Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish a stand-up comic since she was 16

Tiffany Haddish has a raunchy scene with fruit props in Girls Trip.
Tiffany Haddish has a raunchy scene with fruit props in Girls Trip.PHOTO: UIP

Stand-up comic Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star of the film Girls Trip, wants to be known for more than just telling sex jokes

Look up Tiffany Haddish on YouTube and it is likely the breakout star of the comedy Girls Trip will be doing a stand-up routine about sex.

In one bit, the 37-year-old goes into detail about the sounds her body parts emit when she is in bed with a man.

She, as they say, works blue. A scene in Girls Trip, where her character demonstrates a bedroom technique with the aid of fruit props, has been compared to Meg Ryan's restaurant moan in When Harry Met Sally (1989).

Speaking to The Straits Times on the telephone from New York last week, she says she wants everyone to know that she is much more than a sex-joke comic.

"I started doing stand-up when I was 16. I did kids and teen parties for 11 years.

"I know how to be PG13 if I need to be," says the star of Girls Trip, a hit in the United States with more than US$120 million (S$164 million) earned at the domestic box office.

It's like a plum tree. Sometimes it takes four to seven years before you see any fruit. But once the fruit starts showing up, it sure is delicious.

ACTRESS TIFFANY HADDISH on being called a breakout star despite spending more than a decade in show business

Now showing in Singapore, it stars Haddish, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith as four college friends who reunite to enjoy a life-changing vacation in New Orleans.

It has been a great year for movies with black leading characters, with films such as Girls Trip and the horror movie Get Out finding great commercial success in the US.

These two films have helped dispel the belief that films with black leading characters in typically black social situations cannot break out of the black audience demographic, says Haddish, who was previously married but is now single.

"All kinds of people enjoyed those movies. I don't necessarily think they see them as black films. I don't remember anyone calling Die Hard a white film."

Also, when films about members of the black community are made, they tend to be worthy dramas, often with an Oscar in mind - see Moonlight (2016) and Hidden Figures (2016).

But Girls Trip was never anything other than a piece of entertainment about black women having fun, Haddish says. That kind of movie is much rarer than people think.

"The last movie I remember where black women were having fun as a group was Waiting To Exhale," she says. Released in 1995, the film is about four women who have to overcome relationship hurdles to find happiness.

"They had to go through the wringer before they had any fun," quips Haddish, now working on episodes of a new sitcom, The Last O.G., co-starring with 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan.

She thinks it is interesting that the media are calling her a breakout star and an overnight success when she has been in show business for more than a decade.

"I've been putting in this work for years. It's like a plum tree. Sometimes it takes four to seven years before you see any fruit. But once the fruit starts showing up, it sure is delicious."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'Rate her PG13'. Print Edition | Subscribe