The Real Reason Billy Crystal Made Tiffany Haddish Cry

While working together on the comedy film "Here Today," things got pretty emotional for Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish. On the May 5, 2021 episode of "Today," Haddish recounted how she got tapped to lead in the Crystal-directed film, opposite the comedian.

"My agent called me and was like, 'Billy Crystal would like to talk to you, he would like to meet with you,'" recalled the "Girls Trip" actor. "I was like, 'Billy Crystal wants to talk to me? Are you serious?'" And with that, the two joined forces for "Here Today," a movie that follows a veteran comedy writer (Crystal) and singer (Haddish) in New York as an unlikely friendship evolves. Crystal told People that he "was really looking to do a movie about a relationship between an older man and a younger woman that was about friendship and love, but not in a romantic way."

During the aforementioned "Today" interview, Haddish opened up about the only obstacle she faced while filming "Here Today": Crystal wanted her to shed some tears in the movie.

Billy Crystal personally picked Tiffany Haddish to lead his movie

When this powerhouse comedy duo got together, it wasn't all laughs. The script calls for Tiffany Haddish's character to get emotional, and that was a bit of a hurdle for her at first. In a chat with her "Here Today" co-star Billy Crystal and "Today" host Hoda Kotb, Haddish said, "The only thing I had an issue with was when Billy was asking me to cry." 

"I was like, 'I've been spending 39 years of my life suppressing tears, not crying in front of people — do you know how hard it was to train myself to turn all tears into jokes?'" said Haddish. "[Billy] was like, 'Nah, I want you to cry.' And he got it out of me." So how did the legendary comedian get Haddish to tear up? She said he taught her to stay present and embrace the feelings. "I've trained myself to be like, 'When I feel like busting out with the Viola Davis snot tears, just make a joke! Do something, laugh, swallow those tears! Do something to make it go away," said Haddish. "And Billy was like, 'Don't do it. Just be."

Crystal previously told People that it was "a joy to direct" his co-star. "When she said to me, 'Just tell me what you want. Help me get to where Emma needs to go. I totally trust you,' I knew she would be great," he said.