Tiffany Haddish has had a heck of a year after starring in “Girls Trip” and becoming the first black female comic to host “Saturday Night Live.” But none of that would have been possible without her childhood bullies, whom she now thanks for making her rich.
“I’m fixing to take all the mean stuff [those] bullies used to say about me and I’m going to make money off it,” Haddish said on “Good Morning America” today of her inspiration for her new memoir, “The Last Black Unicorn.”
She credited the unicorn analogy she uses in her book title to a nickname she used to get called in school because of the wart she had on her forehead.
“I used to get picked on school a lot. What I thought was a mole was a wart,” said Haddish. “I had a wart growing out of my forehead and it kind of looked like a horn and kids used to call me a dirty unicorn. It used to hurt my feelings really bad and I did things to myself that I probably shouldn’t have.”
But then she had the epiphany that “They’re saying this for a reason,” she added. “Obviously they like me because they’re looking at my horn. Obviously they’re into me. As I got older, I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m fixing to take all the mean stuff [those] bullies used to say about me and I’m going to make money off it.'”
In a personal victory of her own, she recalled a proud moment when singer Mary J. Blige thanked her for helping her get through a rough time after they met at Queen Latifah’s house.
“It was my birthday weekend and I went to DJ Khaled’s birthday party and I ran into Mary and she’s like, ‘I need to tell you something,’” Haddish recalled of their conversation. “'That day at La’s house, I was going through a lot and nobody knew about it at the time but you made me laugh so hard, you made me feel so good, it made me forget about all my problems and I just want to thank you so much for that.' And I’m like, ‘You made me forget about all my problems with all your good music.’ We were tooting each other’s horns.”
Haddish also livened up the “GMA” studio by showing off her skills as a former “energy producer" that would hype up crowds for corporate parties and Bar Mitzvahs. Haddish even had fun with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, taking him by the tie and getting him up and dancing.
Haddish also bonded with Joy Behar on "The View" as both women successfully broke in the male-dominated industry of comedy.
"You have to be really strong,” Haddish said. Men “will tell you you're not funny, they'll tell you, 'If you do this, if you do that, I'll let you open up for me.’”
But Haddish says she rejected that premise. “I’m gonna use my talent, use my know-how, and I’m gonna use my work ethic to achieve,” she said.
“One day, you're gonna ask to open up for me,” Haddish continued. “And that's what happened."
Haddish opened up about being the first black female comedian to host “SNL” — and said she called Whoopi Goldberg for guidance.
"I thought that Whoopi hosted it!” Haddish said. “I was harassing everybody that I knew to get me her number so I could be like, 'Girl! Tell me how to do it!'”
And when she finally got in touch with Goldberg, Haddish said she told her, “I just did a sketch! You’re the first!”
“You told me to do a good job — I did my best to do it!" Haddish told Goldberg on “The View.”
Haddish also opened about the sweet reason she calls Kevin Hart her “comedy angel” — because of a selfless act from the acclaimed comic while she was homeless and living out of her car.
Haddish said that at the time, she had “a lot of pride” and went to great lengths, including keeping “my nails and my hair done,” to not let on to others that she was homeless.
When Hart saw her car full of belongings, she says she responded: “I'm between houses right now. Just leave me alone!”
Haddish said Hart gave her $300 and instructed her to get a hotel room, write a list of goals for herself "and start achieving, start tackling those goals.”
"I took the money ... I got me a little hourly spot,” Haddish said. “Took a shower, wrote out a list and started tackling them. And here I am today!"