Before Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish had plans for a comedy show of her own, as the comedian recently revealed in a recent Comedy Actress Roundtable.
It’s no secret these days that Hollywood has a problem with gender inequality. Last year, women comprised just 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in the US, while a study from the 2018 USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that female speaking characters in the top 100 movies accounted for just 31.8 percent of all roles.
In one area in particular, though, women remain woefully underrepresented: comedy.
Even with the rise of female-authored comedies like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, GLOW, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin trending on our Netflix homepage, female perspectives are all too rare on stage and screen. Now that a new generation of comedians like Kate McKinnon, Mindy Kaling and Ali Wong are performing side-splitting routines on the regular, and the perennial debate over whether women are funny is finally dead in the water, the time is right to tackle the inclusion crisis.
One comedian who’s no stranger to the gender inbalance in the world of comedy is Tiffany Haddish, who tackled the issue in a recent Comedy Actress Roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter alongside Regina Hall, Jane Fonda, Natasha Lyonne, Alex Borstein, Maya Rudolph and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
When asked how her comedy career would have panned out without the success of Girls Trip, in which she landed a breakout role, the actress revealed that she would have created her own show, Hollywood and Haddish, “a really fun show dealing with the world of female comedians and how to navigate in a man’s world.”
The Last O.G star went on to detail the challenges women face in such a male-dominated industry, where female comedians find it near-impossible to gain approval amongst their male counterparts. “It’s such a boys’ club and you have to fight your way in and be like, “Yo, I’m just as funny as you. I can be up there just as long as you and I can pack this theatre just as well as you.”
Hollywood and Haddish, meanwhile, would explore the actress’ attempt to lead a normal life while dealing with fame. “It’d be about that and then trying to have a regular life, but guys are afraid to date you because they think you’re going to talk about them onstage. It’s like, “Please, you’re not that poppin’.” And also about trying to lift up your family. It would be about my life. And it’s already written.”
Granted, challenging the systemic inequality in Hollywood that has persisted for decades will never be an overnight transformation. But with comedians like Haddish speaking out about the need for female-led shows that diverge from the straight, white, male viewpoint, and lending our support to these boundary-breaking comedians working to diversify the film and TV industries, we can push companies with the power to finance women-led projects to move female representation forward.