There’s good stress and there’s bad stress. Thankfully Tiffany Haddish experienced the former last week.
The red hot comedienne, who’s gearing up to set out on her nationwide “She Ready” tour, got to live out her childhood dream of hosting Saturday Night Live on Nov. 11. Between delivering the show’s cold open and playing everything from a hilariously lackluster video game character to a way too frisky cat lady, the pressure to perform was at an all time high.
“That was the most stressful week!” Haddish, 37, tells PEOPLE exclusively, in her first interview since the show. “I’m about 7 lbs. lighter. I call it the SNL stress diet. I feel like I just had a baby!”
Haddish, this year’s breakout star thanks to her hilarious role in the summer blockbuster Girls Trip, says she got a major pep talk from her A-list costars. “Before the show, Jada [Pinkett-Smith] told me ‘You better tear it up, destroy it, represent for all of us!'” recalls Haddish. “And Queen [Latifah] told me the same thing.”
Despite making history as the first African-American female standup comedian to ever host the legendary show, Haddish says she didn’t have any jitters. After a week full of writing and rehearsals with Lorne Michaels’ staff, “By the dress rehearsal I was just anxious to get it done. I was like ‘Come on guys, let’s do this, come on, come on.’ I felt like the captain on a navy ship.”
Reflecting back on the moment, “I feel really awesome about it,” says Haddish. Her peers agree. “The comedian homies, they’ve all been giving me love,” she says of hearing from pals Dave Chappelle and Neil Brennan.
But she also made some new friends. “That was my first time ever seeing Taylor Swift perform and meeting her,” says Haddish of the night’s musical guest. “And like, we’re friends now. She’s been texting me. Actually I’m wearing a Taylor Swift t-shirt right now!”
Related Video: Tiffany Haddish Dances with Diddy in Girls Trip Exclusive
With SNL less than a week behind her, Haddish is gearing up for her nationwide “She Ready” standup tour, opening in Cleveland, Ohio before hitting multiple cities like New York, Detroit and Denver, ending at the Mirage in Las Vegas this April. With her upcoming memoir The Last Black Unicorn, out Dec. 5, as well as multiple new film projects lined up, Haddish is busier, and more famous, than ever.
For tickets to see Tiffany Haddish live, visit TiffanyHaddishTour.com
After last week, “Every where I went it was like ‘Is that Tiffany, Is that her?'” she says of getting recognized. “Sometimes I’ll be like, ‘Yea, it’s me girl!’ And then sometimes I don’t say a thing and just try to ear hustle to see if they’ll talk mess about me. But they all say nice stuff!”