One on One with Kevin Hart
Since his breakout role in the Judd Apatow TV series, Undeclared in 2000’s, Kevin Hart has made a lasting impact on the comedy world. Hart’s 2008 stand-up project, I’m a Little Grown Man, has continued to inspire the next waves of comedians to step outside of the box. His forthrightness, paired with his passion for helping fellow comedians break the glass ceiling, keeps his fans wanting more. With his newest stand-up special What Now set to be released in later this year, and branching out into retail with the launch of his Nike performance sneaker, Kevin Hart is said to be one of the busiest men in Hollywood.
Q: Looking back at your career, how would you say your older stand-ups will compare to What Now?
A: I love watching my old stand-ups, because I get to see myself develop into a man. I can literally see the stages of my life, and I think that’s what’s amazing about stand-up comedy for me – is that I’m honest. I’m literally giving people a picture of what I went through at all aspects of my life. You can tell when I literally had my kids, when I first got married, when I went through my divorce, after my divorce, how I responded, what type of a man did I think I was going to be. I think the hour that I’m doing now is by far my best hour of stand-up material.
Q: How do you manage to find joy and humor through what some would deem as “traumatic experiences” in your life?
A: I come from a happy place. Even though my place was dark, I’m happy. I’m happy simply because I have no reason to be angry. Life is too short to be angry, so the things that I do feel a certain type of way about, or that I may feel some type of way about, I let it out. I get it out on stage and allow other people to judge and then laugh at it. And the reason why you’re laughing is because I’m being honest. People can relate to that honesty.
Q: Are you ever worried that your fans may not be able to find “divorce,” or other triggering experiences you talk about, “funny”?
A: There’s a positive and a negative in anything that happens to you. And if you think about it, after you’re done being negative, I guarantee you’ll laugh. With or without a sense of humor you can realize common mistakes.
Q: Are you surprised by your success?
A: I don’t want to say “I am,” but I think that means that you’re doing something for a lesser benefit. I think you’ll do anything to maximize your potential in whatever realm you put yourself in. Within entertainment, there’s so many doors that you can go through. I want to open them all. I saw myself going in a direction where I made people smile. And stand-up comedy is one thing that I knew would be able to put me in that position. And stand-up has taken me into an amazing place.
Q: Why should people support What Now?
A: The beauty of What Now is that I own it. Funded it myself. Shot it. Major, major production. Partnered with Universal. Totally distributed it. I feel like if you don’t see it, you’ll be missing out on the conversations at work the next day. Why not go to work and be happy?
Q: What’s next?
A: I’m going to do a subscription-based network for comedy where I’ll give comedians ownership. I’ll split revenue with them, but allow them to take their stuff and sell everywhere, and go other places. I’m teaming up with Just For Laughs, and I’m probably going to shoot 52-72 stand-up specials through the course of the summer – mid July through the beginning of September. And I’m going after new comedians, as well as comedians that have been around for a long time. I’m big on taking advantage of my platform and giving back.