Tiffany Haddish may have become a household name for her starring role in "Girls Trip," or her historic appearance as the first black woman stand-up to host "Saturday Night Live," but she didn't rise to comedy's top ranks overnight.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Haddish opens up about her early career days, when she lived out of her car, and how fellow comedian Kevin Hart gave her the motivation — and money —she needed to move her life and career in a new direction.
The two were working on a sketch comedy show together at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, when Hart learned that Haddish was living in her car. She says he gave her $300 to find a place to stay.
"I would park my car in Beverly Hills and I would sleep over there, and the police would come every morning and make me move," says the 38-year-old. "That was like my wake-up call. I got to know a lot of police officers like that."
Using the money Hart gave her, Haddish booked a room at a local motel. She says Hart told her that once she got a place to stay, she should write out her goals and start doing something every day towards making them happen.
"I wrote: Get myself an apartment. Do these things, all these people I wanna work with, everything," she says. "I pretty much tackled almost all those goals."
Today, Haddish says she is working towards a goal of making 80 films before she's 50. She also told Vanity Fair that she wants to give back to kids who've had challenging upbringings like hers, and dreams of building a youth center, a mental health center, a job-placement center and a transitional housing on two streets that she wants to call "Tiffany" and "Haddish."
She and Hart remain friends, and the two are set to work together on the upcoming movie "Night School."
"When he sees me, he says he's so proud of me and stuff," she explains. "And he's always giving me the best advice. And I try to listen to him. Sometimes I don't. And then I'll be like, 'Dang, I should've listened.'"
But despite her huge success, she says Hart refuses to allow her to pay him back the $300 he once gave her. She says he told her, "I don't want that money. You keep that money. If I need you to be in something else, you just make sure you can do it."
Haddish explains to The Guardian that her early encounter with Hart really propelled her to start taking her career and dreams more seriously.
"I learned that I needed to be more honest than I was, more truthful with my comedy," she says. "I'm really grateful God made Kevin."
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