I’m sitting in the audience at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando and the venue is packed from wall to wall. The DJ throws on “A Heart is a House for Love” by The Dells, the audience goes wild, the curtain opens, and Kevin Hart slowly approaches the mic. The crowd is showing him so much love, and he stops for a moment to soak it up before quickly moving into his comedy routine. Hart’s most recognized for his acting roles in movies such as “Soul Plane”, “40 Year Old Virgin”, and “Not Easily Broken” but his first love will always be comedy. He’s been working the stand-up circuit for a while now and continues to transform his real life experiences into jokes that people can really relate to. Hart may be a grown little man, but his new stand-up show “Seriously Funny” is just that… seriously funny. His success may appear to have happened overnight if you weren’t paying attention, but that’s certainly not the case. These days Kevin Hart keeps busy touring the country headlining his own comedy show, starring in major films, being the newest face for Ebay’s national advertising campaign, and is continuously building his empire under the umbrella of Hart Beat Productions and K. Hart Enterprises. With the world as his oyster, Hart opens up to Da Hata with no hesitation… “alright, alright, alright”.
D: So is your AKA really Chocolate Drop?
Philadelphia living in Los Angeles
Regular plain breath stankin’ Doritos
Favorite Movie: Love Jones, and Heat
KH: Yes Ma’am D: Where did that name come from? KH: Some girl told me that I looked like a little chocolate drop, and I said “You know what? I’m gonna let it stick”. It was funny. She made me laugh with it, and I said, “I’m gonna take that name and make it legendary”. That’s what I’m trying to do. D: When did you realize that you were funny? KH: When I couldn’t fight. D: So you used jokes to disarm people?
Comedic Role Models:
KH: Pretty much.
Personal Theme Music:
D: How do you test your material before you use it in a show?
Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor
“I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” by The Gap Band
KH: By going to smaller comedy clubs. Small comedy clubs, smaller crowds. That’s how I work on material. To see what’s funny, and what’s not funny before I take anything to the theater.
D: What were the early years like for you as a struggling comic trying to make it in this industry? KH: You know it was actually good. I surrounded myself with positive people in the beginning. I had a lot of guys take me under their wing that were respected from Keith Robinson, Patrice O’Neal, Damon Wayans, Chris Rock, and Seinfeld at one point talked to me. I had a lot of comics that were concrete, solid in their profession. You know they took a liking to me, put me under their arms, and kind of showed me the way. D: Do you ever get nervous when you hear that one of your shows is sold out? KH: Ah no, it’s actually more exciting. More people, more energy. D: When did you have that moment when you realized “Ah-Hah, I’ve finally made it”? KH: I don’t. I still don’t have that moment because I don’t think like that. I mean my biggest fear is getting content with where I am. So to keep myself from getting to a place where I am content, I don’t think about it. I kind of let it go. D: If you could place some of your favorite comedians either dead or alive on a stage with you, who would you choose? KH: Oh my goodness, man… Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence. I mean my list goes on and on. D: Well speaking of All Stars, I know that you did the All Star Comedy Jam with Shaq and Cedric the Entertainer. What did that feel like to be one of the leading comedians on the center stage? KH: You know what man, it felt good. It’s a good feeling to be wanted, and for you to be in demand. Like, “Oh my God, I want to see him because he’s funny”. But when it actually starts to happen, it’s an unbelievable feeling, but like I said I try to be ignorant to that feeling because I don’t ever want to get caught up in that feeling. I’m a hard worker and I want to stay that way. The only way to stay that way is to grind.
D: Well you’ve definitely been grinding because you’re like all over the place. You’ve been in a lot of movies, and you’re most known for “Soul Plane” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin”. Does that ever get on your nerves when people recognize you for those roles? KH: Um no, as long as you recognize me. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m about 17 movies deep. I can’t expect everybody to know everything, but you know it’s getting to the point where I’m about to star in my own movies. The roles are only getting better, only getting bigger, and the cameos are getting more important. All you can ask for is to continue to go up. You know onward and upward, pretty much. And honestly, that’s what I’ve been doing. So you know it’s a good thing. D: How did you get into acting? KH: Right place right time. D: Did you have to do an audition or did some director just say “I want him”? KH: Um, Damon Dash and Jay Z saw me perform, and wanted me to do a movie called “Paper Soldiers”. From there I haven’t looked back. D: Did you have to study or did it just come naturally to you? KH: Natural. No classes or nothing.
D: Your latest film project is “Death at a Funeral” which was produced by Chris Rock. You get to play the character of Brian. What was it like working with everybody in that cast? KH: Unbelievable. You know you’re working with guys that you look up to and it was fun. We were nothing but silly when we were on set and you can’t ask for anything more than that but to be loose and have a good time. That’s kind of like the best work day in the world to me. To enjoy your job and everybody there did, so it made it more fun. D: When you did the first table read and Chris Rock looks at you as reads his lines, “Brian who’s this?” Was it hard to keep a straight face as you responded back to him? KH: Nah. It’s not funny if you’re laughing. D: To date what would you consider being your greatest work? KH: I think probably my best performance so far would be between this movie “The Last Stand” where I play a ventriloquist, or “Not Easily Broken”. D: So you’re obviously a very funny guy. Do you ever find it hard for people to take you seriously sometimes? KH: It depends on who I’m talking to. People that I know, know I’m serious when I’m being serious, because they know me. People who don’t know me, yes. D: If I was to dig through your iPod what music are you listening to on repeat? KH: On repeat right now… Usher’s new CD is really nice. Trey Songz his mix CD that he put out. Drake is in heavy rotation. You know, believe it or not I like listening to Bob Marley. Jay-Z’s Blueprint is still in heavy rotation, and the Clipse and my man Fabolous’ new mix CD is in heavy rotation. D: So what does Kevin Hart do for fun? KH: For fun Kevin Hart spends time with his kids. That’s a fun day for me.
D: I just heard that you’re doing four cities in four days. What’s it like being on the road so much? KH: Its fun, I mean I love it. Like I said I really enjoy my job. I enjoy traveling. I enjoy being universal. The best way to test your universe out is by going to different places, performing and making people laugh. If you can be yourself and still get the same reaction, and that’s pretty big. D: You’re also quite the entrepreneur. You have Hart Beat Productions and K. Hart Enterprises. Do you want to talk a little bit about your brand? KH: Heart Beat Productions is a production company that I started. We’re basically writing and producing our own projects. From film to television to reality, and taking on other peoples projects that we feel we need. K. Hart Enterprises is my personal company where I’ve basically branded my comedy and other comedians that work underneath my umbrella. We formed K. Hart Enterprises; which is a comedy unity. D: “I’m a Grown Little Man” you executive produced, wrote, and starred in this project. What made you decided to put this out? KH: At that time that was probably my best stand-up work and the title speaks for itself. You know “I’m a Grown Little Man”. Yes, I may be small but I’m grown and I have grown people problems. I feel that I put all that stuff out there on that particular special. My next one “Seriously Funny” will be out this summer and is even better. You know I’m continuing to grow up, and I called that one “Seriously Funny” because it’s not a game anymore, it’s not a rumor, it’s not what you think. It’s serious. I’m seriously funny, and this is why. D: I like that title. Is that going to be on cable or is that going straight to DVD? KH: No, no, no. It always goes to cable first. It will be on Comedy Central and Showtime, and then it will go to DVD.
D: That’s a good look right there. Congratulations. KH: Thank you…lightly laughing. D: Ebay. You’re commercials with Ebay are really funny. Did you write that? Did add your own twist or adlib? KH: I ad-libbed and I put my own personal twist on it. They gave me a template; I took it and broadened it, that’s all. D: I always see you on Twitter. Are you slightly addicted to it? KH: Twitter is a great way to promote yourself. You know, whoever invented Twitter actually did one of the most brilliant things ever. It gave people the opportunity to express themselves in 140 characters; which means that it can’t be too long, it has to be brief. But you become universal, and people that didn’t know you will know you through Twitter, and it’s also a great form of self-promotion. It’s helped me out a lot, and I love it. D: What do you consider to be your best characteristic besides that fact that you’re funny and a talented actor? What helps people fall in love with you? KH: The fact that I’m real. What you see is what you get, and there’s no façade. There’s no act. There’s no character. This is me. On and off stage. On and off film. D: Do you think that comedy could be considered a form of hate at times? KH: Um no. I think it’s a form of self-expression. You’re dealing with people who have an opinion, and this is the best way for them to get their opinion out is to make people laugh about things that they feel are positive or negative.
D: What are some of your upcoming projects? KH: “Little Fockers” that’s the sequel to “Meet the Fockers”, I’m about to go and do some more Ebay commercials, and I’m also touring with Live Nation. D: Any advice for aspiring comics? KH: Don’t do cocaine. For more information on Kevin Hart and tour dates: www.KHartonline.com
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