Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong are wacky birds of a feather in ‘Tuca & Bertie’

May 1, 2019

by Carla Hay

Tiffany Haddish, Lisa Hanawalt and Ali Wong
Tiffany Haddish, Lisa Hanawalt and Ali Wong at the world premiere of “Tuca & Bertie” at the during 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in new York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Netflix’s “Tuca & Bertie” is an animated comedy series, which the streaming service describes as being about the friendship between two bird women in their 30s who live in the same apartment building in Birdtown, a fictional place that is clearly inspired by New York City. Tuca (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) is “a cocky, care-free toucan” and Bertie (voiced by Ali Wong) is “an anxious, daydreaming songbird.”Among Tuca and Bertie’s friends, colleagues and neighbors are other animal creatures with human-like qualities. They include Speckles (voiced by Steven Yeun), a robin who is Bertie’s loving boyfriend; Pastry Pete (voiced by Reggie Watts), a baker penguin; Dapper T. Dog, a prissy neighbor; and Dirk (voiced by John Early), an arrogant rooster who works with Bertie at their job at a media company called Conde Nest—an obvious nod to Condé Nast.

“Tuca & Bertie” has several of the same executive producers as Netflix’s Emmy-winning animated series “BoJack Horseman,” including Lisa Hanawalt (who created “Tuca & Bertie), Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Noel Bright and Steven A. Cohen. Haddish and Wong are also executive producers of “Tuca & Bertie,” whose 10-episode first season premieres on Netflix on May 3, 2019. The first two episodes of “Tuca & Bertie” had their world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, where Haddish, Wong and Hanawalt did a Q&A after the screening. Here is what they said:

“Tuca & Bertie” (Image courtesy of Netflix)

Lisa, how long were Tuca and Bertie in your head, and when did you realize they needed a TV show?

Hanawalt: I started making comics about Tuca about four years ago, and then I started making comics about Bertie a little bit later. When I was thinking of TV show ideas, they just seemed like two of my favorite characters I ever made up. They just basically write themselves. They know exactly who they are.

I just wanted to make a show about female friendship. I thought the two of them would go well together. They’re kind of opposites, but Bertie has Tuca qualities and Tuca has Bertie qualities. And you can kind of see why they’ve been friends for so long.

Tiffany and Ali, what did you first think when you heard about “Tuca & Bertie”?

Haddish: When first I heard about it, I was like, “OK, two friends. That’s what’s up. I’ve got friends. This is funny … Where do I sign up? Do I get an executive producer credit?”

Wong: I didn’t know much about it. The only things I had heard that Lisa Hanawalt created a show about two birds that were best friends, and that Tiffany Haddish, who I’ve known for a long time and hadn’t worked on anything yet, was attached to it. That’s all I needed to know. “Yes, I’ll do it right now!”

Ali and Tiffany have executive producer credits on the show, right?

Wong: We do, but we didn’t do that much to deserve it.

Hanawalt: Yeah, you did.

Haddish: Yes, we did. I don’t know about you, but my feet hurt. I deserve it.

“Tuca & Bertie” (Image courtesy of Netflix)

How are you like your Tuca and Bertie characters in real life?

Wong: I suffer from crushing anxiety, like everybody else.

Hanawalt: You hide it well. You’re fearless.

Wong: I try. Yeah. I didn’t even know what you guys were looking for. I just went in [for the audition], and it was really short. I was like, “Oh, I didn’t get [the role], because they kicked me out so fast.”

Haddish: I was like, “Y‘all better get my homegirl, or I ain’t playing with y’all.” And ta-dah! We’re working together! That’s how you do it. I’ve been watching Hollywood. I see what y’all do.

Wong: I met Tiffany 10 years ago in San Francisco. She was so positive and so sweet then, even though it was the shittiest time. We were struggling and everything.

And then I saw her the next time in New York, when she had auditioned for “SNL” [“Saturday Night Live”]. Everybody around town knew she killed it. She knew she killed it, and she was like, “If they don’t give it to me, it’s fucked up.”

Haddish: No, I said, “If they don’t give it to me, fuck them!” That’s what I said.

Wong: “Fuck them, until I host for them!

Haddish: Yep. I said, “Next time, I’ll be hosting.”

Wong: And she did it in that white dress she’s worn a million times to maximize the value out.

Haddish: That part. It’s about saving our dollars, girl.

Wong: And then after I saw her after she auditioned for “SNL,” she had just booked a role for this movie with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith [2017’s “Girls Trip”].

Haddish: And then boo-yah. I told you we were going to do it, girl.

Tiffany and Ali, what qualities do each of you have that bring out the best in each other?

Haddish: We balance each other out. I can be really over-the-top sometimes. And I look in her eyes and I’m reminded that I can bring it back down a little bit. It just depends. [She says to Wong] I really value you a lot.

Wong: Thank you.

Haddish: I like having her around. I wish we could be in the studio together more often, like when we made that song.

Wong: Oh my God. That was so fun. Tiffany is a good singer. I had to some training in the studio.

Hanawalt: You’re both really good.

Wong: Please don’t make me sing. I’m an executive producer. I command you to not make me sing. Please don’t make me sing!

Hanawalt: Ali has a whole musical number in Episode 4. She sings about having an anxiety attack.

Wong: We [Haddish and I] have duet that’s very catchy. I wish I wrote it so I could get residuals for it. It’s amazing. Tiffany’s really busy, if you’ve noticed. She’s doing five movies a year, all the time.

Haddish: You’re really busy too. You’re raising human beings.

Wong: That is true. When we got to see each other and work together, it was great. I hope we get to work together again.

Haddish: Yeah, more often. Season 2! Let’s go!

[Haddish and Wong then led an audience chant saying, “Season 2! Let’s go!” Wong also got up on her chair and twerked to the chant.]

“Tuca & Bertie” (Image courtesy of Netflix)

“Tuca & Bertie” is one of the few adult animated series that was created by a woman. What did you want to do differently in this show that you don’t see in other animated shows?

Hanawalt: I just wanted to make a show that I’d want to watch. I love watching adult cartoons. I’ve always loved watching animation. I wanted to see one about women and female relationships and women in the world, with stupid jokes I would laugh at and spicy chips for lunch and the kind of stuff that I want to watch.

And a lot of animated shows don’t have characters in their 30s. The characters either under 30 or over 40, right?

Hanawalt: I wanted to make a show about me and my friends and what we’re going through and right now … When you’re in your 30s, people really start to split off in drastically different directions.

Suddenly, your friends have a bunch of kids, and they own their own home and they have a husband and they seem super-stable, but inside they’re still like, “Do I really want this? I don’t know. Am I doing the right thing?” Meanwhile, I still feel like a big, sloppy baby, but I’m sure I look like I might have my shit together on the outside.

“Tuca & Bertie” tackles some serious topics, like sexual harassment and Tuca’s struggle to stay sober. Tiffany and Ali, how much of this did you know in advance before signing on for the show?

Wong: I honestly knew nothing. Lisa and the [other] writers were breaking the stories on as we were coming in to read the script. We’d just show up at the table read, and that’s when I would find out what the story was. Some of the twists and turns—you’ll see in the season—they shocked me in a really cool way. It’s serialized. That’s something you don’t usually see a lot in animation.

Hanawalt:  It starts out light and fun, but there’s definitely some darker stuff that happens. I think overall though, the show is very optimistic and feels like safe place, but we go into some darker things.  I didn’t want to tell them, because I didn’t want to scare them away.

Haddish: Yeah. I was like reading it, and I was like, “What just happened? Oh, hell no! For real? Okay, then. Continue.”

Hanawalt: There were definitely things I wanted to tackle. I like shows that are really silly and surreal and then also have some very real, relatable moments and darker themes.

What were some of the things you were most excited about in the look and design of “Tuca & Bertie”?

Hanawalt: I was thinking about things I’m not allowed to do on “BoJack.” There’s going to make talking plants. Fuck it!

Haddish: I was most excited about Tuca’s ass. In Season 2, let’s see if she can get some titties! Just putting it out there, boss lady.

Wong: I was excited to see the scenes with Tuca and me together. Also, the scenes with Steven Yeun, who plays Speckles, my boyfriend.

What do you want people to get from watching “Tuca & Bertie?”

Hanawalt: I hope people find it funny and relatable. I hope women see themselves in these characters.


2018 CinemaCon: What to expect at this year’s event

April 23, 2018

by Carla Hay


CinemaCon, the annual convention for the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), will be held April 23 to April 26, 2018, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. About 5,000 people attend the event, which gives movie studios the chance to showcase what they expect to be their biggest hits of the year.

Movie studios scheduled to give their presentations at the event are Sony Pictures Entertainment on April 23; Walt Disney Studios, STX Films and Warner Bros. Pictures on April 24; Entertainment Studios, Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Paramount Pictures on April 25; and 20th Century Fox, Amazon Studios and Lionsgate on April 26.

One of the highlights of CinemaCon 2018 will be the 2018 Pioneer of the Year Award Dinner on April 25. The event will honor Tom Cruise, the first actor to ever receive the award. Tony-and-Grammy-Award-winning “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. will perform at the event, which will include a special presentation from Cruise’s “Jack Reacher” director Christopher McQuarrie, who also directed Cruise in 2015’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” and 2018’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”

CinemaCon culminates with the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony, which will take place April 26.

Here are the announced winners of the awards:

CinemaCon Lifetime Award
Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Jodie Foster has been one of the most critically acclaimed actors in movies since made her big-screen debut in 1972’s “Napoleon and Samantha.” Her most famous movies include 1976’s “Taxi Driver,” 1997’s “Contact” and 2002’s “Panic Room.” She has two Oscars for Best Actress: for  1988’s “The Accused” and 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs.” In 2018, her thriller film “Hotel Artemis” is set for release. Foster has also become a respected director and producer, having helmed several feature films, including 1991’s “Little Man Tate,” 1995’s “Home for the Holidays,” 2011’s “The Beaver” and 2016’s “Money Monster.”

CinemaCon Icon Award
Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

In a career spanning more than 45 years, Oscar-nominated Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in more blockbusters than any other actor. His hit films include 1993’s “Jurassic Park,” 1994’s “Pulp Fiction,” “Star Wars” Episodes I II and III, 2004’s “The Incredibles,” 2012’s “Django Unchained” and several Marvel Studios films, such 2010’s “Iron Man 2,” 2011’s “Captain America; The First Avenger,”  2012’s “The Avengers,” 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” 2015’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The prolific Jackson has several movies scheduled for release. In 2018, his movies include “The Last Full Measure,” “Incredibles 2” and “Life Itself.” In 2019, he has three movies that are predicted to be big hits: “Glass” (the hybrid sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split”), “Captain Marvel” and a remake of “Shaft.”

CinemaCon Visionary Award
Jack Black

CinemaCon Vanguard Award
Jonah Hil

Jack Black and Jonah Hill (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Grey Goose Vodka)

Jack Black and Jonah Hill are co-stars in 2018’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.” Although they have appeared in dramas, they are mostly known for their comedic roles. Black’s biggest hits include 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” the “Kung Fu Panda” movies, 2003’s “School of Rock” and 2005’s “King Kong.” His other 2018 movie is “The House With a Clock in Its Walls.”

Hill, who received Oscar nominations for supporting roles in 2011’s “Moneyball” and 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” has appeared in a number of hit movies, including 2007’s “Superbad,” 2012’s “21 Jump Street,” 2013’s “This Is the End,” 2014’s “22 Jump Street” and the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies. He’s also reunited with his “Superbad” co-star Emma Stone in the Netflix series “Maniac.”  In 2019, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is due out in cinemas.

CinemaCon Award of Excellence in Acting
Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones (Photo by Christopher Polk)

Felicity Jones had carved out a niche in independent films (usually dramas) before she was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in 2014’s “The Theory of Everything.” Since then, her career has grown by leaps in bounds, including starring roles in 2016’s biggest blockbuster, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and 2016’s “Inferno.” In 2017, she starred in the critically acclaimed “Breathe.” She plays U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2018’s “On the Basis of Sex.”

CinemaCon Male Star of the Year
Benicio Del Toro

Benicio Del Toro (Photo by Richard Foreman Jr.)

Benicio Del Toro won an Oscar for his supporting role in 2000’s “Traffic.” He has developed a reputation for playing brooding, often mysterious characters in critically acclaimed movies that range from ,ow-budget independent films to major blockbusters. Del Toro’s best-known movies include 1995’s “The Usual Suspects,” 2013’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and 2015’s “Sicario” and 2016’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”  His movies set for release in 2018 are “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” which is expected to the biggest box-office hit of the year.

CinemaCon Female Star of the Year
Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Coming from from a family of famous actors (her parents are Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith; her maternal grandmother is Tippi Hedren; and her former stepfather is Antonio Banderas), Dakota Johnson has forged her most recognizable identity in movies as the star of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy. She has four very different movies in 2018: S&M-themed romantic drama “Fifty Shades Freed,” the horror movie “Suspiria” and the thriller “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

CinemaCon Director of the Year
Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)

After directing just three feature films (2014’s “Fruitvale Station,” “2015’s “Creed” and 2018’s “Black Panther”), Ryan Coogler has become one of the hottest filmmakers in Hollywood, thanks to the blockbuster success of “Black Panther,” which broke the record for the highest-grossing film to open in February. The movie also earned rave reviews from critics, and “Black Panther” is set to be in the Top 5 of the highest-grossing movies of 2018.

CinemaCon Breakthrough Producer of the Year
Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union (Photo courtesy of BET)

Gabrielle Union is not new to making movies (she’s starred in 2000’s “Bring It On” and 2012’s “Think Like a Man, among other films), but she is relatively new to producing movies. Union was an executive producer of her 2016 comedy film “Almost Christmas,” and she’s a producer of her 2018 thriller “Breaking In.”

CinemaCon Action Star of the Year
Taron Egerton

Taron Egerton (Photo by Larry Horricks)

Taron Egerton is best known to movie audiences as the star of the “Kingsman” movies: 2014’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and 2017’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” His 2018 movies are the big-screen version of the true-crime drama “The Billionaire Boys Club” and as the iconic title character in “Robin Hood.” Egerton is also set to star as Elton John in the biopic “Rocketman,” whose release date is to be announced.

Cinema Spotlight Award
Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Anna Kendrick is best known for starring in the “Pitch Perfect” comedy/musical movies, but she is equally adept at doing dramas, such as her Oscar-nominated turn for her supporting role in 2009’s “Up in the Air.” Her 2018 movie is “A Simple Favor,” a mystery thriller

CinemaCon Female Star of Tomorrow Award
Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish (Photo by Michele K. Short)

Tiffany Haddish is a longtime stand-up comedian, but she had a major breakthrough in movies with her much-talked-about role in the 2017 comedy smash “Girls Trip.” Since then, her career has been on a hot streak, with starring role in TV and movies, including four films due out in 2018: “Uncle Drew,” “Night School,” “The Oath” and “Nobody’s Fool.”

CinemaCon Breakthrough Performer of the Year
LilRel Howery

LilRel Howery (Photo by Jason Lubin)

LilRel Howery made movie audiences stand up and take notice as the wise-cracking TSA worker in the 2017 horror blockbuster “Get Out.” It was a small but memorable role for the actor who was previously known on screen for starring as Bobby Carmichael in “The Carmichael Show.” Howery’s 2018 movies are the comedy “Uncle Drew” and the sci-fi thriller “Birdbox.”

CinemaCon Comedy Star of the Year
Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon (Photo by Adam Rose/ABC)

Kate McKinnon has already won multiple Emmys for her work on “Saturday Night Live,” but she has also made her mark on the big screen, with scene-stealing roles in 2016’s “Ghostbusters” remake, 2017’s “Rough Night” and 2017’s “Ferdinand.” In 2018, her comedy movies set for release are “Irreplaceable You” and “The Spy Who Dumped Me.”

Other awards that will be given at the ceremony:

  • CinemaCon International Filmmaker of the Year Award: J.A. Bayona, director of 2018’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”
  • CinemaCon Passpartout Award: Kurt Rieder,  20th  Century Fox International executive VP for theatrical in the Asia Pacific region
  • NATO Marquee Award: Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Cinépolis CEO/general director
  • Career Achievement in Exhibition Award: Robert Carrady, Caribbean Cinemas president

2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards: Tiffany Haddish announced as host

February 22, 2018

Tiffany Haddish
Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip” (Photo by Michele K. Short)

MTV today announced that actress, comedian and New York Times bestselling author Tiffany Haddish will host the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards on Monday, June 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.  The 2018 categories and nominees will be announced at a later date.

Tiffany Haddish is quickly establishing herself as one of the most sought-after actresses and comedic talents in television and film. She exploded onto the scene after her breakout performance in the blockbuster hit “Girls Trip;” recently released a New York Times bestselling book The Last Black Unicorn; and late last year became the first black female stand-up comedian to host “Saturday Night Live.” Haddish’s viral appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” led her to become the face of Groupon and appear in the company’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial.

Haddish is set to star opposite Tracy Morgan in the TBS sitcom “The Last OG” and alongside Kevin Hart in Universal’s “Night School,” premiering later this year.

Official sponsors of the “2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards” include MTN DEW®, Taco Bell®, Toyota and truth®.

For additional information visit and follow @MTVAwards and @MTV on social media. #MTVAwards

About MTV: MTV is a global youth culture brand inspired by music.  For more information, check out  MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA).


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