Entertainers, young and old, famous or not, all have or have had people that they admire, inspiring their decision to step into the foray they chose. These people have shaped their hearts and minds, providing the soul and the heartbeat to their visions and dreams for their future career paths. For many, it would be nothing short of an honor and privilege, as well as an undeniable notch on their belts to not just meet those that inspire them but to have the ability to collaborate with them.
That very same feeling goes for the actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish. Her rise to stardom didn’t come easy, as she appeared in various television shows and movies in walk-on roles, but it wasn’t until 2013 when she had a recurring role on the Real Husbands of Hollywood. She was cast in OWN’s If Loving You Is Wrong for one season before leaving to star as a series regular on The Carmichael Show.
Haddish’s breakthrough role would come in 2017 when she starred in Girls Trip alongside Regina King, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Queen Latifah. Many reviews poured in for the comedian and then-newcomer (to those who were unaware of her previous accomplishments) praising her for her comedic approach, calling her a “scene-stealer”. Variety called Haddish “a relative newcomer who nearly runs away with the movie — the way Melissa McCarthy all but stole ‘Bridesmaids.’”
Following the success of Girls Trip, the actress appeared in many other comedies including Night School alongside Kevin Hart, Tyler Perry’s film Nobody’s Fool, and The Secret Life of Pets 2, garnering much praise and continuing to expand on her fanbase.
With success comes fans, and questions about your past, among other things. Haddish had an interview with Variety where she was asked about her comedic inspirations, among other things. Her response was filled with her truth, but the mention of a particular controversial legendary figure in entertainment directed backlash towards her.
“Definitely Richard Pryor. Bill Cosby — I still want to work with Bill Cosby,” Haddish stated. “I don’t care, I’ll drink the juice. I’ll drink the juice. I’ll take a nap. I don’t give a damn. [laughs] But seriously, I would love for him to play my grandfather in something. Lenny Bruce is one of my people that I look up to. And Carol Burnett, Moms Mabley, even Mo’Nique’s crazy ass. I like her boldness and her truth. But there’s so many women … Regina Hall. Regina is a comedic genius and I love that I got the opportunity to work with her and to watch her and to be able to learn from her. Now, I already have [comedic] timing, but her time is so on time that I want my time to get even better.”
Her comments on Cosby came amidst a time when stories from various women were surrounding the entertainer accused him of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. Fans flooded social media with comments of disappointment towards Haddish. “To soar so high with Girls Trip and then co-sign Bill Cosby the next week is foolish, not funny, Tiffany Haddish,” commented a user on Twitter. Another wrote, “I’m glad I hadn’t started publicly stanning for Tiffany Haddish before she opened her mouth with that Bill Cosby foolishness.”
To soar so high with Girls Trip and then co-sign Bill Cosby the next week is foolish, not funny, Tiffany Haddish.— Sil Lai Abrams AKA Alecto (@Sil_Lai) July 27, 2017
Receiving the words from her fans loud and clear, Haddish came forward to explain herself. “It was a joke,” Haddish stated, according to Vanity Fair. “I don’t know if you’ve ever been interviewed. You go through about 27 interviews and you’re supposed to be humorous—sometimes you are going to make some bad jokes.”
A victim of sexual abuse herself, she continued, “I don’t agree with what [Cosby] did,” she said, “but I’m not afraid of the big bad wolf.”