Before the comedian became an award-winning actor in projects like Girl’s Trip she was part of the ground staff for Alaska Airlines, and it taught her an important lesson about comedy.
Watch that scene and there’s no doubt that Haddish was born to make people laugh, that comedy is her particular language. But the actor’s first big job wasn’t on the comedic stage it was as part of the ground staff for Alaska Airlines.
The job was a means to an end for Haddish – she worked there when she was just starting in comedy, and it helped her make ends meet while she worked on material for comedy shows on the weekend. But it also proved a fertile training ground for the power of making people laugh, too.
Speaking to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Haddish revealed that she was always trying to find ways to make the grumpiest, most unhappy travellers smile.
“I would like to think of myself as one of the best customer service agents,” Haddish said, beaming, to Colbert. “I worked at the gates and my goal was always to bring happiness and joy to people – still to this day.”
She recounted that whenever an announcement needed to be made over the airport’s loudspeakers, Haddish would take it upon herself to make the announcement as excitable and exciting as possible. “We would have a flight delayed to Mexico or something, people have bad attitudes and stuff,” Haddish explained. When the flight would finally open, Haddish would yell: “’It’s time to go to Mexicoooooo!’ and everyone would be like ‘Yeah!’”
This tactic, though, did not ingratiate her with her superiors. “I would get written up because you’re not supposed to give announcements that incite the boarding area,” Haddish said. “You just have to be professional. That’s how they want you to do it. Not me. Not me.”
Later, Haddish was moved to the baggage department where only the truly grumpiest travellers passed through her doors. There, Haddish met the customers searching for bags that had been lost and diverted.
“My goal everyday was OK, they put me here. I got this. Anybody who walk in my door is gonna leave here happy,” Haddish told Colbert. The comedian even tried out some of her techniques on the late night host, which mostly included over-enthusiasm and quick repartee.
“This is why they can’t have you doing this,” Colbert responded through laughs. “Because people would want their bags lost and their flights delayed.”
“It got to the point where people would come in just to say hi to me,” Haddish confirmed. “’Yo Tiff, how are you?’ And I would be like ‘I got a comedy show coming up do you want a ticket?’”