Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong Are More Like Tuca & Bertie Than You May Think
Image Source: Netflix
It’s not often you can say you relate to a show about a toucan and a songbird. Then again, not every show features the vocal talents of Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong. When Tuca & Bertie was first cancelled by Netflix back in July 2019, I was one of the many fans upset that it wouldn’t be returning for a second season. That was before Adult Swim revealed in May 2020 that they’d be reviving the show on their network. “There are a million reasons why it was so important to bring it back for a second season. It’s a really important and fun show,” Wong shared with POPSUGAR about the show’s surprising renewal. “We needed to be paid and be somewhere that appreciated [the show],” Haddish added with a laugh.
“With a lot of the programming on Adult Swim, you don’t traditionally see people who look like me and Tiffany occupying that space.” – Ali Wong
For Wong, being a part of the Adult Swim world has been a refreshing experience. “With a lot of the programming on Adult Swim, you don’t traditionally see people who look like me and Tiffany occupying that space,” Wong continued. “So it’s been cool to be able to do some weird sh*t without focusing [strictly] on identity.” As Haddish puts it, being “a toucan is one thing, but to be a Black woman is a whole other thing.” That’s why she and Wong felt that representation was so important.
“All of this work happens behind the camera. That’s why it’s so important that someone like Lisa [Hanawalt], who has such a specific point of view, gets to keep expressing herself, telling these stories, and doing the work,” Wong explained. Tuca & Bertie‘s cast features the likes of Steven Yeun, Nicole Byer, Reggie Watts, Shamir Bailey, and Jenifer Lewis, a picture of diversity that Haddish made sure to highlight. Image Source: Netflix
Haddish and Wong have also found Tuca & Bertie cathartic, mostly because they personally relate to their respective characters. One of Bertie’s obstacles during the second season is working to find a therapist, which is something Wong struggled with in real life. “I struggled, then never found one,” she shared. “It made me feel kind of bad. People who have found the right therapist, love their therapist so much. And I was like, ‘What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find the right person?'”
“I’ve been depressed so many times because I’ve tried to be somebody I was not.” – Tiffany Haddish
Like Tuca, Haddish loves to party, but also relates to her on an emotional level. “What I love about this series is that we visit Tuca trying to deal with her emotions and how she’s been dealing with them. Which is something that I was doing in my 20s and early-30s,” she revealed. “Just getting rid of and stuffing them away. But here’s the thing, those emotions always come back with a vengeance. So it’s best to deal with them right then and there.”
Emotions aren’t the only thing Haddish makes sure to immediately deal with. As a Black woman in Hollywood, she’s often asked to be something she’s not. “The first thing I’ll say is ‘How much you paying me? How long do I got to pretend to be this thing that I’m not?’ because I can’t do it for more than 15 minutes. When you say cut, I’m back to Tiff, OK,” she added. “I’ve been depressed so many times because I’ve tried to be somebody I was not. Hollywood tries to say, ‘No, Black women should be like this’ or ‘Oh girl, you being too ghetto’ and I say ‘That’s where I grew up, that’s where I was raised, this is how I was raised. If you don’t like it, stop putting people in these predicaments.’ It hurts to be fake.”