Even before comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish gained the level of notoriety she has today, she took note of the lack of diversity in the world of standup.
“As a standup comic and as a woman in this business, I’ve noticed that there’s not a lot of opportunities that are given to us,” Haddish said. “You have to earn them.”
Haddish, Chaunté Wayans, Aida Rodriguez and April Macie will be in Bloomington on Saturday for their evening show presented by the Union Board. All of the comedians also star in Netflix’s new comedy series “They Ready,” which is hosted by Haddish.
She found this series to be important not solely for her own career but for others who had also been involved in comedy for over a decade.
“I wanted to do something that made sense and made a difference,” Haddish said. “I’m not about being selfish or (thinking) it’s my time to be on top. I feel like there’s enough space for everybody.”
In the early stages of preparing for the show, Haddish originally compiled a list of around 100 potential comedians to feature. She pitched the idea to Netflix to play host to a handful of up-and-coming comedians as a group.
“I know what it’s like to struggle and not be given a chance, so I thought ‘Hey, I’m going to give my friends a chance,’” Haddish said. “These people that I believed in, I think they’re worth it.”
Haddish grew up in Los Angeles, California, and spent some of her youth in foster care programs there. She often collects donated suitcases before her standup events in partnership with Living Advantage, Inc. or local non-profit organizations to go to kids in foster care.
“When all your clothes, your bookbag, your papers, your birth certificate is in a trash bag… it makes you feel like garbage,” Haddish said. “I felt like garbage for years because I was being moved around with my clothes in trash bags and it made me feel like crap. I said to myself when I was 13 if I can ever do anything to make sure no kids feel like this that’s what I’m going to do.”
For her upcoming show, Haddish is partnering with the Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department to distribute the donated suitcases to children in local foster care systems. The first 100 ticket-holders who donate a suitcase will have a chance to meet Haddish following the show.
Haddish and her guests will begin their show at 8 p.m. Sept. 28 in the IU Auditorium. The performance is labeled as mature content and tickets for the event start at $46 with student pricing starting at $25.
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