Kevin Hart

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Kevin Hart

Kevin Darnell Hart[2] (born July 6, 1979)[3] is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and producer. Born and raised in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, Hart began his career by winning several amateur comedy competitions at clubs throughout New England, culminating in his first real break in 2001 when he was cast by Judd Apatow for a recurring role on the TV series Undeclared. The series lasted only one season, but he soon landed other roles in films such as Paper Soldiers (2002), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Soul Plane (2004), In the Mix (2005), and Little Fockers (2010).

Hart’s comedic reputation continued to grow with the release of his first stand-up album I’m a Grown Little Man (2008), and performances in the films Think Like a Man (2012), Grudge Match (2013), Ride Along (2014) and its sequel Ride Along 2 (2016), About Last Night (2014), Get Hard (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and Night School (2018).

He also released four more comedy albums, Seriously Funny in 2010, Laugh at My Pain in 2011, Let Me Explain in 2013, and What Now? in 2016. In 2015, Time Magazine named Hart one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.[4] He starred as himself in the lead role of Real Husbands of Hollywood.[5]

Early life

Hart was born on July 6,1979 in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania.[3] He was raised in a single-parent household by his mother Nancy Hart,[3] who was a systems analyst for the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services at University of Pennsylvania.[2] He has one older brother named Robert.[2] His father, Henry Witherspoon,[6] was a cocaine addict who was in and out of jail throughout most of Kevin’s childhood, and Kevin used humor as a way to cope with his troubled family life.[3] After graduating from George Washington High School, Hart briefly attended the Community College of Philadelphia and moved to New York City.[7][8][9] He then moved to Brockton, Massachusetts, and found work as a shoe salesman.[9] He began pursuing a career in stand-up comedy after performing at an amateur night at a club in Philadelphia. His comedy and acting career really kicked off big time even before he appeared in several films such as Ride Along (2014) & Get Hard. His success was not overnight and clearly it wasn’t due to a single film, but years of contributing to comedy platforms.[10]

Career

Stand-up

Hart’s first gig was at The Laff House in Philadelphia under the name of Lil Kev, which did not go well.[11] His career suffered a slow start, as he was booed off stage several times, once even having a piece of chicken thrown at him.[12] After those initial unsuccessful shows, Hart began entering comedy competitions throughout Massachusetts and audience receptions of his performances eventually improved.[9]

It took time for Hart to develop a unique comedic style. After an early period of attempting to imitate comedians like Chris Tucker, he found his own rhythm by delving into his insecurities and life experiences. “Because of what I do, it has to be an open book,” he has said. “But right now this is a book that is being written.”[12]

Hart’s comedy tours began in 2009 with his act titled I’m a Grown Little Man, followed by Seriously Funny in 2010, Laugh at My Pain in 2011, and Let Me Explain in 2013, the later two of which were also released as features in movie theaters.[11] Hart grossed over $15 million from “Laugh at My Pain”, making it one of the year’s top-selling comedy tours.[citation needed] Hart also has a game available through iTunes called “Little Jumpman”. His Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel are all connected to and accessible through this app.[13] Most overseas fans of Hart discovered him on YouTube, as well.[14]

On April 9, 2015, Hart embarked on a comedy world tour titled the What Now? Tour at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, which concluded on August 7, 2016, at the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia. On July 16, 2015, Universal Pictures announced that Kevin Hart: What Now?, a stand-up comedy film featuring a performance of Kevin Hart’s What Now? Tour, would be theatrically released in the United States on October 14, 2016.[15] The show was filmed live on August 30, 2015, in front of 53,000 people, at Philadelphia‘s Lincoln Financial Field.[16][17]

Film and television roles

Hart came to prominence from his guest appearance in Undeclared. He made his film debut in the film Paper Soldiers. Hart then gained further recognition from his other films such as the Scary Movie franchise, Soul PlaneThe 40-Year-Old VirginDeath at a Funeral, and Little Fockers.[citation needed] He turned down a role in the 2008 film Tropic Thunder because the character is gay, citing his own “insecurities”.[18]

Kevin Hart with director Charles M. Robinson, October 2009

He played Doug in the film The Five-Year Engagement (2012) and appeared in Think Like a Man which was a box office success. He also appeared in the sequel. He had a cameo as himself in This Is the End. In 2013, Hart played a boxing promoter in Grudge Match and appeared in Exit Strategy as Mannequin Head Man. He also appeared in 35 and Ticking.

In 2014, Hart starred as Ben in Ride Along, opposite Ice Cube.[19] The film received generally negative reviews from critics, but was a major box office success.[20][21] Hart returned in the sequel, Ride Along 2, which was released on January 15, 2016.[22][23]

In 2013, Hart co-created Real Husbands of Hollywood with Chris Spencer. The show follows Hart along with other married celebrities (each playing a comical fictionalized version of themselves) within the series including: Boris KodjoeNellyDuane MartinJ.B. SmooveNick Cannon, and Robin Thicke. Thicke didn’t return for the second season due to his music career, though Hart has stated that the door is open for Thicke to return.[24] The series is intentionally filmed in a style similar to Bravo‘s The Real Housewives. Episodes often hinge on the “real” Kevin Hart’s desperately unsuccessful attempts to climb Hollywood’s celebrity social ladder (which always backfire in humiliating ways), and the character’s barely-hidden jealousy of his more successful celebrity friends. A sneak peek was shown as a segment during the 2012 BET Awards and the official promo was released in October 2012.[25]

In 2015, Hart starred in the films Get Hard with Will Ferrell and The Wedding Ringer. In 2016, he starred in the movies Central Intelligence, with Dwayne Johnson, and the animated The Secret Life of Pets.[26][27] In 2017, he starred in the movies Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, in a voice role, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with Jack BlackKaren Gillan, and retaming again with Johnson.[28][29]

In 2018, he produced his first film under his production company HartBeat Productions, Night School.[30] In October 2018, it was announced that through his production company, he has signed a first-look deal with Nickelodeon. Under the deal, Hart and his HartBeat Productions banner will develop and produce live-action, scripted kids content for the network. Hart also has a first-look film deal with Universal Studios.[31]

In 2019, Hart’s film The Upside, his first headlining role in a drama, was theatrically released. It also starred Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman.[32] Hart also reprised his role of Snowball in the sequel The Secret Life of Pets 2.

Upcoming projects

Hart will star in the sequel Jumanji: The Next Level, scheduled for December 2019.[33][34] He will next appear in Fatherhood, a drama about a man whose wife dies shortly after childbirth, leaving him to raise their daughter on his own.[35] It will be released on January 8, 2021.[36]

As of October 2016, Hart was set to portray Santa Claus in Dashing Through the Snow, a planned 2017 Disney Christmas-themed film.[37][38] In October 2018, it was reported that Chris Rock will direct Hart in a movie based on an original idea by the both of them. The film will be written by Black-ish writer Yamara Taylor and the film will revolve around a stay at home dad who raises the kids while his star CEO wife serves as the breadwinner. The man finds himself in emotional and public turmoil when his wife kicks him to the curb, and they engage in a bitter divorce and custody battle.[39] In 2019, Hart signed on to star in and produce MonopolyBlack Friday, an untitled international romantic comedy, Extreme Job, and Scrooged.[40][41][42][43]

Kevin Hart with Dwayne Johnson and German rapper Albert Trovato in Berlin, Germany, June 2016

Hosting

In addition to acting, Hart has also hosted various ceremonies. Hart first hosted the 2011 BET Awards.[44] Hart then hosted the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.[45] His longtime friend Judd Apatow, the director who gave him his first big on-screen break in the TV series Undeclared, was the one who recommended him for the gig.[46] Hart hoped that this will project him further into a side career as an emcee, stating, “Hopefully after MTV, of course we’re talking EmmysOscars, whatever.”[11] He has hosted three episodes of Saturday Night Live.[47][48] In 2015, Hart hosted the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber.[49] In 2016, Hart co-hosted the 2016 MTV Movie Awards with Dwayne Johnson.[50]

Kevin Hart has also hosted on HQ Trivia and gave away $100,000 to 1 person with Scott Rogowsky on September 26, 2018 which had 699K players.

On December 4, 2018, Hart was announced as the host of the 91st Academy Awards, but on December 6 he stepped down as host in response to public criticism of several homophobic tweets from 2010 and 2011.[51][52][53][54] Hart characterized the protest as non-constructive and stated “If you don’t believe people change, grow as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you”. On December 7, he tweeted an apology to the LGBTQ community following criticism that he did not issue one the previous day.[55] On January 3, 2019, Hart announced he was going to reconsider stepping down as host, after openly lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who has hosted the Academy Awards multiple times, expressed support for Hart to do so and said she telephoned the Academy to ask if Hart would be able to reverse his decision if he wished and, according to DeGeneres, the Academy said he would be able to do so.[56] On January 8, after a backlash for what was perceived as his insincere apology, Kevin Hart announced that he wouldn’t be hosting the Academy Awards.[57] The ceremony was held without a host that year.

Music

As Chocolate Droppa, his alias, he signed to Motown Records and released Kevin Hart: What Now? (The Mixtape Presents Chocolate Droppa), the soundtrack to his stand-up film of the same name.[58] He released the singles “Push It On Me” featuring Trey Songz and “Baller Alert” with Migos & T.I.[59]

Modeling

In 2017, Kevin Hart and Tommy John appeared in an underwear commercial for Macy’s.[60]

Influences

Hart has cited as comedy inspirations Bill CosbyChris RockEddie MurphyGeorge CarlinJerry SeinfeldDave ChappelleRichard PryorPatrice O’Neal, and Keith Robinson.[61][62]

Personal life

Family relationships

Hart’s relationship with his father improved after the latter recovered from his addiction. Hart said, “My dad said I was supposed to be on drugs. I was like, ‘Dad, shut up’, but then I thought about it, and it was stupid, but it made sense. He was saying that basically he was my example to never go down that road.”[11]

Hart also talks about his mother in his stand-up routine, portraying her as a loving, yet intimidating woman. She died from cancer in 2007.[11][63]

Marriages

Kevin and Torrei Hart filed for divorce in February 2010, citing irreconcilable differences. Hart requested joint custody[64] of their two children, a daughter and a son.[65] The divorce was finalized in November 2011.[66]

On August 18, 2014, Hart proposed to Eniko Parrish.[67] They married on August 13, 2016, near Santa Barbara, California.[68] Their son was born in 2017.[69] On December 15, 2017, Hart publicly admitted to having cheated on his wife while she was pregnant with their son.[70]

Earnings

Hart earned an estimated $32.5 million in 2017.[71]

Legal troubles

Hart was charged on April 14, 2013 on suspicion of drunk driving after his black Mercedes nearly collided with a tanker truck on a Southern California freeway. Hart failed a field sobriety test and was booked for misdemeanor DUI.[72] On August 5, 2013, Hart was sentenced to three years of probation after pleading no contest to one count of driving under the influence of alcohol.[73]

Car accident

On September 1, 2019, Hart was a passenger in a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that went off Mulholland Highway and rolled down an embankment near Calabasas, California. He and the driver reportedly suffered “major back injuries” and were taken to separate hospitals.[74] Hart was released from the hospital ten days later, and continued recovery at a rehabilitation facility.[75]

Tours

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes
2002 Paper Soldiers Shawn
2003 Scary Movie 3 CJ
2003 Death of a Dynasty P-Diddy / Cop 1 / Dance Coach / Hyper Rapper /
H. Lector
2004 Along Came Polly Vic
2004 Soul Plane Nashawn Wade
2005 The 40-Year-Old Virgin Smart Tech Customer
2005 In the Mix Busta
2006 Scary Movie 4 CJ
2006 The Last Stand F Stop / G Spot
2007 Epic Movie Silas
2008 Fool’s Gold Bigg Bunny
2008 Superhero Movie Trey
2008 Extreme Movie Barry
2008 Meet Dave Number 17
2008 Drillbit Taylor Pawn Shop Dealer
2009 Not Easily Broken Tree
2010 Something Like a Business JoJo
2010 Death at a Funeral Brian
2010 Little Fockers Nurse Louis
2011 35 and Ticking Cleavon
2011 Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain Himself
2011 Let Go Kris Styles
2012 The Five-Year Engagement Doug
2012 Think Like a Man Cedric
2012 Exit Strategy Mannequin Head Man
2013 This Is the End Himself
2013 Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Himself
2013 Grudge Match Dante Slate Jr.
2014 Ride Along Ben Barber
2014 About Last Night Bernie
2014 Think Like a Man Too Cedric
2014 School Dance OG Pretty Lil’ Thug Uncredited[76]
2014 Top Five Charles
2015 The Wedding Ringer Jimmy Callahan/Bic Mitchum
2015 Get Hard Darnell Lewis
2016 Ride Along 2 Ben Barber
2016 Central Intelligence Calvin Joyner
2016 The Secret Life of Pets Snowball (voice)
2016 Kevin Hart: What Now? Himself
2017 Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie George Beard (voice) Also songwriter for “Saturday
2017 The Upside Dell Scott
2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Franklin “Mouse” Finbar
2018 Night School Teddy Walker Also producer and writer
2019 The Secret Life of Pets 2 Snowball (voice)
2019 Hobbs & Shaw Dinkley Uncredited
2019 Jumanji: The Next Level Franklin “Mouse” Finbar
2020 The Man from Toronto TBA pre-production,rumored
2021 Fatherhood Matt Logelin Post-production; Also producer

Television

Year Film Role Notes
2002–2003 Undeclared Luke 3 episodes
2004 The Big House Kevin 6 episodes
2004 Comedy Central Presents Himself
2005 Barbershop James Ricky 3 episodes
2005–2006 Jake In Progress Nugget Dawson 2 episodes
2006 Help Me Help You Kevin Episode: “Raging Bill”
2006 Love, Inc. James 2 episodes
2007 All of Us Greg Episode: “The B-R-E-A-K-U-P”
2007 Wild ‘n Out Various 21 episodes
2009 Party Down Dro Grizzle Episode: “Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen”
2009 Kröd Mändoon and The Flaming Sword of Fire Zezelryck 6 episodes
2009 Kevin Hart: I’m a Grown Little Man Himself
2010 Kevin Hart: Seriously Funny Himself
2011–2012 Modern Family Andre 2 episodes
2011 BET Awards 2011 Himself / Host
2012 Workaholics Kevin Episode: “To Kill a Chupacabraj”
2012 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Himself / Host
2013–2016 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself 60 episodes; Also co-creator, writer, executive producer
2013 Second Generation Wayans Himself Episode: “The Arrival”
2013–2017 Saturday Night Live Himself / Host 3 episodes
2015 Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber Himself / Host
2016 Lip Sync Battle Himself Episode: “Olivia Munn vs. Kevin Hart”
2016 2016 MTV Movie Awards Himself / Co-host
2018 TKO: Total Knock Out Himself / Host 10 episodes; Also executive producer
2019 Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History Himself
2019 Kevin Hart: Irresponsible Himself
2019–present Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Himself / Host
2019–present Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k this up Himself
2020 Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time Himself – Video Clue Presenter 1 episode

Music videos

Year Song Artist Role
2004 Lean Back Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe and Remy Ma Himself
2011 Booty Wurk (One Cheek at a Time) T-Pain Himself
2016 “Push it On Me” Trey Songz Chocolate Droppa
2017 “Jumanji Jumanji” Nick Jonas and Jack Black Himself
2018 Kevin’s Heart J. Cole Himself
2019 Earth Lil Dicky Kanye West

Bibliography

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2004 Teen Choice Award Choice Breakout TV Star – Male The Big House Nominated
2005 BET Comedy Award Platinum Mic Viewers’ Choice Nominated
2012 BET Awards Best Actor Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Male Scene Stealer Think Like a Man Nominated
Choice Movie Hissy Fit Nominated
2014 BET Awards Best Actor Ride AlongReal Husbands of HollywoodAbout Last Night Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Real Husbands of Hollywood Won
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Entertainer of the Year Won
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Favorite Funny Star Grudge Match Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Ride Along Nominated
Best On-Screen Duo (with Ice Cube) Nominated
Acalpulco Black Film Festival Artist of the Year Kevin Hart: Let Me ExplainThis Is the EndGrudge Match Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Real Husbands of Hollywood Nominated
Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ride Along Won
Choice Movie: Chemistry (with Ice Cube) Nominated
Choice Movie: Hissy Fit Nominated
Choice Comedian Won
2015 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Real Husbands of Hollywood Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance The Wedding Ringer Nominated
Comedic Genius Award Won
BET Awards Best Actor The Wedding RingerThink Like a Man TooReal Husbands of Hollywood and Top Five Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated
2016 Billboard Touring Awards Top Comedy Tour Won
People’s Choice Awards Favorite Comedic Movie Actor The Wedding Ringer Won
Favorite Cable TV Comedy Real Husbands of Hollywood Nominated
Favorite Cable TV Actor Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Ride Along 2 Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie: Hissy Fit Nominated
Choice Comedian Nominated
Choice Twit Nominated
Choice Movie Actor: Summer Central Intelligence Won
2017 People’s Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Nominated
Favorite Comedic Movie Actor Won
Favorite Cable TV Comedy Real Husbands of Hollywood Nominated
Favorite Cable TV Actor Nominated
Favorite Comedic Collaboration (shared with Conan O’Brien and Ice Cube) Conan Nominated
Favorite Animated Movie Voice The Secret Life of Pets Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Real Husbands of Hollywood Nominated
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – (Television or Film) The Secret Life of Pets Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Nominated
Favorite Villain Won
Most Wanted Pet Won
Best Friends Forever (shared with Dwayne Johnson) Central Intelligence Won
Best Friends Forever (shared with Ice Cube) Ride Along 2 Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedian Nominated
2018 Grammy Awards Best Comedy Album Kevin Hart: What Now? Nominated
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Voice Performance Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Nominated
Kids’ Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best On-Screen Team (shared with Dwayne JohnsonJack BlackKaren Gillan and Nick Jonas) Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor – Comedy Nominated
Choice Comedian Nominated
People’s Choice Awards The Comedy Act of 2018 Won
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedy Movie Actor Night School Nominated
Choice Comedian Nominated
2020 Kids’ Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Jumanji: The Next Level Pending
Favorite Male Voice from an Animated Movie The Secret Life of Pets 2

Kevin Hart

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