Tiffany Haddish Said “What Had Happened Was” During Her Will And Jada Swamp Trip Story And Now I’m In Love » VSB

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Tiffany Haddish Said “What Had Happened Was” During Her Will And Jada Swamp Trip Story And Now I’m In Love

YouTube screenshot via Jimmy Kimmel Live


According to Clover Hope, Aisha Harris, and other people I trust, Girls Trip is apparently the raunchy and randy comedy we didn’t know we were waiting for and wanted until it was here. (Basically, it’s the iPad of comedies.) And this makes me happy and shit, as it apparently 1) proves (again) that Malcolm Lee is Hollywood’s most underrated director, 2) gives Queen La, Jada, and Regina Hall the type of roles they deserve, 3) reintroduces the world to Larenz Tate (who apparently rode off on his bike with Nina at the end of Love Jones and said “fuck y’all, I’m never coming back“), and 4) establishes Tiffany Haddish as a star.

The Tiffany Haddish thing is the most crucial here, because if not for her star turn, she wouldn’t be on a national press tour. And if not for her national press tour, she wouldn’t have been able to tell her story about taking Will and Jada on a Groupon swamp tour. (And we wouldn’t have learned that Jada didn’t know this was a public tour, and thought “Groupon” meant that Tiffany rented a boat to take a private group on. Because Will and Jada are not like you and me.) And if not for the Groupon swamp tour story, she wouldn’t have been able to introduce the world to the glory, beauty, utility, and majesty of “what had happened was” — which comes at the 28 second mark of the video.

Of course, those familiar with this hood-adjacent idiom know that when hearing those four words together, you’re usually either 1) about to hear an elaborate story or 2) about to hear a lie. (And sometimes both.) You do not follow “what happened was” with mundanity. No one says “What had happened was, I ate the Snicker. And then I went to bed.” Unless 1) you didn’t actually eat the Snicker (or go to bed) or 2) that Snicker was a special-ass Snicker. Like, that Snicker was on fire or sitting on Rihanna’s forehead or something. Then “what had happened was” would be appropriate.

But when you’re Tiffany Haddish, and you manage to convince Will and Jada to go traipsing through swamps and shit with you, the story about that trip deserves a “what had happened was” to introduce it.

Also, it’s not unimportant that what had happened was (a phrase that manages to be redundant twice in a four word span) exists in the same linguistic stratosphere as conversate (a popular word that’s not actually a word); as both also serve as some sort of respectability Rorschach test for Black listeners. I’m sure there will be some of us who’ll listen to Haddish’s interview and cringe at her using a phrase like that on national TV in front of so many White people. And it’s not because “what had happened was” is so terrible of a phrase. It (for some) just suggests that Haddish is a certain type of Black person from a certain type of background; in possession of a certain type of Blackness that certain types of Black people would rather not see on TV as representative of “us.”

If you are one of those people — or if you’re not one of those people, but you did feel an unease — you have to remind yourself that respectability is nothing but performative deodorant. Deodorant that doesn’t even work. Deodorant whose only purpose for existing is to show White people you know how to apply it. Tiffany Haddish obviously does know how to. No one as smart and talented as her would have made it as far as she has without possessing that knowledge. But she just doesn’t give a fuck about it, and chooses not to use it. And neither should you.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Chris James

    Yes indeed, you are correct. Also, Tiffany Haddish has been at it for a long time, is really funny, and has a very powerful story.

  • Michelle is my First Lady

    Who is going to see Girl’s Trip today? 4:40 for me.

    • Charles Johnson

      Tomorrow morning/afternoon for dem mantinee prices

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        Yes, matinee prices FTW. My theater has a promotion that offers $6 movie tickets if you go between 4:00 and 5:00pm.

      • BrothasKeeper


    • Aly

      Sunday. Can’t wait!

    • I am going Sunday!! I can’t wait!!

    • Simms~

      Matinee for me!

    • Zil Nabu

      I’m making dude take me on Saturday. Wait that is tomorrow.

    • SororSalsa

      6:45 tonight!

    • miss t-lee

      Probably at some point over the weekend.

    • blueevey

      In 2 wKS for me for my bday

    • LaTanya Sothern

      She stole the show …

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        She really did though! But all the women shined in their own way throughout the movie

    • Linda Pritchard

      Saw it on Thursday night and will definitely be going again!

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        I’m going again today. ? the movie!

  • NomadaNare

    “This how rich men sit so their balls can hang”


  • Mr. Quojo .

    Girl Trip Part Two: The Swamp Trip

    • MsCee

      “Trap Swampin'” is so much more catchy lol

      • Janelle Doe

        lol, hi Ms. Cee
        *waving and e-hugs

        • MsCee

          Hey Doe Hey!

      • JamieBell

        Hahaaaaa. Tears.

      • SororSalsa

        “Trap Swampin” sounds like it should star Clifton Powell and LaWanda Page, and have a cookout with some swamp animals.

        • MsCee


      • Mr. Quojo .

        Ha! You right, We can even get some Mumble Rappers on the Soundtrack. I can hear it now: We Trap Swampin, We We Trap Swamping (Sung like we bottle popping).

    • MsSula

      When she said “What you mean safe, Bitch you from Baltimore!” I was laying on the floor.

  • MsCee

    Ahhhh the world famous “what had happened was….”often used by my daughters father when we were together to explain why his phone died, car “quit”, phone ringing at 3 a.m. etc…lol, fun times those were.

    • Simms~

      Did not mean to laugh but alas…

  • Ess da 5’6″

    When Tiffany said “You from Baltimore, bitch” after Jada said she didn’t feel safe in a car without tinted windows…


    • nillalatte

      I died! ???

    • SON!!!

    • Janelle Doe

      “oooh this is it I’m bout to make it.. I wore my best dress from China”
      – the realness is strong with this one

      • Gifcollector

        “The button fell off though during dinner” lol

    • Junegirl627

      I aint about to be the bitchon TMZ who killed the Fresh Prince! I got $280 Million in the back of my $20 a day rental!

      That was the realest statement I ever heard. Like shouts to all the drivers! I never thought of that before yall are the real MVPs

      • Janelle Doe

        ikr? I mean I lowkey wanna be her friend

      • Darkchloe144

        She a real one.

      • Aye Bee

        There were so many funny quoteables but the moment she said she was driving with both hands on the wheel I knew EXACTLY what she was thinking. lol. Not today!

        • Junegirl627


          You ain’t gonna have me out her___________! lol

          • Patriciakking

            my roomate’s mother in law makes $93 an hour on the laptop… she has been unemployed for ten months, last month her check was $13106 working on the internet five hours each day… ?see? this page

        • SororSalsa

          I watched it again today, and before she said “what had happened was”, she did the clap talk. She is such a natural, and was really great in the movie.

          • Suzannermcarthur

            our roomate’s aunt makes $76 per hour from home, she has been unemployed for seven months.. last month her paycheck was $15125 just working on the internet for 3 hours each day… ?see? this

    • s3rp3nt

      I slid ALLLLLL the way down in my seat, wiping away tears. I spent 20 years Baltimore adjacent (DC) and I love Baltimore, so yeah… #dead

    • Lea Thrace

      real tears!

    • MsSula

      It took me ALL the way out!

  • BrothasKeeper

    “Wha’had happened was” = beginning of a lie.

    I always use this phrase when I teach past participles.

  • Michelle is my First Lady

    Tiffany is legit funny. If you don’t have a friend like her, you need new friends lol.

    • Val

      Jada has had some work done.

      • Junegirl627

        Gimme some will and Jada money and I will definitely not look like me! So I ain’t mad at her

        • UrbanNortheast

          I think I look pretty good, but let me get some Will and Jada money and I have a whole list of things I’d have done. Not all at once – you got to spread them out so you can fool people – but yeah.

      • PDL….HE still working on me

        Of course. You could tell when she posted the video to boycott the Oscars.

      • miss t-lee

        A bunch.

      • Kat


      • Monica Harris

        regardless, she look good tho

  • Junegirl627

    I saw the video of her on Jimmy kimmel yesterday and I laughed so hard i gave my self a headache.

  • Furious Styles

    Best storytelling this side of Charlie Murphy (RIP)…

    • miss t-lee


    • ms. nylahou


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