Why Tiffany Haddish Wants to Play a Historical Figure

Comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish may not be at work right now. But as a rising star, she likely has plenty of offers rolling in for when productions resume. Right now, she has her eyes on a particular kind of role. Here’s what Haddish is interested in these days.

Tiffany Haddish is known for many comedic roles

Tiffany Haddish attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards on February 22, 2020
Tiffany Haddish attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards on February 22, 2020 | Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET

Haddish got her start in the mid-’00s. After recurring in series like Real Husbands of Hollywood, she landed the role of Nekeisha in The Carmichael Show. Around this time, she also began to break out on the big screen in films such as Keanu.

Haddish’s first starring movie role came with the acclaimed 2017 film Girls Trip. Since then she’s appeared in films such as The Kitchen and Like a Boss. She is also known for her stand-up comedy, with specials like Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah.

She’s got a couple of ideas in mind

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Like most in Hollywood, Haddish’s career is experiencing a delay given the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She told The Hollywood Reporter in a June 2020 interview that as things resume, she wants to tell “different types of stories,” adding, “I want to start doing things that represent Black history and not just the slave stuff because we past all that, OK?”

Haddish elaborated on this, saying, “We’ve done a lot of really awesome things as people.” She points to ’80s Olympic track-and-field athlete Florence Griffith Joyner as someone she’d love to play, saying, “I’ve been running every day on my little treadmill, getting my mind right and channeling Flo-Jo.”

Haddish elaborates on the parts she’s passed on

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In addition to projects focused on slavery, Haddish isn’t interested in a few other kinds of roles. She explains that she passed on a small part in the 2014 Chris Rock film Top Five, which involved a demeaning sex scene, saying, “You ought to have a little bit of respect for me, period.”

And Haddish has issues with other recent scripts she’s read, too. You know what’s been coming my way a lot lately? The mama who’s been through something, whose kid ends up being hurt in some way and fighting for justice. And the baby’s sick or I’m trying to get out of jail,” she said.

“Like, no, I’m not doing that. I know people who live that, I’m not doing it,” Haddish continued. “Unless it’s super, super good. The writing has to be impeccable. A lot of times it’s telling these stories that could be powerful, but the writing [turns out to be] garbage.”

She pitches an idea for ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’

Flo-Jo isn’t the only historical role Haddish would like to take on. When Robin Thede, of HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, told Haddish she wants her on the show, the Tuca & Bertie star replied that she wanted to play “a white woman in history…I could be the white woman in The King and I.”

While Thede said they “don’t really cover that kind of material” and choose to “do stuff that can only be done by Black women,” they managed to come to a compromise: A Black woman in history who has been white-washed. “Let’s do Cleopatra,” said Haddish. Thede replied, “OK, you got it. Perfect.”