only survived this, but you’ve prevailed, I believe parallel to this that your talent, your ability, your likability, your sense of humor and your inclination for comedy is so of you that it almost has no bearing on your upbringing. You could have been in any circumstance growing up and the same result would have happened. What I’m saying is your talent is so powerful.”
“My talent is what helped me survive,” said the actress who already revealed that she had a homeless stint and lived in her career while pursuing her comedy career.
Haddish turned the negative in her life to a positive outcome.
She became a staple at her community college as the lit mascot who kept people pumped up and cheering, which turned into a paid gig for her, she explained.
Then because of her gregarious personality, Haddish landed gigs performing at bar mitzvahs for 10 years, ultimately earning upwards of $2,500 per party appearance.
By 1997, Haddish hit the comedy circuit and started performing stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp.
“That’s where I learned communication, confidence, I learned how to construct a joke, I learned how to stand in front of a room full of people and not be afraid, and also when to be funny and when not to be funny,” she explained.
Haddish kept Letterman entertained and at one point, even made him get up and dance (or his lack of it) with her.
The Girls Trip star certainly left an indelible impression of the talk show host who said to her:
“I know that culture and family and nurturing and the lack of it can be formative, but you’re your own person, and the power of you is overwhelming and delightful.”