“The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish read by the author. 6 hours, 29minutes. Simon & Schuster Audio. 2017.
Tiffany Haddish is a standup comedian and rising Hollywood star, from movies like Girls Trip and the new Kevin Hart comedy, Night School. She has decided to put all her chips on the table at the beginning of her career rather than waiting until the limelight starts to fade. This down to earth autobiography of how she came to be “The Last Black Unicorn” is not for the faint of heart. This book is full of profanity, but unflinching truth, it will pull at your heartstrings, make you laugh until it hurts, and leave you with the understanding of how she has survived life’s storms with comedy.
From childhood, when her mother had a car accident that left her with a brain injury that made her become physically and emotionally abusive, Tiffany has used her humor to rise above the anguish with resilience. When Tiffany was put into foster care, she thwarted the other girl’s hate with humor. She was able to cover up her inability to read until tenth grade by making people laugh. Because of her humor she was offered a spot at the Laugh Factory’s Summer program, and through determination to have comedy in her life she was able to make that a reality, even getting to meet several famous comedians including Richard Pryor.
Tiffany has been knocked down again and again but has found a way, using humor, to pick herself up and make her pain our pleasure with straight forward examinations of her life. Throughout her adult life, Tiffany continues to share her stories of hardship and struggles from her days as a revenge pimp, to her experiences with comedians demanding her virtue for a spot on their tour, and even stories about her crazy abusive ex-husband. Her experiences shock you, make you a little uncomfortable and then want to throw your hands up and ask, “How can she make me laugh through it all?”
Tiffany Haddish has an indomitable spirit that will not let her circumstance dim her light, no matter what life throws at her. In the end of the book, Tiffany keeps the same humor and wit as she talks about being a rising star and feeling the pressures of Hollywood. She is not sure how to leave the broke girl mentality behind, but keeps her heart open ready to laugh at herself and share that humor with us. Her honesty and candid outlook are what captivates and keeps you listening to this book. She expresses her emotion and you can feel her pain, but also hear the voice of someone who is determined to not let her circumstance define her. To life she says, “Yeah that was messed up, but I am just going to do me, my way”. The audio version is the best way to experience this book, straight from the unicorn’s mouth.
Alexis Vivian Littell is the Branch Manager of North Park Library. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.