SorryWatch just read The Last Black Unicorn, by Tiffany Haddish. Loved it.
She published it through Book In a Box, a company started by Tucker Max, an author, speaker, and professional drunken bro. The company helps people publish books. SorryWatch doesn’t much care, though some people have made a thing about it because Tucker Max. Whatever. It’s in Haddish’s voice, and that’s what matters.
Haddish mentions some apologies made to her. These were for some ugly insults early in her comedy career. You probably shouldn’t make an enemy of Haddish, but she seems like a fan of apologies.
Let’s start with the comedian she calls Rumpelstiltskin. (The original Rumpelstiltskin being a vicious greedy – but magically talented – extortionist in a fairy tale.)
This Rumpelstiltskin, a comic with some success, did comedy tours. Some of Haddish’s friends had opened for him, and she figured she’d do a fine job, so she asked if she could open for him. He said no. She asked why not. He said, “Unless you opening up those legs, you can’t go nowhere.”
She told herself he was kidding, but when she asked again on another occasion, he said the same thing. “I was like, This motherfucker serious?” He insisted he meant it. “Your type, you too cute and shit, you gonna have to give up some pussy.”
Haddish’s career soared without Rumpelstiltskin’s help.
“[A]fter I got on a TV show and a movie, now his manager wants to call me asking if I’ll open up for him. And he wanted to pay me $500 for fifteen minutes. Fuck THAT. Rumpelstiltskin was so shocked that I turned down that offer, he called me up himself.”
Haddish told him she required a minimum of $2,500 to open.
“Nigga, what is wrong with you?” he asked, obviously concerned. “Don’t nobody pay that much money for some goddamn comedy. Not no female.”
Haddish told him she now got paid that much regularly. Rumpelstiltskin said, “Well, I guess… you can just go on out there and headline for yourself.”
She said she would. “I started headlining some shows… and I did pretty good. I guess he heard about how good I did.”
He called her again. To say he was sorry. “I just want to apologize…. You really doing things. I want to apologize. I was wrong the way I treated you.”
Haddish appreciated that. “I thought that was cool of him, to admit he was wrong. Good for him.”
Then, after Haddish’s widely praised (because hilarious) role in Girls Trip, Rumpelstiltskin started calling again. He invited her on a comedy tour – 34 shows, half in theaters, half in arenas. She’d be the headliner, he the host.
He asked how much she was getting now – $1K per minute. He tried to talk her down to half that. She told him to talk to her team. “Then if they present it to me in a manner that it seems like it’s financially feasible, then I will take that on.”
He said he’d do that right away.
Haddish added, “Also, I need you to tell my people who’s putting out on this tour. I’ll need to know that.”
“Who’s putting out on this tour, ’cause I know it ain’t me.”
He got the reference. “Tiffany, Tiffany, those was jokes. Those was jokes. You KNOW those was jokes.”
“Yeah, maybe. Except, you never did let me come on tour with you. If it was a joke, you would have booked me, if it was a joke.”
He urged her not to hold on to old shit.
“I don’t know about that, Rumpelstiltskin, sound like somebody about to make a whole lotta money, and it ain’t gonna be me.”
He called back two days later, having talked to the team. Now would she tell them she wanted to do it?
She said she was no longer sure $1K/minute was enough. He said $40,000 for 40 minutes is a lot!
Haddish pointed out that if the tour sold out an arena, with tickets from $50 to $150, that would be a lot, too. “Well into the six figures. I’m going to need to make some money too.”
“Who are you right now?”
“I’m Tiffany-Motherfucking-Haddish, who I always been! Rumpelstiltskin, I like you, I really do, but you not going to take advantage of me.”
He said she was hilarious. She said he should talk to her team again. She hung up. “Oh BOY, that call felt good!” Haddish says.
Another incident involved a comedian Haddish calls Cry Baby. Early in her career, 22-year-old Haddish met Cry Baby at an open mic event. He told her she was promising, but needed to spend time with other comedians to improve. She thought that was cool – he was being helpful.
He invited her to a taping of a BET show. She thought he would be on it, and was less impressed when she saw he was only doing the audience warm-up. Afterward, he solicited praise from her. “You see how I’m the man up there?”
She didn’t lie. “You not the man, you the audience warm-up.” He didn’t take that well, and accused her of disrespect. She said he was disrespecting her, and what did he want from her?
“Girl, you know what I want from you,” Cry Baby replied.
Was she supposed to be flattered? Actually… “I do know what you want, and guess what? You not my type. Your titties are bigger than mine, I’m not interested… So you just need to chill. We comedians, and that’s that.”
He called her a stupid bitch. Whatever.
However, Haddish and Cry Baby were on the same club circuit. And he was better known. Every time they were at the same comedy show, Haddish says, he’d bump her. Just before it was her turn, he’d tell the manager that he wanted to be next. Bigger name, got what he asked for, bumped her every time.
After four years of this, Cry Baby tried to bump her at a Laugh Factory show. “[T]he Laugh Factory is my house, I host there, I headline there, it’s my home. So he tries to bump me off the show, and they wouldn’t bump me.”
Thwarted, Cry Baby told her she was going to bomb and ruin the show. “You ain’t no real comic.” She took a different view. They went back and forth (other comedians listening with interest).
“Right before I went on stage, I prayed to God to make me as funny as possible in this one moment… so I can shut this motherfucker up.
“I did fifteen minutes, demolished it. I got a standing ovation…” She got another ovation backstage from the other comedians. Cry Baby was next. Reportedly, he bombed.
Afterward he hugged her, and said, “Man I am so sorry, Tiffany. Obviously somebody tried to teach me a lesson.”
Haddish says she knows it still bugs him, but he’s always nice, acknowledging her career milestones: “I see your commercials, I see you doing little shows, I saw you on Oprah channel.”
“You can tell it’s bothering him, but I am always cool to him, because he apologized and made his shit right. And I will always forgive. I may not forget, but I will forgive anyone, if the apology is sincere, and I feel his was sincere.”
Haddish is more forgiving than SorryWatch. Both these guys tried to bully her, using the pretext that she wasn’t talented like them, and therefore should have sex with them to be allowed to stick around. Both of them eventually admitted they were wrong about her talent, and apologized for that. Which counts for a lot.
But neither of them apologized for trying to compel her to put out to advance her career – the career they didn’t believe had a chance.
Haddish forgives, but we want them performing in Hell before a house empty except for a few soreheads yelling for Rodney Dangerfield. Until they see all the errors of their ways.