SXSW: Tiffany Haddish on Wanting to Host the Oscars, Getting Into Character for ‘The Last OG’

The Last OG
Courtesy of TBS

After Tiffany Haddish’s Oscars 2018 presenter moment with fellow comedienne Maya Rudolph caused social media to go wild, the actress would love to actually host the awards ceremony next year.

At a panel for TBS’ new half-hour comedy “The Last OG” at SXSW Monday — which Variety‘s own Ramin Setoodeh moderated — Haddish said that her experience on the Dolby Theatre stage just a few weeks back was like an audition for the “ultimate job.”

“I would love to do something like that it would be a dream come true,” she said when asked if she would want to host the show. “Tiffany just wants to make sure she gets paid when it happens!”

In the meantime, though, Haddish is focused on “The Last OG,” in which she stars alongside Tracy Morgan in his first scripted television comedy since “30 Rock” came to an end in 2013. The following year, Morgan was in a car accident that put him in two-week coma.

“After the accident I got a second chance at life and love and all these things, and part of my healing process in the wheelchair — not knowing if I would be able to walk — was watching ‘Key & Peele,'” Morgan revealed.

Jordan Peele is an executive producer on “The Last OG.” Teaming with him — as well as TBS — was important to Morgan because of the way they worked that would allow him to “say what [he] wanted to say and give [him] the kind of show [he] wanted to do.”

“When Jordan gave me the script, every single page of it was relatable,” added pilot director Jorma Taccone.

It was important for those people “The Last OG” to make the series feel authentic. This included shooting on location at the coffee shop that Taccone usually frequents, as well as using both the exteriors and interiors of real Brooklyn, New York housing projects.

“It’s hard work being fake, but it is amazing being yourself — and never be afraid to try new things,” Haddish said on the importance of freedom and authenticity. “When somebody hatin’ on you, you made them feel something and you did your job.”

“The Last OG” sees Morgan as an ex-con named Tray who gets out of prison after 15 years to realize his old life — and his beloved city of Brooklyn — has become unrecognizable. Meanwhile, Haddish is Shay aka Shannon, the love of his life who is now living with a white guy (Ryan Gaul), raising the twins he never knew existed.

Although Haddish has been on a hot streak of late, she noted that when she auditioned for “The Last OG,” she wasn’t sure she was going to get it.”

“I think at first they were a little afraid I was too goofy and silly and wouldn’t be able to do it — but I brought it,” she said.

For Haddish, who wanted to bring “110%” to the role, the key was in understanding why her character was the way she was.

“I like to think of where they come from. Any character I play, I have already written a whole other story,” Haddish said. “She came from a not great background. Her mother was probably on crack, she didn’t know her daddy. Maybe Tray didn’t want me to see him in jail no more. This is, in my mind, what happened to Shannon.”

The series will showcase how Tray and Shannon fit into each others’ new lives. Through his character finding his way in this new, foreign world, Morgan noted the show is really about “guidance.” The key relationship for Tray will still be with Shannon — “that person in your life that’s gonna keep you from going down that wrong road,” he said.

While the show is out to make people laugh, those behind it are also hoping to making audiences think and reflect.

“We are teaching something, and we’re opening up avenues for conversation, and the best way to do that is through comedy,” Haddish said.

“The Last OG” premieres April 3 at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.