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For Tiffany Haddish and six unsung comedians, Netflix's new special is worth crying over

Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- Inside the Netflix headquarters on Sunset Boulevard, one of the most in-demand comedians in Hollywood is fighting back tears.

Tiffany Haddish is set to premiere her own special on the streamer later this year. But it's her other project, which turns the spotlight on six of her favorite comedians, that gets her so choked up she strains to say the words.

"Every single person here ... has their own story to tell," Haddish says.

Seated at a conference table, she's surrounded by six women she's worked with in comedy clubs or on TV: Chaunte Wayans (MTV's "Wild 'N Out"), April Macie (NBC's "Last Comic Standing"), Tracey Ashley (TBS's "The Last O.G."), Aida Rodriguez (Comedy Central's "This Week at the Comedy Cellar"), Flame Monroe ("Def Comedy Jam") and Marlo Williams (BET's "Comicview").

She's cried with them. She's prayed with them. There have been pep talks through divorces and financial hardships. And dream-filled pacts to lift a friend up if success comes knocking.

For Haddish, it's been knocking, ringing the bell, practically breaking down the door.

 

Since her breakout role in 2017's "Girls Trip," Haddish has been on a hot streak -- she can currently be seen alongside Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss in the mob drama "The Kitchen"; this fall, she'll host CBS' revival of "Kids Say the Darndest Things." She also costars in Tracy Morgan's TBS comedy, "The Last O.G.," and has a number of film roles on the horizon, including Eric Andre's "Bad Trip." Now, Haddish is coming back for her friends and giving a platform to women, people of color and LGBTQ performers who, she says, the industry often overlooks. Each of the comedians will have their own half-hour stand-up special on Netflix in "Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready," which debuted Tuesday. In addition to hosting duties, Haddish executive produces alongside fellow stand-up Wanda Sykes and comedy producer Page Hurwitz.

"They Ready" joins Netflix's growing slate of stand-up series and specials, and adds more marginalized voices to the service, which has faced criticism for the lack of diversity on its comedy roster, particularly with regard to women of color. (The company recently announced that it's tapped "Saturday Night Live" cast member Leslie Jones for a comedy special, set to air next year.)

In a mid-July interview, Haddish and the relative unknowns of "They Ready" talked about the importance of a worldwide platform, the struggles they've faced in the comedy world, and why the heck they're crying so much.

A recurring theme of the series is keeping promises -- this idea of, with success, not forgetting to lift up one's peers. Tiffany, talk about why this series was important for you and what you hope it accomplishes.

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