Kevin Hart: Stand-Up comedy’s reigning star

Kevin Hart in a scene from Real Husbands of Hollywood.

What you need to know:

  • PHILIP MWANIKI exclusively spoke to Kevin Hart about the hit show and his career.

If laughter is the best medicine, then prepare for an overdose when Kevin Hart takes the stage. One of the funniest men today, he says he doesn’t need to go far to get his jokes; he just looks at his life and gets all the material he needs.

Self-deprecation is what has got this pint-sized comedian to the top of his game and landed him major roles in movies like Soul Plane and Think Like a Man.

“When you talk about your flaws, people gravitate towards you,” Hart said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

The New York Times quoted Hart where he explained that his comedy was not always so confessional but the more personal and revealing it turned, the more successful he become.

“Once you tap into that,” Hart said, “is when your career takes off.”

Nothing is off limits with Hart. He even jokes about his mother’s funeral and he turned his divorce into a stand-up sketch.

His stand-up DVDs have helped him rake in millions of dollars. Hart grossed over $15 million (Sh1.2 billion) from “Laugh At My Pain,” making it one of 2012’s top-selling comedy tours.

Perfected his art

Anybody can make fun of their lives but Hart has done it in a manner only perfected by a few comedians like Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, and Dave Chappelle. The 31-year-old comedian who stands at 5 feet 5 inches even named his first comedy tour, “Grown Little Man” and he hasn’t looked back since.
Originally from Philadelphia, he started off as a shoe salesman and then branched into comedy at a local amateur comedy night club.

Under the moniker “Lil Kev”, his journey to stardom started off by being booed off the stage on many occasions but that did not derail his dreams. Instead, he carved out his own style after his attempt to copy Chris Tucker failed.

Hart now plays in the big leagues. He has a show on BET, Real Husbands of Hollywood, a comedy-improv reality television parody which follows his life and those of Nelly, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, JB Smoove, Nick Cannon and Robin Thicke.

Why didn’t you do a full reality show and not an improv?

I wanted it to be different. Reality shows are all over these days and it is mostly about women arguing or fighting. I figured we could come up with a show like the Real Housewives of Atlanta and just make fun of reality shows. It is much better that way.

How did you get Boris, Duane, JB, Nick Cannon and Robin Thicke involved?

I am very good friends with each of them so when I approached them and convinced them to do the show with me, they did not hesitate. They said they would do it because they believe in me and what I was working on and we started shooting. It was a real honour to have them come on board.

You spend majority of the time talking about your fascination with Robin Thicke’s wife, Paula Patton, and literally stalking her. Did you discuss this beforehand with Thicke?

Yes I did, but not everything I said or did in the show. He did not have any issues and neither did she. It was all in good fun.

How about you kissing a picture of Necole Ari Parker in front of Boris?

I don’t think we planned that one but he did not have a problem. They are beautiful women and we are good friends as well. I had explained that the show was going to be random and they agreed. Not everything that happens on the show was planned, some things happened as we moved along and we were all happy with the outcome.

You even have your ex-wife on the show!

Yes. We are still good friends and I asked her to come and add some drama. She did just that and it turned out well, I think.

Were you surprised with the reaction the show received?

Yes. I was very surprised how fast the show grew. It received a lot of positive comments and it has been a big success for me and for BET.

So I take it we will see a lot more of Real Husbands of Hollywood?

Definitely. We are already working on Season Two and you will see more celebrities and crazier stuff this time. It is bigger and better.

Who are some of the celebrities we should expect?

We have lined up Chris Rock and Kim Kardashian, among others. Just wait and see.

You are a big name in Africa, do you know that?

I have been told that and I am extremely humbled. I am working on including Africa in my tour schedule so if all goes well, I should be in Africa soon.

You are very successful. What keeps you grounded?

I don’t think about it too much because I don’t want to be content. I want to always stay hungry and strive to do more. I also stay true to my beliefs and never let the success get to my head.

With your NBA All-Star antics, do you harbour any basketball ambitions?

I may be a short man but I am a very good basketball player. I am just letting Lebron and Kobe shine and taking my time with comedy so that when they are done, I can enrol and dominate. Haha!

You were booed off stage when you started out. How did that not kill your dream?

I turned all the negative into a positive. I had to learn how to get laughs and the boos taught me how to do that. Always turn your negatives into a positive.

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