A decade ago, comedian Tiffany Haddish was homeless and living out of her car.
But the kindness and generosity of her Night School co-star Kevin Hart changed her life. In 2005, at an L.A.-based comedy show, Hart noticed a bunch of stuff in Haddish’s car. He approached the aspiring comedian to offer kind words and all the money he had on himself — $300. That moment changed Haddish’s life.
Trying to make it in L.A.’s notoriously competitive stand-up scene, the Girls Trip star was working at a local comedy club – and doing her best to hide it from everyone. But Hart, whom she now calls the “big little brother she never had,” saw her struggle.
Haddish used the $300 he gave her to sleep in a hotel room for a few days. Hart also advised her to write down her most important goals and put her life together to pursue them. Haddish followed his advice, and Hart followed Haddish’s efforts, and they ended up developing a strong friendship.
Now, the two comedians headline the much-hyped comedy Night School, a movie that follows a group of misfits pursuing their GEDs in adulthood. And though she plays the role of a teacher in Night School, being a bit of an outcast is a familiar feeling to Haddish, whose childhood was cut short by tragedy.
Haddish’s father left the family when she was only three. Her mother Leola moved, and had four more children with her second husband. But when Haddish was only eight, her fathered tampered with her mother’s car breaks, resulting in an accident that left Leola with severe brain damage – and could have harmed the children as well, had they not unexpectedly chosen to stay home that day.
It’s been suggested that the accident might have triggered Leola’s schizophrenia as well, leaving a nine-year-old Haddish to be the main family caregiver. But Haddish’s struggles were far from over then.
Just three years after the car accident, Haddish and her siblings were separated from each other and put into foster care. Reunited with them under their grandmother’s care at 15 years old, Haddish used comedy to cope with new environments.
But despite an obvious talent for acting, she struggled at school. Her transgressions escalated to the point where she was one step away from mandatory psychiatric therapy. Her last chance to avoid that was attending the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp, an experience she credits with ultimately saving her life.