'Night School' Star Tiffany Haddish Says Her Stepfather Tried to Kill Her and Her Mother

Tiffany Haddish shared a harrowing story about her family in a new interview with The New York Times.

The Times published a profile piece on Haddish on Wednesday, detailing her meteoric rise to fame and the hard road she took to get there. Among the topics covered was a terrifying car accident in 1988, where Haddish said that her stepfather was intentionally trying to kill her, her mother and her siblings.

According to Haddish, her stepfather told her directly that he had cut the brakes on her mother's car, ultimately leading to a massive crash. Haddish's mother was left with severe brain damage after her head went right through the windshield. Her vocabulary was drastically reduced, and she became violent and unpredictable. Haddish personally believes the crash ultimately caused her mother to become schizophrenic.

Haddish said that her stepfather — whom she declined to name — told her about the brake lines himself, though she admitted that he could have been lying to her for his own twisted reasons. Either way, she said that she became hell-bent on getting back at him.

"I was like, 'I must get revenge!'" she said.

She described a number of schemes she had come up with, including dating a police officer to get her stepfather arrested. Ultimately, however, she said that her grandmother convinced her to "let God handle it." Her stepfather was never prosecuted.

"His life was going really great when I was trying to get revenge," Haddish said. "As soon as I stopped doing that, life started kicking him in the ass."

The brain damage her mother suffered had a lasting effect on Haddish, and arguably became a driving force in her career. She admitted that her sense of humor developed as a defense mechanism against her mother's violence, as she could often deflect her outbursts with a well-timed joke.

"At that point it was not about being funny, it was a defense mechanism to avoid getting punched in the mouth," she said.

Knowing as much as she does about brain damage, she expressed some concern for Kanye West. She pointed to the rapper's cataclysmic crash in 2002, questioning whether his recent outbursts might be the lasting effects of head trauma.

"You could be suffering brain damage," she said of West. "Look at football players."


Haddish revealed many more the trials and tribulations that brought her to comedy stardom, even some that she did not include in her book, The Last Black Unicorn.

Haddish stars in the new movies The Oath, which hit theaters on Friday, and Night School, which began its theatrical run on Sept. 28. She also stars in the upcoming movie Nobody's Fool, which hits theaters on Nov. 2.