All Articles Tagged "SNL"

Comedienne Tiffany Haddish Talks Going From Foster Homes And Illiteracy To The Carmichael Show And Feature Films

April 6th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Tiffany Haddish


Don’t underestimate Tiffany Haddish.

It’s something people have been doing for way too long. Whether it’s been fellow comediennes who thought she was just a pretty face trying to use her looks to get ahead (that’s what Leslie Jones thought before they became buddies), an agent who told her she would never be anything (“I was like, ‘Oh, I’m gon’ be something. Even if it’s a rich man’s baby mama, I’m going to be something”), or reporters like myself who didn’t understand how she paid the bills with a short-lived role on Tyler Perry’s If Loving You is Wrong (“Yes, do drama! Haddish exclaimed over lunch with reporters at the 20th Century Fox lot), Haddish has been underestimated time and again. But after leaving our meal together, I realized one wondrous thing about her: Haddish is a hustler, and after years of hustling her way through poverty and the foster care system, she’s using her talents to obtain the success she deserves.

It hasn’t been an easy road for The Carmichael Show star, not by a longshot. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, her mother suffered from mental illness. Haddish and her siblings were eventually placed in the foster care system. She said it was those rough years that taught her to make other people laugh. By doing so, she was able to find a sense of peace, a “safe place.” She was able to learn most from and connect most with those who also had a sense of humor.

“The stage is my home. It’s my safe place,” Haddish said. “Someone might shoot me up here, but they’re not going to come up here with a belt and whoop me in front of everybody. Nobody’s going to let that happen to me. And I feel like, I’m more apt to do things for people that make me laugh, that bring me joy. I’ve learned more from people who make me laugh. The teachers I remember, in my life, are all people who made me laugh. Most people that are damaged and hurt, which is most comedians because we’re all pretty crazy and messed up in some kind of way, gravitate to comedy because it’s healing. It’s straight medicine to be able to get up on stage and speak your ideas and people laugh–either in agreement or disagreement or shock or whatever. But to be able to invoke emotion in a room full of strangers is a powerful thing.”

That ability also helped her get through school. Haddish spent a majority of her young life not knowing how to read. It wasn’t until her drama teacher found out when she was 15 and forced her to come practice reading during lunch and nutrition classes that Haddish gradually caught up. Knowing how to read “is the thing I’m most proud of.” But before she was caught, she was relying on her colleagues. By making her classmates laugh and building connections, she was finally able to keep people from bullying her for being poor, but she was also able to get them to help her pass from grade to grade.

“I was excellent at making people laugh and getting people to do things for me,” Haddish said. “All I knew were my ABCs and like three-letter words and McDonald’s. Things you see every day. So I was a professional cheater. I saw this movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and that movie is the basis of my existence. I was getting beat up in school, picked on and all of that. And when that detective said to the rabbit, ‘Why are people doing these things for you?’ He said, ‘Because I make ’em laugh, Eddie. If you make ’em laugh, they’ll do anything for you.’ And I was like, ‘That’s what I’m gonna do! I’m going to make the smart kids laugh, and they’ll let me copy their homework. Maybe someone can teach me to do this and that.’ I fit into every circle because I needed to copy [laughs].”

After high school, Haddish struggled because while she was accepted into drama programs and different schools, she couldn’t afford to pay her way through such institutions.

“I was like, ‘Where do you get tuition from?'”

Feeling depressed about her circumstances, Haddish did customer service work, was employed at an airline, and did what she could to pay bills. After finding herself in a slump, depressed, she was encouraged by a mentor to get back into doing comedy. So she did. She entertained patrons at coffee shops and performed at The Laugh Factory before she was offered her first paid gig. Not surprisingly, there’s a funny story behind it.

“It was at the Renaissance Hotel. It was a lesbian convention of some sort–I didn’t know, though,” Haddish said. “I just thought it was a lot of women just having a dinner [laughs]. I get up on stage, and I tell my jokes. At that time, all my jokes was about my boyfriend. They started heckling me and stuff. They were like, ‘Do you know where you are little girl?!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m at the Renaissance Hotel telling jokes!’ And they were like, ‘You’re at the Gay, Lesbian blah blah blah.’ I was like, ‘Oooooh.’ The booker didn’t tell me, but I did 10 minutes, and they gave me $50. I was like, ‘This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life!’ Ten minutes and $50 bucks?!”

So after working all kinds of jobs in between gigs (including teaching dance, stand-up and improv at youth centers, and even doing hundreds of stand-up routines at bar mitzvahs), Haddish started to focus solely on acting and comedy. Doors began to open–and then kind of close.

It was just a few years ago that she was one of a few comediennes talking to TMZ about what it was like to audition for Saturday Night Live after Kenan Thompson said many of the Black comics who try out for the sketch comedy show “weren’t ready” to land such a gig.

She now says opening her mouth about it to the press wasn’t a good idea, claiming the TMZ reporter twisted her words. But she doesn’t regret what she had to say about that entire process and controversy, or the impact it had on her career.

“They asked me how I felt about it, and I was like, ‘Well I was a little upset because I didn’t know that the audition was actually a show people were buying tickets to,” Haddish said. “I get paid! I get paid when I do a show people buy tickets to. I was just told to come down at 10 o’ clock and audition. So I thought it was going to be two guys and a camera. I’m going to do my impersonations and then go home. But it was a full theater full of people that bought tickets. Nobody told me. I could have had my fans come out and watch me. That part had me mad. Now you’re making money off of me.”

She continued,”I feel like this. I’ve produced projects before. And when I produce something, I know who I want. Now, if they don’t get back to me fast enough, I’m going to start holding auditions. But I feel like, personally, if you already know in your mind you’ve been following somebody for two or three years, and you’re trying to get them to be on your thing, then you get that person. Don’t have 50, 70, 800 Black women come and audition for something you know you don’t want to hire any of them for. Now you’re wasting my gas money and my time. I could have been creating my own stuff!”

But Haddish admitted that such a setback only made her more determined. She continued to audition and hustle with bit roles here and there, including work on Real Husbands of Hollywood. Finally, after losing her gig on Tyler Perry’s If Loving You is Wrong as Jackie and not getting Meagan Good’s role on the short-lived comedy, Mr. Robinson, she was offered the role of Nekeisha on NBC’s The Carmichael Show as a series regular. And she is also starring in the upcoming comedy, Keanu, with comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Things are looking up for the talented and resolute comedienne who still also does stand-up comedy (for big bucks) and still resides in South Central (because she wants to–for now). So much so that some of the same people who used to bully her in school and underestimated her for so long are trying to get on her good side. Like an old ruffian named Chauncey, she ran into recently while he was doing his work as a security guard.

“He was like, ‘Tiffany! I’ve been seeing you everywhere. You’re really out here! You’re everywhere.'”

“I looked at him,” she said, “And I was like, ‘Why yes. Yes, I am.’ It felt so good! [laughs]”

Check out Haddish on The Carmichael Show on Sunday nights (9 p.m. EST) on NBC, and in Keanu when it comes out on April 29 in theaters. 


Leslie Jones Said She Cussed Kenan Thompson Out For His Comments About Black Comediennes

December 30th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Leslie Jones Said She Cussed Kenan Thompson Out For His Comments About Black Comediennes

JLN Photography/wenn

Two years ago, comedian Kenan Thompson had us all giving him the side eye for his comments about Black, female comediennes. In case you forgot, he said:

“Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members (Thompson, Pharaoh and the Iranian Nasim Pedrad), Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. ‘It’s just a tough part of the business,’ Thompson says. ‘Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.’”

Later, the quote would be misconstrued and people would claim Thompson said Black women weren’t funny. You just read it, that’s not exactly what he said but perception is reality and the comment itself was icky and ill-informed for the start.

And is subsequently sparked great change in the overall makeup of the show as Lorne Michaels hosted an audition specifically for Black women. Sasheer Zamata joined the cast as a result and veteran Leslie Jones followed shortly after.

Naturally, Jones had heard of Thompson’s comments when she joined the cast. And in a recent profile with The New Yorker, she explained how she spoke to him about it once the officially met.

“Soon after the article was published, Thompson was denounced online. (In a reaction video on YouTube, a woman named Dawn Melissa said, “Seriously, get it together. Because there’s no joke funnier than the one your mom made when she had you.”) Around this time, Jones was at an L.A. comedy club called Inside Jokes, waiting to go onstage, when someone told her about Thompson’s comment. “He should come battle me,” Jones said. “Give me ten minutes and I’ll ruin his life.” That night, she had a strong set. After her closing joke, she said, “And they say we ain’t funny, huh?,” dropped the mike, and walked off to a standing ovation.

On the podcast, Jones said of Thompson’s remark, “They’re not ‘ready’? That’s bullshit. ’Cause I know I’m ready.”

LeRoi, who has worked as a producer on several comedy shows, said, “ ‘Ready’ is not just the can-you-be-on-camera part. When you say ‘ready,’ it’s, like, ‘Yeah, bitch, you might have four impersonations, but can you write a fucking sketch? Yes—can you get ten sketches turned down and write an eleventh sketch?’ ”

Jones tried to speak.

“No, no, no—keep listening,” LeRoi said.

She exhaled audibly, but let him finish mansplaining. “I have never said I would want to be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ” she responded. “I don’t do impressions. I don’t know if I could write sketch. So, no, I would never put myself into that circle. Even if they asked me to come and audition, I’d really be, like, ‘Eh, I don’t know if I can do that.’ But I do know women who can.” Pounding a hand on the table, she added, “There’s motherfuckin’ three bitches I can call right now, goddammit, that will fill that spot. . . . Just because you don’t know them, that don’t mean that they don’t fucking exist. That’s like saying Italy does not exist. Motherfucker, yes, it does. I’ve been there.”

When Jones met Kenan Thompson, she confronted him about his TV Guide interview. “I came at him, like, ‘I heard what you said, motherfucker.’ He said, ‘Come in, close the door, let’s talk.’ ” Thompson told me, “What I said was that the show hadn’t found the right people. That was true. And at the end of the day Leslie and Sasheer both got jobs, so I’m happy.” These days, Jones said, “Kenan is possibly my best friend on the show.”

So happy to hear that these two were able to work that out. Jones’ entire profile is quite interesting as she details her grind from Def Jam, the Black comedy club circuit, White clubs, how Chris Rock told Lorne she was “the funniest woman I know” and the techniques that make her performance so magical. Check out the full profile here.

Congrats Taraji, But We Need More Diversity! 9 Black Women To Ever Host ‘Saturday Night Live’

March 27th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Taraji P. Henson talks being "underestimated" by Hollywood executives.


Congratulations are in order for Taraji P. Henson. In case you didn’t hear, the Empire star will host Saturday Night Live on April 11. While this is a wonderful accomplishment the D.C. native can add to her resume, it unfortunately is a reminder of a lack of diversity when it comes to hosts of color. Taraji will become the tenth Black woman to ever host SNL… in 40 years. That’s just two percent of the hosting pool compared to the 29 percent of white women who previously hosted.

In case you’re wondering, here’s a look at the other nine hosts.


Funny Lady! Taraji P. Henson To Host SNL

March 26th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Taraji P. Henson To Host SNL


Just because Cookie has taken a hiatus from our television screens, it doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing Ms. Taraji P. Henson in the meantime. Earlier today, via their official Twitter, “Saturday Night Live” announced that Henson would be hosting the April 11 episode.

We Could Have Been Watching Kevin Hart This Whole Time? Celebrities Who Were Rejected By Saturday Night Live

February 17th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Celebrities Who Were Rejected By Saturday Night Live

Image Source: WENN

We caught the lost audition tapes on Saturday Night Live‘s 40th Anniversary episode and we have just one question: we could have been watching Robert Townsend, Kevin Hart and Steve Carrell this whole time? Check out this list of seriously funny celebrities who were rejected by Saturday Night Live.

D’Angelo Salutes Travyon Martin & #ICantBreathe Movement During SNL Performance

February 1st, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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D’Angelo is back and he’s back with a message.

A few weeks ago, we reported D’Angelo released a new album Black Messiah, after a lengthy 14 year hiatus. Now, the singer is promoting this new album around the country. His latest promotion was a powerful appearance on Saturday Night Live.

During his second performance of the night, D’Angelo wore a hoodie to salute Trayvon Martin while his band, the Vanguard, wore shirts with the words “I Can’t Breathe,” a tribute to Eric Garner.

In addition to the shirts, a chalk outline of a human body was drawn on the floor, referencing Michael Brown, Eric Garner and sadly so many more. D’Angelo’s performance was a beautiful tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.

We’re proud of D’Angelo and congratulations to him on a successful performance.

Eddie Murphy Plans To Return To ‘SNL’ After 31 Years

January 30th, 2015 - By Raven Carter
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From BlackVoices 

The last time Eddie Murphy made an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” was Dec. 15, 1984. Thirty-one years later, it appears Murphy will finally return to the show that helped make him a star. In an interview with Roland Martin for NewsOne Now, Murphy said he’d appear on the forthcoming 40th anniversary special for “SNL” that NBC will air on Feb. 15.

“It just never worked out where the timing was right for me to do it,” Murphy said when asked why he hadn’t appeared on “SNL” in decades. “They’re actually having a 40th anniversary, I think, in two weeks. I’m going to that, and that’ll be the first time I’ve been back since I left.”

A representative for NBC was not immediately available for comment.

Murphy’s acrimonious history with the show dates back to a joke David Spade made about him on Weekend Update during the 1990s, when Murphy’s career had hit a low point after “Vampire in Brooklyn.” (“Look, children, a falling star.”)

Read more about Eddie Murphy returning to 

Kevin Hart Hosts SNL Again, What Did You Think?

January 18th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Kevin Hart has absolutely NO intentions of slowing down.

The comedian/rockstar hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time last night. The first time Hart performed on SNL was in 2013. Kevin had the honor of hosting the first episode of 2015 for the show.

During his hosting gig, Kevin performed several skits and kept the audience laughing. Some of our favorite skits include “Why’d You Post that?”, “Listening Party” and “Bushwick, Brooklyn 2015.” Take a peek at the different skits and tell us your favorite!

Kevin Hart is truly one of our favorite comedians of the 2010s.

Bushwick Boys 2015

Get On Up

Why’d You Post That?

Listening Party

The Journey

Nicki Minaj Impersonates Beyonce, Kim Kardashian + Performs on SNL

December 7th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Last night, Nicki Minaj treated fans with a musical appearance on Saturday Night Live. The rapper performed several songs off of her album The PinkPrint and starred in 3 skits.

First, Minaj portrayed Beyonce as Jesus’ mother in an MTV nativity scene parody. She also appeared as Kim Kardashian on the Weekend Update where she discussed Kim’s famous Paper Magazine Cover and the true meaning behind it. And lastly, Nicki Minaj starred in a skit with the host of the evening, James Franco.

Nicki definitely reminded her fans of her talent last night. She is one of the only musical acts that had the pleasure of performing multiple songs and appearing in multiple acts. Most acts are only allowed one performance.

Kendrick Lamar Makes Triumphant Return To SNL Stage

November 16th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Kendrick LamarKendrick Lamar returned to SNL with a bang last night.

Not only did Kendrick appear in a skit called “Young Tarts & Old Farts, but the Compton rapper performed twice, including a performance with Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk and rapper Jay Rock. While the rapping was on point, of course, one of the most notable parts of Kendrick’s triumphant return was his attire: The Compton star rocked his hair half-braided and wore all black contacts in his eyes.

The outfit sent the streets of Twitter into frenzy. Some followers called him Lafayette from the series “True Blood,” while others figured out his likely inspiration. Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Method man’s debut solo album “Tical.” Method man was known for his crazy hairstyles, aka those braids, and wearing all black contacts as Kendrick did.

Judging by viewer reaction, Kendrick’s performance will undoubtedly earn a spot on SNL’s best performances list. His attire, energy, and famous dance moves were simply the icing on the cake.

Check out K dot below. What do you think?

Sidenote: Woody Harrelson was guest host on SNL last night. How many of you were hoping for a “White Men Can’t Jump” reenactment?