Actress Tasha Smith is the modern-day Kevin Bacon. The old joke is you can connect just about any actor to Kevin Bacon in six “degrees” or less, but Tasha Smith might have him beat. The acting coach has friendships with just about everyone in black Hollywood, and not just through film roles. She has been in the trenches with some of the greats, sharing stories with everyone from Michael K Williams to Dave Chappelle to Tisha Campbell-Martin on their respective journeys through the industry. Most recently, she revealed that she and fellow actor Eddie Griffin lived together in the early ’90s, opening up about how broke they were and the things they did to get by.
Tasha Smith moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to pursue a career in acting after dropping out of high school her freshman year. The Camden, New Jersey native initially stayed with Tisha Campbell-Martin, who she knew from back home. Eventually, she ended up living with Eddie Griffin. They met outside The Comedy Store, and Griffin was immediately attracted to Tasha’s wild energy. “I got picked up over by the Comedy Store. My girl came through; she was buck wild straight out of Camden, New Jersey.” Griffin recalls. “I got a thing for women that are buck wild. That’s the kind of woman I like. If she looks like she will blow some [stuff] up, I’m going after her. And Tasha looked like she blew up a whole lot of [stuff] prior to even getting there.”
At the time, Eddie Griffin lived in a studio apartment, or “bachelor” apartment as Tasha Smith describes it. “Imagine a studio apartment with just enough room for a bathroom about the size of my bar right now. It had a toilet and a little tiny sink.” Smith had a car at the time, a “tiny” Ford Escort the pair would drive around. They both recall going to McDonald’s with only enough money to afford a Big Mac. “We had to hustle and beg for the fries,” said Griffin. “Come on! Give us some damn fries!” recalled Smith. The pair was so hungry they would eat the ketchup packets. “It was good!” joked Griffin, and he pretended to suck ketchup out of a package.
Smith also recalls going to free buffets. She would line her pocketbook with bags and smuggle out food for her and Griffin. “You know those buffets during happy hour. I would have plastic bags in my bag. I would be stealing the food. We were very, very broke.” Eventually, Eddie Griffin began to get work, and the money started coming in. Smith says that he took care of her for a time before her career kicked off. “We would have dated, but we would have probably killed each other,” said Griffin. Smith said that aside from Griffin, she and Dave Chapelle were also really cool. She also recalls Paul Mooney being a big part of her life serving as her mentor. “It was the best days of my life,” said Smith.