Tiffany Haddish Deserves an Award for the Acceptance Speech She Gave Last Night

Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

The New York Film Critics Circle dinner and awards ceremony at Tao Downtown Wednesday night ended up being all about Tiffany Haddish. The love fest began when Phantom Thread’s Lesley Manville read a note from Best Screenplay winner Paul Thomas Anderson, saying he wanted to work with Haddish, and would she please call him? Later, special honoree Molly Haskell said with a grin, Girls Trip is wilder and raunchier than any Rat Pack adventure you could imagine.” And in Best Actor Timothée Chalamet’s speech, he got in this line: “Tiffany, you know grapefruits very well, I know peaches.” (He followed this with giddy, deep laughs, and an “Oh my god.”)

Haddish’s presence was disarming to everyone in attendance, but she truly stole the show with her almost-20-minute (!) acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress. As in her comedy and film work, Haddish shocked with her emotional candor while testing lines of inappropriateness. (In this case, lots of flirting with presenter Michael B. Jordan.) Below are some of the highlights and life lessons from her incredible speech, the video of which was posted by BuzzFeed’s Alison Willmore:

On her parents and God:
“I want to thank God. Without God, my mommy and daddy wouldn’t have put their two uglies together and made me. Because that was all God right there. He put two crazy people together to make one awesome crazy person.”

How she’s like the Hindu goddess projected on the stage:
“She holding feathers because she taking care of animals and creatures. She got an eraser because she’s trying to erase the bullshit. She holding on to some seeds or a pine cone, which means she’s trying to produce or create, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to get pregnant yet, Michael, but I’m working on it. B. Jordan…”

How she handles criticism:
“First of all … I don’t even … I, uh, I don’t read reviews. The most review you’ll see me read is something my publicist sends me and says, ‘Read this.’ And I’ll be like, ‘You read it!’ Because if it hurts my feelings I’m gonna cuss their ass out, and then I’m going to pray for them and then I’ll laugh. ’Cause I’m super-sensitive. I don’t mean to be so sensitive, but that’s just who I am! And I’m not afraid to admit it.”

On being seen:
“I know some people in here are going to talk shit about me. It’s okay. You know why it’s okay? Because you care enough to say something. If you didn’t say nothing, then you didn’t care. So if you said something, thank you. I don’t care if it’s positive or negative. I appreciate you. I’m glad you see me. Cause there were so many years nobody saw me. You know when you’re a little kid going through the system, you wonder, ‘Does anyone even know I’m alive?’ And to be this example to youth. There are so many people like me that you guys have no clue about. But they coming, ’cause I kicked the fucking door open.”

On friendship:
“Shout out to my best friend, Selena. I’ve known you since we was 12-years-old. I walked up to you and was like, You gonna be my friend. And you was like, What? But you’re still my friend. And she ain’t never tried to kick me to the curb or nothing. She laughed at all my stupid jokes, told me when I was doing too much, told me when I was doing just enough, and told me when to do more. I appreciate you for that.”

Coming up with her own material in Girls Trip:
“[Girls Trip director Malcolm Lee] said, ‘We’ll do the scene the way it’s supposed to be done, and then you do what you want.’ I did what I wanted and I said a lot of things! Some things didn’t make it to the movie. And that hurt my feelings. And a lot of things made it to the movie that I didn’t think would ever make it to the movie.”

Her favorite bit that got cut from Girls Trip:
“There’s a scene where I’m telling Regina [Hall] all of the things I’m gonna do for her. I’ve got her back. ‘And then when he asleep, we’re gonna burn your name in his dick. Then we’re gonna put mud and salt on it so it will keloid over. And then it will be ribbed for your pleasure. And then when he woke up, we’ll look him dead in his eyes. And we’ll tell him right to his face, to keep your name out of these bitches’ mouths.’ And they took that out of the movie, but I like to tell everybody about it, because these are the things I think about at night sometimes. Don’t hurt my feelings, Michael B. Jordan.”

On letting people shine:
“This whole business is all about how you feel, what feeling you put out to the world, and how you make other people feel. When you feel good about what you’re doing, in my mind, it makes other people feel good. On set, working with Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Regina Hall, and them allowing me to be myself … They were like, Keep going. Queen Latifah would egg me on to do the craziest stuff. And I was like, She gotta be my friend in real life ’cause we’ll never go jail! And she is my friend in real life and we haven’t been in jail yet.”

Her career advice to film critics:
“I’m thankful for you critics. I’m learning a lot about you guys. All the critics I’ve ever known before this was Siskel and Ebert. And then when they passed, I was like, Oh, well. [Huge laughter from crowd] Who’s the new movie critic TV show? Is there one? Get it together, y’all. You should have a TV show so we know who you guys are.”

On happiness:
“If you’re not happy, change your thought patterns. Start having happy thoughts. Because it’s your fault you’re not happy. No one’s in charge of your emotions but you. That’s what I learned from therapy.”

On how she’s like a wild dog:
“I want to say thank you to Eric [Kohn, NYFCC Chair]. I don’t know if you had anything to do with me getting this award. I don’t know how you feel about me … and I don’t care. But I thank you. You were the first person to greet me when I walked in the door, and you smiled and looked me dead in my eyes and shook my hand. You weren’t afraid to talk to me. The thing I hate the most is people who come up to me and I can smell fear on them? It make me want to fuck ’em up. I hate fear. I know fear is fuel for other things … but don’t be trying to put that shit on me. Come up to me happy. Come up to me with a smile. If you come up to me scared, it’s gonna make me talk to you crazy. Think of me as a wild dog. You come up to me confident, look me in the eyes, I’m gonna be cool with you. You come up to me scared and acting like a bitch, that’s how I’m going to treat you.”

And one final lesson to critics:
“That might have been too much information, but I don’t care. If this was a black party, everybody would be laughing and having a good time. I’m teaching you all something today.”

Give Tiffany Haddish the Award for Best Acceptance Speech