After an uninhibited performance in Girls Trip that made her one of last year’s breakout stars, things are only getting bigger for Tiffany Haddish: This weekend, she’ll pop up during a Super Bowl ad as a spokesperson for Groupon, the company whose services she unforgettably touted during a Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance last summer. It’s only the latest high point for Haddish in a several-month period that’s been full of adventures, from her New York Film Critics Circle honor to her hilarious run-ins with other famous people, all the way to her gig announcing the Oscar nominations a few days ago. Last night, instead of watching President Trump’s State of the Union speech, Haddish and I chatted about her own state of mind — and she’s thriving.
You’ve achieved so many career goals over the last year, but did you ever think, “I’m gonna be in a Super Bowl ad?”
I mean, I’ve always thought I would be in a Super Bowl ad. [Laughs.] This isn’t my first go-round. I did two Super Bowl commercials before, but they never made it to the Super Bowl. They made it to Vimeo. And meanwhile, I was watching, like, “Guys, I promise you, any minute they’re going to play my commercial, watch. Oh. Oh, damn. They used a different one.”
How do you usually watch the Super Bowl? Do you remember what you were doing during that famous Janet Jackson halftime performance?
Oh man, yes, I do remember! Usually, I go to someone’s house for a group function, because it’s a good way to meet guys. So I remember I was in Inglewood for a Super Bowl party, and I was pouring myself a drink and everybody went, “Oh my God!” And I saw it and was like, “Whoa.” And then I got a date.
Wait, are those two things related?
Well, there was this guy there and we were both laughing about how Justin Timberlake pulled her boob out, and he was like, “Yeah, that’s the white man trying to hold people back!” He was one of those militant dudes, and I was just going along with it, but I’m thinking, “She probably planned that, she just didn’t plan for the whole thing to come off.” But I was just going along with it because I wanted a free meal with him. And I got it! [Laughs.]
So when did Groupon get in touch? I hope they sent you flowers after your Jimmy Kimmel appearance …
No, I didn’t hear from them after Jimmy Kimmel! A few months went by before I heard from them, although I think my team had been talking to them. They didn’t want to tell me anything and get my hopes up. I mean, I have been actively promoting Groupon for years — they say I’m in the top one percent of Groupon users — so when they finally told me, “Yo, Groupon wants you to be a spokesperson,” I was doing the nae nae for, like, five minutes. Then they told me Groupon wanted me to be in a commercial, so I started writing out these ideas — I even wrote out a treatment for a show where I take celebrities on Groupon excursions. When I finally got to talk to the Groupon people, they were like, “We already have an idea, but thank you, Tiffany! We’ll hold onto that for later.”
Wait, I would totally watch you take celebrities on Groupon excursions.
Right? That would be so much fun. We could go to local restaurants, or maybe even trips to Ireland or England. They have trips to Africa, on safaris. There’s so much cool stuff on there.
And which celebrities would you take on those trips?
Well, you know I’m gonna take a man first. [Laughs.] Let’s turn this Groupon excursion into a romance! How long can this list be?
However long it needs to be, Tiffany! Shoot for the moon.
Well, let’s see. I would take Michael B. Jordan, I would take Trevor Noah. I would take Will Ferrell because he would be so much fun to hang out with, and he can bring his wife and kids because the Groupons are so cheap. Who else would I take? Definitely I would take Kevin Hart somewhere, with his wife so I could hear her talking crazy to him. And Dave Chappelle and his wife, because I already get along with her. Wait, now it’s turning into a couples thing, so I guess I have to marry Trevor Noah or Michael B. Jordan. Maybe I can marry both of them! I’ll go to Africa and have two husbands.
I saw that you actually met Michael B. Jordan recently. Did you keep it together?
I got Michael B. Jordan’s phone number, what are you talkin’ about? [Laughs.] He’s super cool and down to earth and really nice. When I was on SNL, I was trying to get him to be a guest on there with me, but they didn’t contact him soon enough.
I also saw on your Instagram that you were at a party with Beyoncé, and I want you to talk me through the process of asking Beyoncé for a selfie.
Okay, so what had happened was, something had went down with somebody at the party, right? I’m not at liberty to say what had went down at the party, but Beyoncé was just telling me to have a good time, and I was like, “No, I’m gonna end up fighting this bitch!” She was like, “No, have fun, Tiffany,” and I said, “I’m only going to have fun if you take a selfie with me.”
Wow, perfectly played.
She said, “Okay,” and then she buried her face in my wig. We took the picture and I was like, “Is my wig slipping?” And she was like, “Mmm-hmm.” But she knew who I was! She came up to me and was like, “I think you are so funny, Tiffany Haddish.” I was like, “What? You know me?!” She said, “I’m Beyoncé.” “I KNOW!”
There’s also Timothée Chalamet from Call Me by Your Name, who took a picture with you at the New York Film Critics Circle. You two had the biggest fruit-sex scenes of last year. Did you compare notes?
His was way more sexier than mine! Oh my God. He was like, “You’re into fruit, I’m into fruit,” and I was like, “Yeahhhh, but your fruit has a cream filling!”
You got a big shout-out from the director Paul Thomas Anderson, who said he’s dying to work with you. Were you excited about that?
I’ve been talking to him on the telephone! I mean, he put his phone number out there, so I had to call. I’ve talked to him a few times and we’re probably gonna work together.
Tease me, Tiffany. Can you give me any sort of hint about the project?
Well, we’ve been talking a lot about Los Angeles, back when Central Avenue was the Sunset Boulevard of L.A. … I don’t know, I don’t know!
Is there this exciting influx of people who are meeting you and saying, “We have to work together?” I mean, after you hung out with Barbra Streisand, a lot of people online were demanding a buddy comedy with you two starring.
Man, I’ve been trying to get Barbra Streisand in something! I was like, “We should remake Funny Girl.” And she was like, “Who am I going to be, your mother?” I’m like, “Yes! I’m a foster kid, you could be my mom!” I would love to work with her, it would be a great honor. You know, someone sent me this clip of Mark Wahlberg — I was about to call him Marky Mark, my bad — and he was talking to Chelsea Handler and she asked him who he wanted to work with. And he said, “Tiffany Haddish!” I was like, “Whaaaaaaaaat? He knows who I am?” I was floored. I wonder if he’s willing to rap and dance and sing with me on something.
You could be the new Funky Bunch.
I would love to be in the Funky Bunch!
How does all that feel? Your motto has always been “she ready,” but now that it’s really happening and everybody is waking up to you, are things how you expected them to be, or do you have to take a moment sometimes to process it all?
All of the above. Some days, I’m like, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I worked for, and I manifested it ten years ago. I didn’t know how I was going to get here, but I got here.” And sometimes, it’s like when they asked me to read the Oscar nominations. I couldn’t even go to sleep afterwards! Mind you, I had just flown in from Africa, I spent all day on another project, and they came and picked me up from my house at midnight. I tried to learn all these names, but I don’t speak foreign languages like that — I speak Japanese and some Spanish, but these names were like Italian and they had so many vowels in ’em! And I was so sleepy because I usually go to bed by 2 and now it’s 5 a.m.
How did you feel afterwards? I saw one of the nominated writers tweet that he was honored to have his name mispronounced by you, and you replied that it was such a surreal experience that you felt like you were in a Key & Peele sketch.
When I finally got home, I had to hug myself a little bit and say, “You know what, Tiffany? I don’t care if you did make mistakes. I’m so proud of you.” I never, ever thought I would be able to do something awesome like that. That little foster kid, up there? I saw so many people say, “Tiffany should have got nominated,” and I’m like, “You guys don’t even understand. I got to go to the party! Who cares about a damn trophy?” I’m just so grateful, and my heart is so full. That little foster girl … Sorry, I keep thinking of myself as a child.
So have you gotten to check out Dunkirk yet?
I had already saw it! [Laughs.] I was just trying to make a joke about it. It had, like, eight or nine nominations and I was like, “Jeez, give somebody else some joy!” I thought that was a pretty funny line, “I gotta see this Dunkirk, it seems like a lot of people like it,” but I saw it. It came out the same weekend as Girls Trip, so.
Trump is using his State of the Union speech to talk about what he thinks needs to happen with this country. But what if Tiffany Haddish was in charge? What would be in your political platform?
I’m not really into politics, but if I had my own country, I would make sure all my people were educated and figuring out what they love to do, and focusing on that. That’s the only way we can be productive and happy, I think, is if people are doing what they love. Also, everybody would get a full month off work. A full holiday! I know other countries get two months, three months, but we’re America and we work hard. So I would demand that from all companies, because I think people need a freakin’ month off, and that’s probably why those companies would not let me become president.
You would have my vote. How about your position on diplomacy?
I would be nice to everyone. I would treat everybody with respect until they were disrespectful to me. And then? We shit on ’em.
This interview has been edited and condensed.