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Tiffany Haddish Bombed Onstage and Gave Us All a Great Lesson in Dealing With Failure

The comedian's jokes might have flopped, but her response was pitch perfect.

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There is some debate over who actually uttered the famous phrase, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” but there is little debate that actor/comedian Tiffany Haddish learned it the hard way while performing on stage on New Year’s Eve.

Johnny Louis | Getty Images

Shortly after taking the stage at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, the star of Girls Trip and a ton of other comedies spoke about partying until the wee hours of the night/morning before, and then, according to those in attendance, forgot her material and stumbled through the rest of her set as audience members booed and headed for the exit. Haddish was well-aware that things weren’t going swimmingly, and was quoted saying, “This is gonna be on TMZ or whatever like ‘Tiffany Haddish Ate a Bag of Dicks on New Year’s Eve!’”

Related: Why We Should Teach Kids About Failure

By all accounts, she then grabbed a bottle of Ciroc and started drinking with the remaining audience as she wrapped things up.

Is your stomach in a knot just reading this? Whether your job involves standing in front of an audience telling jokes or sitting in front of investors pitching your business, there’s a good chance things haven’t always gone your way. Maybe you misspoke, maybe you were ill-prepared, maybe you got brain freeze and completely locked up. It happens to everyone, and most people (this writer included!) will spend the following day, week or month with our heads buried, humiliated, frustrated and replaying the disaster on a constant loop in our brains.

But not Haddish. The next day, Haddish owned up to her onstage crash-and-burn and sent this out to the Twitterverse:​

While many on social media took this moment to deride Haddish for being unprepared and -- every comedian’s worst nightmare -- unfunny, there is a lot to learn from her response: she owned up to her screw-up, vowed to learn from it, and is clearly moving on.​​​​​​

At Entrepreneur, we talk about embracing failure all the time, and Haddish’s response was as powerful for what it said as it was for what it did not. She didn’t get defensive. She didn’t make excuses. And most importantly for her own mental health, she’s not dwelling on the bad. You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it to help shape the future. So next time you are bombing in a meeting, know that it’ll be over soon enough and that there will always be tomorrow. And, if necessary, a bottle of vodka.

Related: Jon Taffer Says There Is One Common Denominator in Every Failure

Dan Bova

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Dan Bova is the editorial director of digital content at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his humor writing at Planet Bova.