She’s one of the most buzzed about comedians of the past year and it turns out Tiffany Haddish has Jewish roots. Haddish, the hilarious comedian and star of the hit film Girls Trip, was born to an African-American mother and Eritrean Jewish father.
The star even took a trip this week to visit her late father’s hometown, in what was Ethiopia and is now Eritrea.
In a segment on the Comedy Central show Drunk History that aired last week, Haddish told the story of Rose Valland, an art curator who took on Nazis.
“Did you know I was Jewish?” she asked host Derek Waters.
“My father’s Jewish,” she said.
“But my mom was a Jehovah’s Witness, so I’m a Jew-Jo.”
Haddish has spoken in the past about her father, who came to the US as a refugee and was later deported when she was a small child. For decades she had no contact with him at all.
“He’s from Eritrea, he’s an Eritrean Jew, it’s right next to Ethiopia,” she said in a radio interview last summer. “It was all Ethiopia at one point in time.”
Haddish said she was told as a teenager that her father was Jewish, by her grandmother, who then explained to her what bar mitzvas were. Haddish started working bar mitzva parties as a dancer and entertainer, “and I thought maybe I would do a bar mitzva and I’ll see my dad.”
Haddish’s now ex-husband was the one to later track down her father, Tsihaye Reda Haddish.
They reconnected for her wedding, and had an on-andoff again relationship until he died last year.
But Haddish was still interested in reconnecting to her roots, and traveled to Eritrea earlier this month to find her heritage and pay her last respects to her father.
In an emotional interview with Eritrean state television that aired last week, Haddish recounted meeting long-lost relatives and trying native food, including injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread.