Book notes: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish book review summary and key ideas.

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish book review summary.


“From stand-up comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish comes The Last Black Unicorn, a hilarious, edgy, and heart-wrenching collection of autobiographical essays that will leave you laughing through tears.

Tiffany Haddish grew up in one of the poorest parts of South Central Los Angeles. Her mother wound up with a debilitating brain injury after surviving a car accident. Tiffany never fit in anywhere: not in the households she rotated through in the foster care system and certainly not at the nearly all white high school she had to ride the bus an hour to attend. As an illiterate ninth grader, Tiffany did everything she could to survive. After a multitude of jobs, she finally realized that she had talent in an area she never would have suspected: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny: It’s just who she is. But The Last Black Unicorn is so much more than a side-splittingly hilarious collection of essays – it’s a memoir of the struggles of one woman who came from nothing and nowhere. A woman who was able to achieve her dreams by reveling in her pain and awkwardness, showing the world who she really is, and inspiring others through the power of laughter.” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I know that Tiffany Haddish is an actress and a comedian and I’ve seen a few movies with her in it. I mostly picked up this book because it had so many reviews in a very high average rating so hopefully it’s good! I do love good biography and memoir type books.

Key notes:

  • Growing up, people always made fun of her because of things she couldn’t control like her wart on her forehead
    • People called her a unicorn
  • For her freshman year, she didn’t know how to read or write, so she had to fake it and find ways around it
  • Richard Pryor told her that she needs to have fun on stage because then the audience will have fun, and that’s what they paid money for 
  • Her mom got into a car accident and everything changed after that
  • When he was drunk, her stepdad admitted that her and her siblings all should have been dead because he took a life insurance policy out on them and cut the breaks on their mom’s car before she went out
    • That was the day Tiffany coincidentally pleaded to watch her siblings instead of going with their mom
  • She suffered a lot of domestic abuse from her husband as he was very violent and controlling
  • In standup, you have to have fun but also know yourself
    • You learn how you physically act when you say things and what reactions you get
    • It’s like playing a piano where you know what keys to stroke
    • With comedy, you’re like fiddling with people’s souls.
    • You’re trying to resonate with people so that they can relate
    • To do that, you have to put yourself out there
  • Comedy is way harder for women
    • Her advice is to never trade stage time for sex because you’ll be more successful in the long run
    • All of the other women who did that never made it through
  • She had a crazy experience taking Will and Jayda Smith to a swamp tour
  • The also insisted that she get an assistant to take care of the day to day so she can focus on the important work
  • Poor mindset can work when you’re poor, but it doesn’t work well when you have a little bit of money
  • How you look in Hollywood can often make you money
    • Opportunities in Hollywood can open up for you if you are sending the right signals about yourself
    • Fashion is part of how to send the right messages
  • You have to value yourself properly 
  • After the movie girls trip came out, her rates were $1000 at a minute
    • It used to be one dollar a minute
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your hurts and pains
    • Other people go through the same stuff as you but they don’t go through it because then it’s too painful and they never get over it because they don’t talk about it
  • A lot of her comedy comes from her pain
    • She wants to grow roses out of the poop

Main ideas / Themes:

  • Comedy is about having fun and resonating with people so they can relate
  • An assistant can help free you up to focus on the important work
  • You need to upgrade your mindset once you have more money
  • Opportunities can open up based on sending the right signals about yourself, like your fashion
  • Always value yourself properly
  • Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and talk about your hurts and pains, which can help other people through theirs

Closing thoughts:

Such a great book. There were such great stories, though I didn’t take a lot of notes because I just wanted to enjoy the book and the narrative.

Also, the book wasn’t very idea or principle-oriented, which is fine. I think there were a handful of good nuggets of wisdom I took from it.

Overall, if you’re a Tiffany Haddish fan, I’d highly recommend it. I wasn’t before, but it definitely made me more interested in her works, and I even watched the movie Night School just to put her personality into context.


The rise of Tiffany Haddish in her own words.



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