Y’all! This girl! She is crazy, and I say that in recognition of like meeting like. Or rather, like reading like. She is crazy!
I’m a little late to the party, I know. This book was on my radar last year and I just didn’t get to it. The title caught my eye, because “unicorn,” but I didn’t really know who Haddish was at the time. Comedian? Singer? Grownup child star? I knew it was some type of celebrity memoir, but I didn’t know if it was spiritual, self-help, funny, or what. Turns out, it’s all three.
If you also don’t know who Haddish is, she’s a super funny chick who starred in Girls Trip and Night School, comedy specials, and stand-up shows, and several other things. Not having seen those, I know her from her hilarious Groupon commercials and as that chick who always shows up at events in the same white designer dress that she says she wears all the time to get her money’s worth! I listened to the audiobook which Haddish reads herself, and it was a great option.
I laughed till I cried and then cried until I laughed. Really. She’s got some stories to tell. Some are small vignettes of a day in the life, others are much more personal, some are deeply disturbing. To hear Haddish tell them though, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry and most of the time she prefers that you laugh. As Haddish says, she doesn’t like to dive in the “emotion ocean,” just skim along the top. She shares some heavy stuff but in an honest, offhand way. For example, Haddish talks about being molested at 13 in a foster home by an older man who said sucking on her prepubescent boobs would help them grow. Only, Haddish didn’t know she was being molested, didn’t realize until she was an adult and talking with another female friends about the things young girls do to make their boobs grow. According to Haddish, the man never did any of the things people warned her molestors would do: he didn’t try to touch her privates, he didn’t ask her to touch his, and he didn’t tell her not to tell anybody. She didn’t know. She just thought he was doing her a favor. It’s not a funny story. Neither are the beatings she endures from a variety of people throughout her life, people who should have loved and protected her for the most part. Not funny stories at all, but there is something in the telling of it where Haddish manages to make you smile despite the horror.
There’s funny stuff, too. Haddish takes Will and Jada Pinkett Smith on a swamp tour in New Orleans, tickets she bought through Groupon (whom she currently endorses). According to Haddish, Jada thought “Groupon” was a private tour boat, as in you take a group on it, and was surprised when they all three turned up for a tour with the masses. With Haddish driving. High. In a $20 a day rental car. No security, no tinted windows. They took the tour and ended up having a great time by her account. Wish I had been there! She also out-pimps her wannabe pimp ex-boyfriend, stealing his girlfriend out from under him and getting the girl better gigs and more money. That’s how you get revenge. Don’t get me started on the sex tape bootlegs or her praying to Jesus in front of a live audience to give her the strength to beat a drunk girl’s a$$ at a show! I would hang with her anytime.
Haddish covers being bullied due to her looks (a wart grew in the middle of her forehead and led to her being called a ‘dirty ass unicorn’); her childhood with a mentally ill parent; living in foster care; dealing with racism and sexism in the entertainment industry; really bad relationships; and surviving to succeed. Among other accolades, she’s the first black female stand-up comic to host Saturday Night Live and she was hilarious! Like I said, you’ll be crying laughing and then shocked to your core at some of the things she has been through. Her personality really comes through in the audio version and you can’t help but be won over!
Here is a clip from The View with Haddish as a guest just after her book came out. You can get a good idea of her particular charm, humble but proud and she has every right to be. She’s come a long way from her childhood and overcome tragedies that might break the rest of us. And, please, if you listen to the audiobook, listen all the way to the end. The Last Black Unicorn song Haddish sings is not to be missed! I promise!