Comedian Tiffany Haddish On Her Power In Hollywood : It's Been a Minute Tiffany Haddish has had a busy year. From starring in prank film Bad Trip, to hosting Kids Say the Darndest Things, to voicing a self-confident toucan in animated series Tuca & Bertie, it seems like she's everywhere. Sam talks to Tiffany about her many projects, her hopes and dreams for the entertainment industry, and she tells a wild story about Nicolas Cage.

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Tiffany Haddish Stays Busy: 'I Want to See Our Stories'

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Listeners, heads-up - this conversation includes a lot of adult language. My guest talks about sex, and she uses profanity. So perhaps listen to this one when kids are not around.


SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders.

TIFFANY HADDISH: Why does Sam look lost?

SANDERS: 'Cause I am.

HADDISH: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Did you say you're trying to - you finding yourself right now?

SANDERS: It's been a journey.

My guest this episode is Tiffany Haddish.

HADDISH: First of all, never heard no Black person like, I got to go find myself. No, that's white people.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: You feel me (ph)? Like, I got to go backpacking through Europe to find myself. That's white kids. I can say it (ph). You ain't never hear no Black person like, I got to go find myself. I'm going to go to Africa, except for, like, maybe Dave Chappelle and me. Like...


SANDERS: Tiffany is so much - actress, comedian, author and all-around funny person. And Tiffany - she has had a really busy year. When we talked, she was drinking out of this branded swag cup for one of the shows she hosts, "Friday Night Vibes," this movie showcase on TBS.

OK, what is that? "Friday Night Vibes" on a Monday morning. Look at you.

HADDISH: Yes, drinking coconut water from the coconut.

SANDERS: Wow. I tried coconut water once. Didn't like it.

HADDISH: Well, did you try it out of a bottle or did you try it out of an actual coconut?

SANDERS: Out of a bottle. And I was like, this is...

HADDISH: Yeah, and it's nasty. You know why it's - OK, so coconut...

SANDERS: Tiffany also host "Kids Say The Darndest Things" on CBS. And Tiffany starred in perhaps my favorite movie from 2021 so far, the prank film "Bad Trip." Also, one more thing - Tiffany is a voice of a very self-confident toucan named Tuca in the animated series "Tuca & Bertie."


ALI WONG: (As Bertie) Bertie and Tuca, and Tuca and Bertie. Tuca and Bertie.

SANDERS: And her co-star in this show, comedian Ali Wong as Bertie, a song thrush.


WONG: (As Bertie) I just need to see a good shrink for, like, a session or two. Then, boom, no more panic attacks - easy.

HADDISH: (As Tuca) Aw. I thought I was your panic mechanic.

WONG: (As Bertie) I can't always rely on you. Plus, you're busy going on all your dates.

HADDISH: (As Tuca) Online dating sucks. I can't encapsulate my raw, enigmatic allure in a profile.

SANDERS: "Tuca & Bertie" just returned for its second season on Adult Swim.


SANDERS: All right, we cover a lot of ground in this interview. I talk with Tiffany about her many projects and her hopes and dreams for the entertainment industry. And she also told me perhaps the craziest Nicolas Cage story I have ever heard in my life. All right, let's get to it. We'll begin with "Tuca & Bertie."


SANDERS: If you could be any bird, what bird would you be and why?

HADDISH: Ooh, if I could be any bird in the whole wide world...


HADDISH: ...I would want to be a beautiful - one of those macaw parrots, the big parrot - the red or...


HADDISH: I would want to be a blue one. I would want to be a blue one, though, with the beautiful colored wings underneath. And I would like to sit there and go, (imitating bird calling). What's up? What's up? What's up, y'all? What's up? What's up? What's up, y'all?

SANDERS: (Laughter) I like that.

HADDISH: She ready. She ready.

SANDERS: She ready.

HADDISH: She ready. Like, yeah, I would want to be a bird that could talk, for sure.



SANDERS: So this show, "Tuca & Bertie" - for those hearing this interview, watching this interview who haven't watched the show, tell them what the show is briefly.

HADDISH: So "Tuca & Bertie" is a cartoon, an animated series about two birds, female birds, in their mid-30s that are dealing with real-life issues but in a humorous way. One of them has, you know, the challenge of finding the right therapist.


WONG: (As Bertie) You want me to cut Tuca...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Out of your life, yes. And ditch the boyfriend, too. I suggest a full relationship detox.

WONG: (As Bertie) That's terrible advice. What kind of therapist are you?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) I specialize in severing attachments.

HADDISH: And the other is, like, trying to, you know, deal with not being an alcoholic anymore.


WONG: (As Bertie) And it's harder for me, Tuca. You know that. I can't just get naked and jump in a pool like you can.

HADDISH: (As Tuca) I never asked you to stay sober for me.

WONG: (As Bertie) Well, I wanted to, but...

HADDISH: (As Tuca) Why would you lie about it?

WONG: (As Bertie) I don't know.

HADDISH: Finding their place to fit in the world, but still be open and invulnerable, but be guarded at the same time.

SANDERS: Yeah. I like that your character, Tuca, in the show, she's kind of a hot mess, kind of impulsive, doesn't always have her stuff together. What characteristic of Tuca do you most see in yourself?

HADDISH: I most see the I-can-do-anything aspect of her.


HADDISH: That's definitely a lot of me.


HADDISH: I wish I had a driving force like that, a thing I'm so good at it kicks the asses of all the other things I'm good at. But I'm equally exemplary at all things. Damn my extreme competence (ph).

I really believe I can do anything. I might not be the best at it, but I can - I'll try it. That's me. And she's a really good - you know, she might be kind of into herself a little bit, which I guess I can be that, too, but she just cares about her friends. She really super cares about her friends and will do anything...

SANDERS: Yeah, yes.

HADDISH: ...For her friend. And that...


HADDISH: ...Is me 110%. I ride for my friends 'cause I feel like that's a family I made. Like...


HADDISH: ...You got the family that God gave you, but - and that's what I feel like is the dynamic between Tuca and Bertie. They made this sisterhood together.

SANDERS: So this show goes very deep into the complexities of deep female friendships, and all of the reviews talk about how it's really awesome to see friendship explored in this way. I'm wondering if doing the show, voicing the show has changed the way that you look at friendship yourself.

HADDISH: No, it hasn't changed the way that I look at friendship at all. I think my friendships are, like, the most important thing in the world, and I...


HADDISH: ...Focus on them like I've always focused on them. I guess I feel like 'cause coming out of foster care, you know, in that system, I was building family, I was building friends. And I think of my friends...

SANDERS: Several times over.

HADDISH: Right. And when I call you friend, I'm calling you family, really.


HADDISH: If I call you - if I'm like, that's my beau, that's my associate, you know, we cool. That's the homie. You know, that's a homie, but you not really my friend.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

HADDISH: You're not somebody that...

SANDERS: Friends here is families here.


SANDERS: I get that.


SANDERS: I get that.

HADDISH: For me, anyway.

SANDERS: Yeah. So besides on "Tuca & Bertie," I just watched you - I think I watched that movie four or five times, and I interviewed Eric Andre about it - "Bad Trip," what I think is one of the best films I've seen in the last several years. I cannot speak highly enough of this movie and your role in it. You've talked about it already, but I just got to ask you about it again. How much fun was it 'cause it looked so much fun?

HADDISH: It was super fun. It was really fun to be able to play, like, a hardass and, like, be in the moment in improv. Like, OK, we know what the bones of the sketch is. We know what we're trying to get out of these people. Go for it. And it's like, yeah. Let me tell you something. There was some parts that was really scary for me. Like...

SANDERS: Like what?

HADDISH: Like when I got into it with that - with the white man, you know, and I'm arguing with him like, I know you know them. I know you know them.


HADDISH: (As Trina Malone) This is you.

CRAIG: I know.

HADDISH: (As Trina Malone) Your name is Craig (ph), right?

CRAIG: It is. And I don't...

HADDISH: (As Trina Malone) Where is these dudes at?

CRAIG: I don't know where they're at.

HADDISH: (As Trina Malone) Well, when you see them, the next time you see these [expletive], let them know I'm going to kill their ass.

CRAIG: Well, I ain't got your car. And stop yelling at me.

HADDISH: (As Trina Malone) No. You know where my car at, Craig. Seen your ass on Facebook and everything with them. What the [expletive]? Where's my car at?

CRAIG: Ask your [expletive] brother.

HADDISH: (As Trina Malone) Tell me where my car at.

That one right there - I thought he was going to punch me. I really was like, oh, they going to...


HADDISH: Yeah, y'all going to have to drop these cameras y'all got and these backpacks and all this, and y'all going to have to come and get me 'cause I'm fighting him back 'cause he was very upset, so. And I told them. And I said, y'all hiring me. That's cool. But just know if somebody to try to fight me, I'm going...

SANDERS: It's on.

HADDISH: ...To be whipping their ass. I'm going to fight. I'm going to fight.


HADDISH: If they try me...

SANDERS: Got to do what you got to do.

HADDISH: ...If they put their hands on me, I'm with it. I'm with the [expletive]. I'm with it.

SANDERS: She's ready...


SANDERS: ...As you might say.

HADDISH: Yeah. They got to touch me first, though. So you better knock me out. You better knock me out.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: Once you touch me, it's on. It's a wrap. It's a wrap.

SANDERS: It's on. It's on.

HADDISH: That's what my mama taught me.

SANDERS: Coming up, Tiffany Haddish is very, very famous for her funny stories about celebrities. If you didn't know this already, just Google these words - Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith, Groupon. When we come back, Tiffany shares another celebrity story, this one about Nicolas Cage. And trust me; it is one for the ages.

You're doing voiceover work in "Tuca & Bertie." You're doing prank stuff in "Bad Trip." You've done other movies that are scripted. What is the hardest type of acting for you? She's like, like none of it's hard. I'm good at all of it.

HADDISH: No, there is some hard acting. So I did a movie with - it's going to be coming out, I think, this year, with Nicolas Cage. And...

SANDERS: Wait. Shut up.

HADDISH: Yeah, I did a movie with Nicolas Cage...

SANDERS: He's the OG.

HADDISH: ...Called...

SANDERS: Oh, my God.

HADDISH: I don't know if they're going to keep that name, but I think it's called "The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent." And he's amazing, right? He's like, (imitating explosion) amazing, mind-blowing. He's good at what he does. He's been doing it a long time. And I felt like it was - the hardest thing for me to do in acting is to act when I don't know who I'm acting with or I haven't met who I'm acting with and I have a story to tell that person, but...


HADDISH: ...I have to be in this character, but my brain is like, you got to tell them; you better tell them; you got to. And so, like, I got this thing. You know, like if I see something, I say it, but we're doing this thing. And I don't know Nicolas Cage, and he seems to be like the kind of guy that's like, all right, so now we're going to do this scene, and this is how it goes. And, all right, here we go. Nice to meet you. (Laughter) I'm like, I've been watching you my whole life, and I have to tell you this, like, thing.

SANDERS: There's no bond? Yeah.

HADDISH: Like, it's like as soon as you're there, it's on. And it's like, I'm not ready yet. She's not ready. I had to tell him this story.

SANDERS: Was he cool, though?

HADDISH: He was cool. You could tell he was getting irritated. And I was like, look; I'm really intimidated by you, and I need to tell you something. He was like, you, Tiffany Haddish, intimidated? And I have to tell you this story, man. Once I tell you the story, it'll be fine. So I'll tell him the story, and everything was fine.

SANDERS: Can you tell me the story?

HADDISH: When I was 17 - is this a story I should tell? This might be inappropriate.

SANDERS: Yes, yeah. Do it, do it, do it.

HADDISH: Tell the inappropriate story? That was - it was a debate of that, too. Should I tell Nicolas Cage this? Is this - this is inappropriate, though, I think. I don't know. I don't want him to hit me with the sexual harassment, but I got to tell him. And he thought it was hilarious.

SANDERS: You got to tell him.

HADDISH: So basically, I was at the movie theater seeing "Face/Off." I was about 17 years old, on a date with this guy. And nobody else was in the theater, really. It was just us in the back of the theater. And we started to make out. We started making out and stuff. And then it was my first time being fiddled with. I will say it like that, OK?

SANDERS: (Laughter) OK.

HADDISH: And as I was...

SANDERS: Thank you, Nicolas Cage.

HADDISH: As I was achieving a momentous moment that I had never experienced in my life, I opened my eyes, and the eyes of Nicolas Cage are looking into my eyes super big, right? So - and that was my first big O. So...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: So now I'm standing across from this man with those same, big, old eyeballs and same eyes. They might not be massive, like a movie screen big, but those are the same exact eyes, and they're looking at me in real life, in real time. And all I can think about is the guy that I went to the movies with and how we were like - you know, and we were making out and then that feeling and then how weird I feel in remembering this in front of him. And then there he is looking at me, and my brain is just like, do you remember that day? Oh, my gosh. We had popcorn, and we had this. And there was - and then you were like - and his eyes are still blue. His eyes were, like, looking at us, and then they're looking at us now. Should we be doing it right now? Like, what are we doing, you know?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: And it was just like, oh, I have to tell him this story so it can go away. And when I told...

SANDERS: So when you told him, what did he do?

HADDISH: He laughed super hard.


HADDISH: He goes, you know, my first wife - she saw me in a movie, and she said she was going to marry me, and we ended up getting married. I said, yeah, well, I didn't say that I was going to marry you, nor let you put your fingers anywhere on me, OK? I'm just letting you know...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: ...That that's the thought that's been running through my mind and is keeping me from doing my job. But now that I've told you, I think this is going to be just fine. And - oh. So, like, my - like, it is hard for me to perform, it's hard for me to act in anything if there is, like, a mental distraction going on.

SANDERS: Why the - why aren't more celebrities as candid about interacting with other celebrities like you are?

HADDISH: I guess because...

SANDERS: A lot of folks are so cagey about this stuff.

HADDISH: 'Cause maybe they didn't have a good interaction with them, or maybe they're like - oh, they're afraid that nobody will want to work with them anymore. I mean, I'm not out here talking bad about anybody.


HADDISH: I think there's some pretty amazing people, and people don't know it 'cause they don't talk about it. Just the people that know them know. I like to share my experiences. I love - I think that's important. And I think when people encounter me, they know that Tiffany is probably going to share this, so they treat - I'm treated very well. Only if you have been mean, nasty and rude, and I think that's because that's who they are, and I don't talk about them. They don't get to shine with the Haddish, you understand. I don't talk about them.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Shine with the Haddish. You know, all these stories about you having fun with adults, with actors, you also host "Kids Say The Darndest Things"...


SANDERS: ...On CBS. And it seems as if you like the kids, too. They're pretty fun to talk to.

HADDISH: I mean, to be honest with you, I enjoy being around kids sometimes more than adults because they're more - like, they lie. Kids lie. But they're pretty honest, too, you know?

SANDERS: They're emotionally honest. They can't hide their emotions.

HADDISH: They cannot hide their emotions. And I'm really good at reading people, especially kids. And they make me laugh. Also, I feel like sometimes I'm a kid, and to be around them reminds me that I'm not the kid that I see in my head, but I am a kid in some ways.

SANDERS: So how many kids do you want?

HADDISH: I was thinking - OK, and tell me if I'm crazy. I was thinking about getting about four or five of them.

SANDERS: You're crazy. You're crazy.

HADDISH: No awesome Josephine Baker-type stuff. Now, I'd get them older, 5 and up.


HADDISH: OK, 5 to 13, OK?


HADDISH: So they could be - you know, they could talk to me. They could tell me what's going on with them. I was hanging out this past weekend with some of my friends who - they were adopted, and they're telling me their story. And then turns out, like, his wife and her friend and her sister, they were adopted as well. And they were telling me their adoption story. And I was like, wow. First of all, I've known you all these years, and I didn't know that you - I didn't know that she was adopted. And she's from Russia. They're telling me how, like, they have a ballet that they were in, and they had to, like, sing and dance and stuff. And they would come to America and perform it, and people would pick them. And I was like, oh, my God.

SANDERS: Are you serious?

HADDISH: Yes, people would pick them.


HADDISH: And I was like, this is crazy. This was, like, in the '90s. This is not, like, a long time ago - like, that long ago.


HADDISH: And I was like, oh, my goodness, 'cause it's so expensive. It's like - I'm, like, going through the process, and it is crazy process.


HADDISH: And something done like this - she's like, you should go overseas. You should go overseas. And I was like, oh, yeah, I could definitely go to Africa and adopt. She was like, no, I was talking about Russia or the Ukraine. I was like, do you...

SANDERS: Would you get a white kid?

HADDISH: Yes. But I'm like...


HADDISH: ...The world would probably burn up (ph). They would probably go bananas, like, 'cause what celebrity have you seen - Black celebrity have you ever seen adopt a white baby?

SANDERS: I've never seen it.

HADDISH: I mean, but I could be like, oh, would you like to have some babies for me? I could get somebody to have babies for me, I guess. But I think - now, I'm no cap. I would adopt any kind of a child. It doesn't matter if they're Black or whatever. But, you know, the way that they talk to me at the agency, the adoption people, they make it seem like it's - like, no, that's not an option, or the only option...

SANDERS: Yeah, white babies.

HADDISH: It feels like the only option is Black for me. That's what it feels like the option is, or maybe mixed. That's what it feels like...


HADDISH: ...When they talk to me. But like I tell them, any one will do. You know, 5 to 13 is where I'm looking.

SANDERS: Yeah. All right, there you go. There you go. My favorite moment, speaking of you and kids, was when you were hosting the show with the kids on CBS, and you find out while filming with the kids that you won a Grammy for best comedy album.


HADDISH: I've been nominated a couple of times for some things...

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER: But I just won a Grammy.

HADDISH: ...And I love - I just what?

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER: You just won a Grammy.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You just love being nominated.

HADDISH: I just won a Grammy?


HADDISH: I just - are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER: I'm not lying. I'm telling you the truth.

HADDISH: Wait, wait, wait. Y'all see this...

SANDERS: It's still, like, one of the just purest emotional moments I've seen in a long time. How was that moment? 'Cause you find out you win this Grammy for best comedy album, which hasn't happened for a Black woman in, like, 30, 35 years, since Whoopi.

HADDISH: Yes, since the '80s, yes.

SANDERS: And you processed that in real time in front of these kids. How was that?

HADDISH: That moment on "Kids Say" when I was - when I found out I won the Grammy was huge for me. And it was so historical and so important that it happened at that moment, right? I did not think it was going to happen at all, so I wasn't...

SANDERS: Really? Who did you think was going to win?

HADDISH: Jerry Seinfeld or Bill Burr. Like, I would like it to have been - like, if I was going to lose, I would like it to have been to Bill Burr 'cause I think he...


HADDISH: ...Is one of the funniest comics. I know he deserves it. Like, I think he's amazing. But for me to win, I was like, what?

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

HADDISH: Seriously? And then I'm here with these two beautiful little brown girls, you know, and they're seeing this happen. And I'm trying to compose myself.


HADDISH: Can I tell you why I'm crying?


HADDISH: It's a lot of bumpy roads that you cross, right? And it's a lot of times you feel like, well, am I doing the right thing? Is this really - is this good enough? Am I good enough? Am I strong enough to do this job? And then you just have to believe in yourself as much as you can.

Like, there's a part of me that wanted to fall out on the floor and be like, what, like, - you know, and cry really hard...


HADDISH: ...Because I worked so hard, I worked - and for so long. And to be recognized by my peers like, we approve of this, Tiffany; you're great, like, that's huge. And then - and for it not to have happened for so many years - right? - it's like...


HADDISH: ...Insane. And it's a category that's been around from the beginning. So...

SANDERS: Yeah. Do you think it's getting better for women in comedy?

HADDISH: I think so. I'm hoping so. It feels like it is. I feel like if the women look out for each other more - like, just in all aspects, if women just started supporting each other more like men do - I feel like, man, you guys, like, really look out for each other.

SANDERS: Coming up, Tiffany stays busy for a very good reason.

You have said in interviews that you want to make 80 films by the time you're 50. That's a lot. Where do you think that drive comes from? 'Cause a lot of folks are like, let me do enough movies to make enough money to sit my butt down and retire.

HADDISH: Well, here goes my thing - 80 films - I don't necessarily have to be in all of them...


HADDISH: ...And they don't all have to be great. I want to make 80, though, 'cause I just feel like that will create a lot of jobs for people. Every time you make a movie - I think the smallest crew could be at 50, and the largest crew could be, like, 500 people. That's how many jobs are you creating? How much generational wealth are you creating when you get to tell a story and give other people opportunity to tell their story with you? So that's why.

SANDERS: Well, that's really nice.

HADDISH: At first I would - when people would ask me that, I would just be like, oh, it's just something I want to do 'cause I was, like, scared to be like, I want to give people jobs. I want to see us working. I want to see our stories. And at first I was scared to say that out loud 'cause I thought, like, oh, somebody's like - like, they try to put this idea in your mind, like the white man upstairs, the man upstairs going to block you. He going to keep you from - when you talk about you want to give Black people jobs, you talk about what you want to do today, integrate and all, they going to block you. And what I realized is it's not nobody blocking you but you, right? Nobody blocks you but you.

SANDERS: And the white guy that we imagine usually isn't even there. And sometimes a white guy that we imagine who wants to say no is looking at us and saying, oh, there's dollars here. Black folks spend money, too.

HADDISH: Yes, and we'd like to make some of those dollars with you.

SANDERS: Yes, yes.

HADDISH: So what is it you're trying to do? What is it? OK, I don't understand it completely, but this is - OK, so this is what your people are into, though, right? I'm willing to invest in that. I'm willing.


HADDISH: I want to see.

SANDERS: Yeah. It does feel like the moment where, like, finally, these studios and these power players in the industry are realizing that Black and brown people spend money to be entertained and you should be making stuff that caters to them. And you know what's weird, Tiffany? It feels like there are waves and ebbs and flows. I feel like when I was a kid in the early '90s, there were so many Black sitcoms, so many Black movies. It was everywhere, and then it went away. And now it seems like some of it's coming back. I don't know. Like, how do you feel? I mean, like, big picture, do you think the industry is just, like, getting more of us?

HADDISH: Well, big picture, let's just look at the history of television - the history of television.




HADDISH: So it starts off very, very white. Then, like, the '70s come along, and Black exploitation movies and films, TV shows come out, right? That kind of saved Hollywood. The Black exploitation run saves Hollywood, saves the movie industry, saves the, you know, different TV sets, so then, oh, OK, all right, so there's a market here. OK, we can - we get our money up. We get to where we're good. Well, let's go back to what we know. Let's go back to what we know. Oh, shoot, we're falling off, we're falling off, we're falling off. Ah (clapping) let's get back to Black. Let's get back to Black.

SANDERS: Get back to Black.

HADDISH: Back to Black.

SANDERS: I remember when, like, UPN started. Like, UPN was Black.

HADDISH: UPN to CW, remember that?

SANDERS: CW with the little Black frog mascot dancing around.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Dubba, dubba, dubba, dubba, dubba, dubba, WB (ph).

SANDERS: And they were so Black, so Black, so Black until they didn't have to be. And then it was, like, "Felicity."

HADDISH: Until they didn't have to be. And then - yes, then it changes. So it's like, we can't get comfortable just because we see us and then don't request anything else. We have to keep putting in those requests, keep creating, keep the content going. And now there's no excuse. There are so many outlets. There's thousands of TV stations. There's so many - there's YouTube. There's all these different streaming things. There are so many avenues for us to create and tell our stories. There's even streaming sites that are Black-owned, Africa-based whatever, that we could be putting our content up. And as long as we keep watching it and supporting it, they'll keep making more. When we're not supporting, they're like, well, we're not making no money off of this. What are we doing this for?

SANDERS: There you go. I agree. I agree. I like that. So then I know we're talking about Black movies, Black art, Black productivity. But I will say you talk a lot about Meryl Streep and how much you like her. Y'all do a movie together. What's it about?

HADDISH: OK, so I got a few options. I got, like, six.

SANDERS: OK, you've thought about this. You've thought about this.

HADDISH: I don't want to give all the juice away. But we could do one where she's a coach of sorts, OK? She's a coach, and I'm being coached by her. We could do that.

SANDERS: Life coach? Sports coaching?

HADDISH: You name it. You name it.


HADDISH: I'll take her guidance. It could be a doula, OK? She could be my doula helping me with my babies. Who knows?

SANDERS: Wow. I would watch that movie.

HADDISH: It could be some witchcraft stuff. She's teaching me how to, you know, heal some crazy vortex that's been created in the universe that's hurting people of color. And she shows me how to fix the vortex and, you know, heal the nation. I don't know. Or she play my mama, right? OK, so this - in my mind, this is what it is. OK.

SANDERS: Explain that.

HADDISH: So she marries my dad, right? My dad is a single dad raising me. She marries my dad. Turns out, though, she more - how should I say - sassy than you would think, right? And so everything I learned from her. And so I'm, like, loud, sassy, like, hey, what's up? And it turns out I get it from my white mom.

SANDERS: You got to call this movie "White Mom."

HADDISH: We're calling it "Girls Trip 2" (ph). We're calling it Girls Trip 2."

SANDERS: (Laughter) Mer, are you listening? Do this.

HADDISH: I think she should. I think she should play my mama, who's, like, super - like, when you first meet her, you think she's so like, oh, hello, hello. And then you say something and she be like what? Who is she talking to? Like, I just want to see Meryl Streep go off, OK? I just want to see Meryl Streep head go, what? Are you serious?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: I want to say boop (ph). I want to hit that - hit it to the left. What? Let me tell you something, OK? You messing with the wrong - I just want to see her go - and I want to see her snatch the soul, you know, when you throw the hand out and pull it back. When you're talking to someone and throwing the hand out and pull it back, that's soul snatching right there. That's like I'm pulling your card, hunty. We don't play this. I want to see her...

SANDERS: Well, so much of her soul snatching when she is in movies is, like, so restrained. Like, I think of her in "Devil Wears Prada," her soul snatching just being like...


MERYL STREEP: (As Miranda Priestly) What you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue. It's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean.

SANDERS: Like, that was a snatch. She's so subtle with it. But you're saying you want to see it buchow (ph) like elevated or escalated.

HADDISH: I want to see her over the top with it. Maybe we do a short film and we just get just - just where I'm giving - I'm culturing her on hood tactics. I just want to see her sassy as hell. I just want to see that because I think she could do it.

SANDERS: She could do anything. It's Meryl Streep.

HADDISH: You can do anything.

SANDERS: She could do it.

HADDISH: I would love to see her as a social worker who don't give a [expletive] and then she need somebody that make her care. And that's me.

SANDERS: Do all of these things. I like that. Have you met her before?

HADDISH: Yes, only once.

SANDERS: Was she sweet?

HADDISH: She was the best. She was the best. I ran up on her at the red carpet at the Oscars, and then I told her she going to be my mama one day. And she was like, OK. And she knew who I was. She was like (unintelligible). I was like, Meryl Streep, are we - you're going to be my mama one day. I'm just letting you know right now, at some point in time, you're going to be my mama on something, some kind of way, shape or form. I don't know. And she was like, OK, OK, honey. And then I did my little part on the Oscars and I said the thing again that she going to be my mama just for one day, one day, just one day.

SANDERS: Just for one day. Before all of this meeting celebrities, governors ball, Meryl Streep business, what was the worst job you had before comedy and acting took off?

HADDISH: Phone sex operator.

SANDERS: I did not know you did that.


SANDERS: I read everything about you and didn't read that.

HADDISH: It was only for 30 days.

SANDERS: OK. What was your persona?

HADDISH: My name is Patricia. I'm Hawaiian and Black. I'm a student at USC. I'm also a cheerleader.

SANDERS: So 30 days, you don't like it.

HADDISH: And did you say - did you - wait, can you repeat that last question again?

SANDERS: Oh, I was asking, did you like it? Like, worst job before you began acting and that took off...

HADDISH: No, no, you said that - you were saying something about my breast size and how hard I was.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: No. I'm really strong, but you're probably hard. And that's why you said that. You're so nasty. Ew, Samuel, don't play like that.

SANDERS: (Laughter) I'm blushing, Tiffany. I'm blushing. Oh, my God. What did 30 days of being a phone sex operator teach you, if anything?

HADDISH: That men are disgusting.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: Men are so nasty. And a lot of them are so lonely. They just want somebody to talk to. A lot of times there's not even sex talk going on. It's more just, like, my wife is this. My job is that. Like, they don't have anybody to talk to.

SANDERS: Men don't talk. We're not trained to talk. We're trained to do. We're not trained to talk.

HADDISH: Right. So when they call in on this line, they just start pouring their hearts out. And it's like, whoa. Men are different (laughter). They're so different. They're so different, so vulnerable, so sweet. A lot of - very sensitive. And somebody, like, at work will say something to them that they don't like, and they'll be holding that all day long, all night, till, like, 4:00, 3 o'clock in the morning. And they call me, and they're like, Patricia, are you there? And I'm like, yeah, I'm here. I just finished studying for my finals. I'm so lonely right now. Me too. I'm lonely, too. Why are you lonely? Why are you lonely, Sam? You're so handsome. Thank you.

SANDERS: Really? You think so?

HADDISH: Yeah. You know you're handsome, Sam.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: My favorite thing about you is the way you laugh. When you giggle, it just - I don't know. It does something to my insides. It makes me feel so good.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HADDISH: Yeah. That giggle right there, Sam, that's my favorite.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Girl.

HADDISH: I love it.

SANDERS: Tiffany (laughter).

HADDISH: I just know you're feeling some joy in your heart - right? - when you giggle like that. Like - it's, like, also maybe a little discomfort, but that's OK. Sometimes it's - you've got to be a little uncomfortable to change, you know?

SANDERS: There you go. You know, we talked a little bit about, like, the work that you were doing before your career really took off in this way. But, like, it was more than just phone sex operating. Like, you were broke. And I remember reading about you having to sleep in your car, but you were like, if I'm going to do it, it's going to be in Beverly Hills. So you were sleeping in your car in Beverly Hills. How long was that going on?

HADDISH: For, like, three months. Yeah, for three months.



SANDERS: And then...

HADDISH: It happened three different times and, like, three months each time. So that was like - I had to learn. I feel like that was, like, God teaching me - like, learning to be humble enough, not to have so much pride. Because I had a lot of pride and didn't want to ask for help. And I had to learn how to ask for help.

SANDERS: Yeah. And, well - and if this is - correct me if I'm wrong. Kevin Hart ended up hooking you up with some money to get out of your car.


SANDERS: That's crazy.


SANDERS: That's amazing.

HADDISH: Yeah, he did.

SANDERS: How much did he give you?

HADDISH: Three hundred dollars. Kevin saw the stuff in my car and was like, what's going on with you? I was, like, trying to be real - you know, like, not really asking for help or anything. And he would not leave me alone about it. And I told him what was going on, and he gave me $300 and said, get yourself a hotel room for the week and figure out what you're going to do. Like, make a list of goals. Get yourself a list of goals and start attacking those goals. Every day do at least one thing for each goal, right? And then I was like, where am I going? I said, what hotel can I stay in for a whole week for $300 in LA? Nowhere.

SANDERS: Not a nice one. Not a nice one, yeah.

HADDISH: Not a nice one. Definitely not a nice one. Not even a bad one, not for $300 for the week. I mean...

SANDERS: But you found something.

HADDISH: But I found an hourly spot. So I went there, you know, to momo (ph)...

SANDERS: Yeah (laughter).

HADDISH: ...Took a shower, wrote out everything, took a little nap or whatever. And then I was out. And then it was like everything started to come through. Like, stuff started happening, slowly but surely.

SANDERS: What was the first goal you wrote down? Do you remember?

HADDISH: Get a place to live.

SANDERS: That's a good goal. That's a good goal.


SANDERS: If you could talk now to that Tiffany Haddish, sleeping in the car, getting a room by the hour, trying to figure out her goals, what would you, in your wisdom now, tell her?

HADDISH: I would tell her to - don't worry so much. Don't worry so much. Stay focused, right? You're going to find a place. And don't get married.


SANDERS: Don't get married.


SANDERS: Thanks again to actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish. She is the voice of the character Tuca in the animated series "Tuca & Bertie," which is now airing on Adult Swim. Also, Tiffany Haddish hosts two shows because she stays busy - "Kids Say The Darndest Things" on CBS and "Friday Night Vibes" on TBS. And Tiffany starred in my favorite movie this year, "Bad Trip" on Netflix. Go watch it right now. Trust me on this one. Listeners, you can also watch an extended version director's cut of this interview where you'll see both of our faces, me and Tiffany. Just go to

All right, listeners, I'm going to tell you a secret. For the next few weeks, I'm going to be gone. I'm taking three weeks of vacation all at once. I've never done this before in my life. I'm so excited and also so scared. This episode you're hearing now - it's actually publishing as I'm already out on vacation. But till I get back, the following episodes for the next few weeks - they'll be hosted by my friend and NPR colleague Ayesha Rascoe. She'll begin hosting this Friday, and she'll do it for a few weeks after that. Be nice to her, OK?

All right, this episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Andrea Gutierrez, and it was edited by Jordana Hochman. Also, special thanks to the NPR video crew - Tsering Bista, Nickolai Hammar and Nick Michael. All right, listeners, till we meet again, be good to yourselves. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.

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