Everything Tiffany Haddish did to pay her dues in the comedy world has led to this moment — hosting bar mitzvahs and other private parties included. After taking audiences on a hilarious Girls Trip last summer and delivering a standout moment while presenting at the Oscars with Maya Rudolph, the 38-year-old tells EW (through laughs and tears) “she ready” to host the MTV Movie & TV Awards (June 18, 9 p.m. ET).
Rocking a shimmery red pantsuit (it’s her “boss bitch” look) between shooting promos, the rising star and everyday, real-life scene-stealer joins EW for an exclusive interview where she previews the awards, admits which food item she uses in the bedroom, and hits the breaks on the laughs to let out a few tears.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Has there been a particular theme to the promo shoot? If so, how will that reflect in the actual show?
TIFFANY HADDISH: The theme has been “She Ready.” I’m super-excited about it because I feel like it’s empowering for not just females, but for all people that are ambitious. We’re talking about hard work that gets you to where you want to be — if you want to make it in this business, you have to put in the work [punching fist to open hand], you gotta pay your dues! And I think that’s in any business, you gotta pay dues. So we’re talkin’ about that, we got some guys around, you know, a little eye candy, and just havin’ fun!
You’ve hosted bar mitzvahs, private parties, things like that, but this is a very different stage and platform — we’re talking about celebrities you’re entertaining here, not teenagers. Did you have to question whether it was something you wanted to do, or was the answer ‘Of course!’?
Of course this is something I want to do. I didn’t have the thought of, “Do I want to do this? Am I going to embarrass myself?” I didn’t have that thought, but it does — because I’m human — there’s always that little bit of doubt, like, “Are you good enough for this?” And then I have to tell that voice, “SHUT UP! You got this! Who are you? Get outta here!”
So there’s a difference between ‘should I do it’ versus ‘can I do it’?
Right. There’s a big difference in that. I know I can do it. Should I do it? Why not? Definitely do it. When you said [laughs] entertaining celebrities is different than entertaining kids at a bar mitzvah … [deadpans] it’s the same. It’s the same. I mean, entitled, privileged … it’s the same. Most of those kids at the bar mitzvahs are probably celebrities. [Laughs] Let’s be honest.
There’s still a lot of time to go before the show, but are the wheels turning? Do you already have a lot of ideas for parodies, all the stuff you want to do?
Yes! As soon as they asked me to do it, I was already off to the races with writing jokes and stuff and parodies. The first day that I sat down to the meet with the director, he was like, “We just wanted to hear some of your ideas, if you have any,” and I guess he didn’t think I was going to have any, and I just started going down the gauntlet of everything, and he was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, I wasn’t prepared for this. Most people don’t have anything, they’re just like, whatever you want me to do.” And I was like, “Oh, I want to do whatever you want me to do, but also, I have these ideas.” I never show up empty-handed. I always show up with something. My grandma always said, “If you want to do a do a good job and be a part of the team, you have to bring something to the table.” And it’s not just you. You have to bring more than just yourself.
This bit of wardrobe [the red suit she’s wearing in the exclusive photo above] is giving me some slight Wonder Woman vibes — especially with the red top. It looks very empowering.
Yeah! I’ve had three or four different looks. I didn’t even think of the Wonder Woman vibe. You know what I was thinkin’ of? Boss Bitch vibe. But you know what, I like the Wonder Woman thing too! Give me some cuffs on my arms.
I have to imagine, if MTV asks Tiffany Haddish to host, they want all of Tiffany Haddish. I hope there haven’t been any, let’s say, restrictions on what you can and can’t do or say.
Nope, no restrictions. They’re allowing me to be myself.
But no grapefruits, I would assume.
Now, that’s not even my thing thing. That was for the movie. My thing thing is Fruit by the Foot. Oh yeah, baby!
There’s so much you can do with it. Ties hands, wrap it around …
Wrap it around! Lay it on! Don’t stop till it’s all gone! … Six feet of fun!
I feel like I haven’t seen that in so long!
It’s a kid’s snack, so you ain’t thinkin’ about it. But see, when you date somebody that’s got kids, this is what I learned about it. I was like, we need to do something that’s creative, so I took the kids’ snack. And then the kids are cryin’ about the snack, like, “Where’s my Fruit by the Foot?!” Yeah, see, that’s why I can’t date men with kids.
You ate their snacks.
Used their snacks. Demolished their snacks.
There’s an idea for the Girls Trip sequel.
[Laughs] You’re so red right now!
You have The Kitchen, The List, LEGO Movie 2, Tuca & Bertie, Uncle Drew, Night School, and The Oath all coming up — where are you finding time to host an awards show?
This is the most busy I’ve ever been in my entire existence. At this point, the most difficult thing is time management and when do I get to rest. Taking care of myself and my body, that has been the hardest thing, but I’m learning to adjust and making it work. And I’m also on a comedy tour. … Every single weekend I’m in a different city; last weekend I was in three different states.
In one weekend.
In one weekend. Three different states. When I got home, I just cried.
Because you were so tired? You must’ve crashed.
No, I was cryin’ because I was looking at my checks, like, “Girl, I’m so proud of you! Look at all this money you’re makin’! You’re gonna be able to take care of your grandma and your mom for years to come! Woooo!”
That must make all the hard work worth it.
It makes it all worth it. Like, seeing my grandmother — every time I come home she’s getting better and better, healing — and my mother is getting better. I got her out of the mental institution, got her the best doctors, the best nurses, food and everything, and watching this transformation it is … [pauses, gets choked up] it is just all worth it. I will be tired forever if I could see my family healed and better. It’s so … [cries].
I had to get my dog surgery. I’ve been needing to get her surgery for a year and a half and didn’t do it because I didn’t really have the money, and then I was like, “F— it, Imma just do it. I have the money now!” And it feels so good. Even though she’s hoppin’ around, she’s going to be good in three weeks. I was able to get my dog surgery! [Whispers] Black people don’t do that. Black people don’t really get their dogs surgeries — spayed and neutered, that’s it.
The 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards will air Monday, June 18, at 9 p.m. ET from Los Angeles.