That was the phrase Tiffany Haddish repeated to the crowds at her two sold out shows at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa Friday, March 9. And she meant it.
Where most comedians pad their shows with a litany of observations staring with questions like “Isn’t it crazy how…” and “Don’t you hate it when …” and “Why is it that …,” Haddish shook up the format. A good comic can put together a successful show using those platitudes. But it takes an even greater comic to hinge a show around off-the-cuff questions thrown out by an audience.
Tiffany Haddish sparkles at Borgata show and CASA meet-and-greet
On Friday, March 2, Tiffany Haddish performed two sold out shows at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Before her first show, she did a meet-and-greet with fans, with the proceeds going to support CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Photos courtesy of Borgata.
But Haddish is that great. There’s a reason why she’s a New York Times best selling author. There’s a reason why she’s the first black, woman comedian to host “Saturday Night Live.” There’s a reason why people left “Girl’s Trip” raving about her, instead of the icons she co-starred with. There’s a reason why she stole the Oscars. She’s just that talented — a comedy legend in the making.
Her show, part of the #SheReady tour, felt more like a conversation with an old friend than it did a comedy set in the typical sense, but make no mistake — she had the audience roaring. Going to Haddish’s show is like having a sleepover with your funniest friend. Except she’s funnier than your funniest friend. She’s the down-to-earth, sometimes raunchy, always hilarious best friend you wish you had.
Her “Any questions?” format is a breath of fresh air, a true testament to someone who is, first of all, able to adapt quickly to audience interaction, and, second of all, brave enough to talk about any of the topics the audience called out.
“Beyonce!” one person shouted out, referring to the alleged feud between Haddish and the singer, who referenced Haddish in a song after she told a story about Beyonce stepping in to stop a woman from flirting with Jay-Z. Where others may have balked at the call to talk about drama with an A-list celebrity, Haddish took it as an opportunity to crack jokes about her time at the Oscars — from asking Meryl Streep to be her mom, to getting hit on by Drake’s father, to bonding big time with Maya Rudolf, eventually telling a story about attending Beyonce and Jay-Z’s after party, where the two expressed nothing but love for one another.
“Mo’Nique!” — this time a nod to actress and comedian Mo’Nique’s campaign to boycott Netflix for not paying her as much for her stand up special as comedians like Amy Schemer and Chris Rock. Haddish, who recently joined the upcoming animated Netflix show “Tuca and Bertie,” was mentioned by Mo’Nique in relation to the controversy. This time, Haddish was more direct, addressing Mo’Nique’s complaints and throwing less jokes into the fold.
This wasn’t the only time Haddish’s show took on a serious tone. She got choked up when talking about her father; was sincere when expressing the wholeness she felt while visiting her father’s home country of Eritrea. She even ended her show in tears as she “cursed” her audience with happiness — encouraging them to take responsibility for their own joy, a command that made audience members leap to their feet in applause. This conclusion may sound hack, or out of place in a comedy show, especially in an industry dominated by dark humor, self-hating comedians and sadistic jokes. But it’s easy to take Haddish’s practice-what-you-preach advice, as she makes no attempt to hide her difficult past.
She was in and out of foster homes for much of her childhood — and it should be noted that she did a meet and greet before the show, with the profits going to support Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, an organization that advocates for children in the foster care system. At the beginning of her show she talked about moving from foster home to foster home with her belongings carried in a trash bag. Haddish went on to explain how that experience led her to feel comfortable being herself in different environments. She even spoke some Japanese and Spanish with ease, attributing her language skills to what some might see as an unfortunate past.
Haddish’s positivity — her ability to see the best in things and in herself — is apparent. The audience left laughing, uplifted and with quite a few tidbits of Hollywood insider information, courtesy of Haddish’s relentless honesty.
It would be useless to repeat them — they would lose all charm not coming from Haddish. But I will fill you in on Haddish’s now infamous $4,000 Alexander McQueen gown, which she wore to the premier of “Girls Trip,” then again on “SNL,” where she mentioned that she would be wearing it again in the future, then made good on that promise by donning it at the Oscars. I could go on and on about the dress — how it’s a symbol of frugality, Haddish’s rejection of useless fashion taboos and celebrity culture, and her genius commitment to a good bit — but I won’t. Instead I’ll just say, Haddish did promise we’d see it again.