Tiffany Haddish, I CURSE YOU WITH JOY

Tiffany Haddish, I CURSE YOU WITH JOY

Tiffany Haddish (actor, producer, and the first Black female comedian to host Saturday Night Live!) joins Zibby to discuss her collection of humorous and heartfelt essays, I CURSE YOU WITH JOY. Tiffany reveals what readers can expect from this book: a rollercoaster of laughter and tears. She delves into her complex relationship with her father and opens up about her childhood trauma and subsequent healing, including a painful experience she chose to exclude from the book. She also shares her journey of self-discovery, love, and navigating the complexities of fame, particularly as a Black woman in the entertainment industry. 


Zibby: Welcome, Tiffany. Thank you so much for coming on Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books to discuss I Curse You with Joy. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you. I have to say, when I told my nine year old son that we were doing this interview, he literally, like, screamed. Spit out his Rice Krispies and was like, Tiffany Haddish.

I was like, you know her? 

You never know. 

Tiffany: You will not let him read this book. This book is not for kids. 

Zibby: I know. I was like, yeah, we're, we're not going to go there. Oh my gosh. Okay. Tiffany, you are so real, so funny, so out there. Oh my gosh. I was like blushing and laughing and I don't even know. Tell listeners what they can expect with this book.

Tiffany: They can expect some laughs. They can expect some tears. They can expect some what? They can expect some what? You could put this in a book. I don't even know you write that down on paper. They can expect a full on roller coaster. I like to say the ups and downs of life. Oh my gosh. And it's, it's basically because they say you're supposed to write about what you know about.

So what do I know about? I know about my life and so I write about my life. 

Zibby: I was explaining your book to my husband. I was like, I basically know everything about her private parts now. Like, I've never heard so much about someone else's sexual side. 

Tiffany: And you still don't know nothing about my private parts because I'm a woman.

Zibby: I know. 

Tiffany: You know everything but know nothing. 

Zibby: Exactly. Know it. Anything you wanted to share. So of course there was, there's a mix of all this, you know, hooking up and I, nobody calls it hooking up anymore. I'm from, you know, I'm born in the 70s. 1900s. Okay. I still call it hooking up. Okay, fine. Thank you. So there's, there's lots of that, but it's mixed in with your family history and really sort of deep feelings of rejection from your dad, who was Jewish, by the way, and I loved your black mitzvah.

Oh my gosh. I mean, the even, it's so funny. You're so funny. Isn't it hard to be from the, you said something like, being from the hood where I could count but I couldn't read or something. I'm not doing this justice, but you're so funny. Anyway, talk about your relationship with your dad and how that has affected things in your life, if you don't mind.

Let's just jump in. 

Tiffany: Well, let's jump in, girl. First, I didn't have one. I mean, I had a relationship until I was like three, and I barely can remember it. I don't remember much from that relationship, but I remember enough. Then he was gone. And so then there was no male, there's no male role model, no nothing.

So there's me figuring stuff out, but I'm still had this longing to be near my dad, with my dad. Like I still love my dad. I know that I had a dad and I didn't have him. And then Then when we reconnected, it was like, man, had this man been around, maybe life would have been different. Maybe I'd have been better, but maybe he wasn't supposed to be around.

Cause I wouldn't be who I am today. Right. So like I made a lot of mistakes with, uh, with, You know, dating men, uh, gallivanting around, if you will, a little hell activity, if you will. I was looking for that daddy. I was looking for this thing that, you know, and I was also like, In the throes of like, thinking, I don't know, I thought, I guess I thought I was getting my power back.

I don't know. You know, there's one chapter that's supposed to be in the book that probably would make sense on why I was, like, really make sense on why I was doing what I was doing, but I felt like it was just too, it was too much. 

Zibby: Oh, wait, I want to hear what's in that chapter. 

Tiffany: Rapes. 

Zibby: Oh. 

Tiffany: So. 

Zibby: Oh, Tiffany. 

Tiffany: And I felt like it was too heavy.

I was like, this is too dark. There's nothing funny about this at all. There's no way for me to make this even slightly funny. So we're going to take that chapter out of the book. We'll save that for like a special, like, uh, drop that, uh, where somebody just, uh, What they call that where people just drop something?

Like a rando chapter or something? I don't know, but it's too dark. And then I was like, it's, you know how they say, okay, the therapist tells you like, write down your feelings. Feel about this. It's stressing y'all right about it. So. wrote about it. And, uh, yeah, you know, and then I was like, I thought I would be, I would add it because I know I'm not the only female that's gone through it.

You know, I feel like this is like my homage of like, Hey, we've been through things. You're not the only one just because I'm popular or whatever. It doesn't mean that my shit ain't fucked up too. Um, but it was, It was so dark. I was like, not to be bragging, but really good at describing things and make you feel like you there.

Zibby: Yes, you are. 

Tiffany: So then I'm like, well, you know, I won't put people there like that. 

I don't want to do that. Especially if, if another woman has gone through this, and she's reading this, it's probably like, all the years of therapy, like, Taken back. I don't know. 

Zibby: Well, maybe it's too much for the book. 

Tiffany: Too much for the book.

Like individually, like an essay that's just dropped. That's like, maybe do that. 

Zibby: Can you tell me more about what happened? 

Tiffany: Yes, you could read, um, I did an interview. I believe it was the New York Times magazine. Okay. 

Zibby: I'll read it. 

Tiffany: I talked about it a little bit, but yeah, I mean, and you can see it like that.

People talk about it. A little bit online, but yeah, I was raped by a police cadet. At least that's what he told me it was. And, um, yeah. Handcuffed, all the stuff. Like, all of it. All of it. Because I can't make it funny. It'll bring the energy. 

Zibby: It doesn't have to be funny. 

Tiffany: But it do have to be funny, because I am the administrator of joy.

That's my job, is to deliver something. Maybe it's a little hard. I don't know. To digest and then at some point find the funny, but it is, I believe the catalyst to what led to my promiscuity, trying to get it back, trying to get back what was taken from me or trying to take back the power that was taken from also trying to get back.

Uh, yeah, I was, I was, yeah. But then I didn't feel anything. You know, you get the, the going to therapy. 

Zibby: Yep. 

Tiffany: And that they giving me drugs. 

Zibby: Oh, that was before the Prozac. And I, yeah. 

Tiffany: Yeah. And then I didn't feel nothing. But when you having sex, you feel something. It ain't necessarily good, but there's something there.

And then I could take, maybe take I'm taking. I thought, but I wasn't. I was dumb. You know, twenties, you stupid, stupid as hell. 

Zibby: No, it's not stupid. You were, there was a reason for it. You were trying to heal yourself in some way. That was your way. 

Tiffany: Some kind of way. Yeah. And then I'm also looking for somebody to nurture me and be there for me.

It's a male counterpart, if you will. Yeah. Yeah. And I ain't had no daddy to do that. Then. But it's crazy because then I meet my dad and now I'm like, now I'm getting married. I'm doing it. I'm doing like, yeah, all these things are happening. And then my dad is teaching me about my heritage and who we are.

You know, he's over there riddled with guilt. Because also he was expecting and he's like, you know, you American girl. Where's my grandbaby? American girls that don't grow up with their father have a baby by the time they're 20, 16, 20, somewhere in there. And like, where's my babies? Where's my grandbaby?

Thinking he'd give a second chance, you know, uh, I guess to raise somebody, but no, I didn't, I don't have that for you. Sorry. We'll do some things. 

Zibby: You know, The expectation that you have to bring the joy, that's a lot to bear. Like you can have the feelings too.

Tiffany: I know. 

Zibby: You don't have to be the entertainer non stop.

I think people laugh more. root for you more when they hear all this stuff. That's, I mean, I think that's why you include some of it, but, you know, I mean.

Tiffany: No, I include it. No, no, no. See, see, see. In order to bring joy, I think you have to understand the opposite side of that, right? And that's how you appreciate the joy. Right. So I know I don't have to bring the joy all the time and I don't, I don't, but if you're going to spend more than two hours with me, are you going to get some, because I'd be damned if I'm going to be bored and devastated for two hours or more. I got to find, I try to find the fun and the joy and everything, even in this book, like even when I'm talking about the dark stuff, It's like, I gotta find the funny in it.

Otherwise, I'd be like Eeyore out of Winnie the Pooh, which the people that born in the 2000s probably don't know who I'm talking about. But those of us from the 1900s, who wants to be the sad ass Ray donkey? Who wants to be the sad donkey? Nobody. Like, I want to, I want to bring joy. And I feel like all these, all these, Like good and bad experiences that come about are to make you stronger and the bad ones really are to make you appreciate the joy.

Yeah. I think some of the saddest people laugh the hardest. 

Zibby: Mm hmm. 

Tiffany: And laughter is the same, I use the same muscles to cry. Yes. So laughter feel way better. 

Zibby: It's very true. Oh my gosh. I mean, when you shared all the parts about growing up and your mom and her accident and even how you give a PS when people are asking like, how is your mom today?

And how you're still, you know, there and, you know, you know, the, the moment where she was sort of heavily medicated and oh my gosh, I mean, you go through all this stuff and then you go through periods of time, like when you were gaining weight after COVID and all this stuff and you're like, I just don't even want to get out of bed.

And then you like make the decision, like I'm getting up again and I'm going to do this and I'm going to go to the laugh factory and I'm going to like get up there and cry and all that. Like, it's so powerful. 

Tiffany: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You decide to live, decide to move forward. And also, I mean, I think, I feel, I feel like I'm talking about it, but I don't know, maybe you didn't catch on.

Maybe you did. I don't know, but they don't give a manual on how to be famous. There's no manual on how to be a star. And I'm just sharing my experiences in them. What I think I made as mistakes. But also like, I don't share any mistakes that I don't feel like I've found a resolution or that I've grown from.

If I don't, if I don't feel like I grew from it, I probably didn't share it. Right. But like, cause I think a lot of people want to be stars. They want to be this thing or whatever, but they don't realize. And I think they re they think, Oh, once I'm famous, all my problems will go away. But they like amplify.

They amplify. So you really need to be careful how you move and be ready, be strong enough to carry him. You know what's so funny? My great uncle just passed away. Oh no. My grandmother's brother. And it's funny because he, when I was, uh, when I got married, he said, I'll be careful now. I don't know if you want to get married.

Because marriage is, and I think I should have put that in the book because I kind of forgot about it, but when he passed it made me remember. He said, when you get married, whatever they do now, before you get married, that gets on your nerves, it's going to amplify times two so make sure whatever it is that they do that gets on your nerves now, you can handle it.

Once you say I do, because for some reason, I don't know why, it just amplifies time sting. But make sure you really love them and you can stand it. And I feel like that is the same thing with being in the eye of the public. It's like you could, like, whatever it is that bothers you before you say it, it will bother you even more.

Zibby: So what's, what has amplified the most and bothers you now even more than you thought could possibly bother you? 

Tiffany: Not sleeping in my bed. It used to get on my nerves, people in my business. Now it gets on my nerves even more.

Who's in your bed? Like, man, like who, who's your boyfriend? Who you dating? Who you dating? It used to get on my nerves. Before I was famous, now it really gets on my nerves. And I don't even let, that's why I don't even let men in my bedroom.

Zibby: I guess the flip side to that is when you get married, the things that you do are going to bother somebody else ten times more. 

Tiffany: Story is, boy, I'm ready to bother, no I'm not.

Zibby: So, when you get to these points, when you're like, I don't even want to get out of my bed. I don't want to do this. This is like, I don't even see the way out of this. This is horrible. And you make the decision, like, okay, forget it. I'm going to be funny. I'm going to choose joy. Why, why and when does the switch go off?

Like, what if it doesn't go off? 

Tiffany: It goes off. It's, it's a decision. As well, everything is a decision. You have to decide. You decide to be depressed, like depression, I heard, I think Jim Carrey said, depression is your body saying, fuck this, I don't wanna live this. kind of character. This is not who we are.

This is not the purpose. So you have to decide to move differently, challenge about something else. Okay. This isn't normal for us. So we don't like this. Like, I don't like any of this lifestyle. Okay. Change it, change it. And luckily we live in America where you can make adjustments whenever you want to.

And figure out what it is that makes you happy. I figured out what it is that makes me happy, getting on stage. That's what brings me joy. So if I'm laying in a bed and I don't feel like it, well, what do, what do you like? What do you feel like? We're going to do it. It's not going to hurt nobody. It's not going to hurt you.

Go do it.

Zibby: I loved how in the book you were, I mean, it's sad, funny sad, but during COVID how you would do your stand up in front of the mirror and you're like, nobody in the bathroom was laughing. Like the toothbrush wasn't laughing. 

Tiffany: Nobody was laughing. I needed to hear the laughs. And I was using my imagination so tough, like going into, doing it in the garden, planting Comedy.

Jokes. It's just using my imagination. I'm sure I was getting on my neighbor's nerves and doing it in the backyard finding any kind of way like calling people, you know, it got to the, it did evolve to where I was doing colleges, um, through zooms, but I couldn't hear the labs. Oh, and that's how I was living for the labs.

They would just be like, laughing in the comment. 

Zibby: Yeah. Ha ha ha. And sometimes I'm like, can you all just unmute? I feel like I'm like talking to a wall. I hate when everybody's on Zoom and you're like saying something like, I can't read the room. Are you, are you there? Is anyone there? Everybody turn your cameras on.

Let me look at your face. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. What are you doing? Are you having lunch? Are you even listening to me? Like, what is going on here? Oh my gosh. Why did you write a second book? You had a bestseller, like you could have stopped there. Woohoo. Amazing. Why? 

Tiffany: Because I, I dare to challenge myself.

Although there was a bunch that was in that first book that I took out and put in this book, Because I felt like the first book was too long. I hate long books. I feel like I should be able to finish it in a day. And it was so much in the first book. And I was like, it's just too much, too thick. Like, I can't even carry.

So happy. So we took a lot out of the first and everything that took out we put in this, plus more, plus picking up like all the stuff that's happened since that first book has come out a lot, a lot of the things that's happened, not all of it, because then it'd be another long ass book that I think, long ass book.

Zibby: So you can, you can save it for your third book then. 

Tiffany: Exactly. I plan on living a long time. It'll be a series of, what do they call it? It's volumes? What is it? 

Zibby: Yeah. Like a lot of volumes. Yeah. A whole series. A series. I'll just, I'll clear a whole shelf and I'll just make room for all the ones to come.

Tiffany: Every five years there'll be five to six years we'll drop another book. How about that? 

Zibby: When you're writing, do you, because your voice is so, it's like I'm listening to you talk, right, when you write. It's so voice. It's like the perfect example of like, when people are like, find your voice in writing on the page.

And it's like, okay, voice. This is like, read this. This is voice. Do you dictate ever? Do you just write and it comes out like this? How do you do it? 

Tiffany: Yeah, I dictate a lot. Also, I write, like, if you read my journals, Which, you would be like, this girl cusses like a sailor. 

Zibby: I'm shocked, I'm shocked to hear that.

Really shocked. 

Tiffany: There's lots of cussing in the book, it's really my voice. And I write how I feel, and how I feel, I feel, how I feel has a lot to do with like, I can put myself in a place. I just think of it, think of the words, think I can see it. I can feel it. I can smell it. I can take like a teleport. It's like a time travel when I'm writing.

Oh my goodness. They say time travel doesn't exist, but it does up in here. Okay. And I imagine I'm there. Even when I went to Israel, like I think I time traveled there because As I'm, like, walking where the two mikvahs are, the huge Olympic sized mikvahs, and I'm walking up this, like, pathway that leads towards the temples, and I'm like, Oh yeah, Jesus walked this path, so many Jews walked this path, people came every year, hundreds and hundreds, and I felt like, I was surrounded by the people.

Like, I could hear the people. Like, I could smell the people. And they was musty. They needed to get in that micta. That was necessary. They needed to squash crunch. And in my mind, I could see it all. And I could feel it. And the feelings that I was getting was so powerful. I didn't even get to put that in the book because I did it already.

The book was done already. I'm like, Oh, the next book is these journals I got now, girl. It's like off the chain in, in this like. I thought, I time traveled and I could just imagine what it felt like to be going up and down. And it was so beautiful. I was like, this is like a mall. It feels like a mall. Like, it's so huge.

And then I'm thinking, is this where malls came from? Is this where we copied, like, did we copy this? It's like, all these things, I'm like, nothing is new under this sun. We copied everything. And I'm just imagining, like, what outfits they might've been wearing. And then all the different, it's so many cities built on top of this city, on top of that city.

And it's like, I feel like I could feel all these different generations of people that lived in this place. And it's so many different types. It's so many different religions, lost religions, lost practices, lost, lost souls. And the energy was crazy. And I'm just like walking, trying not to be a cry baby.

Am I really a medium? Am I really from haunted mansion? Is there a reason I played that part? Did I, am I? Over the character. Did, did am I a method actor? Now I don't feel like a method actor. Like, and then as I'm talking to other people that's around and different people that's like that I'm meaning there like, oh yeah, Jerusalem, that has an effect.

The energy. It's just, it's transformative. It just, you could feel it's like something from that rock and the wall. Did you pray at the wall? I was like, oh yeah, I prayed. Crying at the wall. I realized I was the way in the wall. I was like crying at the wall. You know what? I felt like a dummy at first, and then I was like, oh.

Oh my gosh. And it's just who I am, I think. It's just like. I don't know. Everything I do, I feel like, has a reason, but there's a purpose. Even if I'm confused about what the purpose is, what I think the purpose might be, ends up being completely different than what it actually is. In hindsight, you're like, oh, that's why I went through that.

Oh, that's why this happened. So, I don't know. I'm just really, I want to share the experiences. I feel like God gives you all these experiences for a reason and I think it's meant to be shared. 

Zibby: I love that. 

Tiffany: Maybe to help somebody else be better with theirs. 

Zibby: It's beautiful, really beautiful. Just one more question.

You're so open about being Jewish and I love that I'm Jewish. It's so important right now. Everything is just, it's crazy times. 

Tiffany: Always been important.

Zibby: It's always been important. 

Tiffany: It's always been crazy times. It's always 

Zibby: I know, but I don't know. 

Tiffany: When you look at the history of it, I mean, come on, 100 years ago it was definitely time.

Zibby: I know. 

Tiffany: Even more so deadly than I, 

Zibby: You're a hundred percent right.

Tiffany: And it depends on what country you're in. As a Jew it could be another deadly. 

Zibby: Yes. 

Are you ever afraid of speaking out? Because some people are. 

Tiffany: And you know why they are. It's probably 'cause they, uh, haven't dealt with persecution and hate they whole, entire life.

They've been able to hide. 

Zibby: Mm-Hmm.

Tiffany: I am not afraid of speaking up. Uh, because I've been speaking now and it's like my voice is never heard anyways, but I guess some people do hear, uh, I think in, in, in my actions, I guess, speak even louder and my words, actions, you know, they say actions speak louder than words and, you know, I suffer persecution from that, but I feel like my whole life I've been persecuted.

I feel like. My mom didn't realize it, but she was preparing me for naysayers and ne'er do wells and Strengthening my heart, my skin to be able to handle that. You know, uh, that's the first person I ever loved and she was the meanest person I could imagine. She said the meanest, nastiest things about me.

So when the world says mean, nasty things, and I don't even know them, they never even fed me or housed me or clothed me or had any, Love, or giving me any kind of love where I can give them love or me knowing of any love they've ever given me. I don't know these people. It doesn't really bother me so much.

Uh, now, if my immediate family members, people I love, people I care about, that bothers me. That, that bothers me. But, at the same time, my mama got me so strong. It's like, oh well, you a human, you gonna hurt my heart anyway, so. That's what it is. That's what humans do. But why do I have to change who I, or decide to hide who I am?

And I, I can't. I'm Black. And I'm not gonna let nobody dictate how I love God. How I worship God. If you have a problem with how I love God, then you might want to check how you love God. Because every single religion that I've studied, almost all of them, You're not supposed to be hating nobody. You're not supposed to be killing nobody.

You're not supposed to be, you were supposed to, you're not supposed to be trying to convert people, you know, chase you supposed to share, share what you know, share your love, share what you've learned, but you ain't supposed to kill them to make them be like you and you can hate what other people do, but you ain't supposed to be killing them.

I don't know. But if the, if you are attacked, you are supposed to, you know, you turn out the cheek first. If they keep messin with you, then you gotta stop with them. 

Zibby: The deleted, the deleted Bible scenes. 

Tiffany: I mean, I don't, I don't know if it's deleted, but I do know, I mean, I mean, there's some, I mean, people have done some stupid stuff in the Bible.

I mean, King David, he was off the chain. First you, you defeat the, the, the giant and then a bunch of other stuff happened. I don't think God approved of it either because he was like, you got too much blood on your hands, you can't build the temple. Golf Springs gonna have to do that. You can't do it because you got too much damn blood on your hands.

And if it's all springs into it, it was beautiful. But then, you know, everybody's be sinning. You doing stupid stuff. Stupid, stupid. Nobody's perfect. Nobody's perfect. Nobody's perfect. No religion's perfect. Nothing's perfect. But you know, you just try. You try to be loving. Try to, try to bring love. That's, that's all I can say.

So now, I'm not, I'm not gonna be hiding how I love God. 

Zibby: Good. I love that. Tiffany, I have so much respect for you. You are awesome, like, in so many ways and the celebrity is just this tiny, tiny piece, but you are an amazing person. Honestly. I'm not just saying that. Like, you're really a kick ass person. I don't know how else to say it.

Congratulations on your book, for being you, for being just so comfortable in your skin and helping other people. It's amazing. 

Tiffany: It's my meat suit. I'm only gonna have it for so long. It's your meat suit, right? Yes, it's amazing. It is uncomfortable when that moon change and that cycle come around, but I got to tell you something, I'm still young.

Oh, and that cycle stops. Oh, I'm gonna be out here.

Thank you for I don't know if you even know what I'm talking about. You're probably like, this girl is weird. I don't. 

Zibby: You are not weird. You're awesome and you've brought me lots of joy this morning and you will bring listeners lots of joy. So thank you for coming on and I am rooting for you in every way.

Tiffany: Thank you so much. I appreciate you. 

Zibby: Okay. 

Tiffany: And you're in New York? I'm in New York. Yes. But maybe I'll be out there in about five days. I hope I see you around. 

Zibby: Oh, I would love to see you. I'm here. 

Tiffany: Yeah. Let's do it. 

Zibby: I'm around. I'm totally here. I'll talk to your team. 

Tiffany: Because I'm definitely going to be, I'm doing a show at the Apollo Theater on, uh, the 10th.

Zibby: Amazing. 

Tiffany: So maybe you could come to that. But I plan on getting up early every day and walking for at least 30 to 45 minutes so that I can hit the abs of a Lea by this summer. 

Zibby: That's amazing. Well, I'll come walk with you if you want. 

Tiffany: Yeah, come walk with me. Okay. Because they say you get in 10, 000 steps, you burn a pound.

Zibby: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I plan on eating a lot while I'm there. I walk to the kitchen mostly, just back. That's my, those are my steps. All right. 

Tiffany: All right. 

Zibby: I'll see you soon. 

Tiffany: Bye.

Tiffany Haddish, I CURSE YOU WITH JOY

Purchase your copy on Bookshop!

Share, rate, & review the podcast, and follow Zibby on Instagram @zibbyowens