Ask Kevin Hart about the seemingly extraordinary year he’s had, and he’ll tell you it’s but a ray of the sun. Undoubtedly, 2012 has marked the brazen stand-up comic’s ascent to greatness, stealing the big screen in the box office success, Think Like A Man, and romantic comedy, The Five-Year Engagement; selling out theaters across the country with his stand-up tour, “Let Me Explain;” and making numerous surprise television appearances, including a stint on the ABC series, Modern Family, and as guest host on Chelsea Lately. Because so many have caught the drift, the demand for Hart has stretched almost beyond supply. He’s extended his national tour due to overwhelming interest, and recently announced two major dates at Madison Square Garden in November, a gig he considers to be the ultimate peak for a comedian. Fans can also catch him hosting the MTV Video Music Awards on September 6th, and starring in five feature films coming up over the next year.
So it seems there’s no stopping Hart’s train to fame. Yet while he’ll gladly toot the horn with his boisterous observations and self-effacing jibes, he tells theGrio that the road ahead is still long, and the itinerary fully stacked.
You really blew up this year, it seems. Does it feel that way from your perspective?
I try not to think about it. Regardless of the success I’m having, I don’t want it to get to my ego or put me in a mental state where I’m content. At the end of the day, I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to do and the only way to achieve those goals is by staying focused and working hard and that’s where I’m at right now. Granted, there’s a lot going on, and I’m thankful and blessed for all the opportunities that have come my way, but this path is so long…I got to check a bunch of stuff off.
What are some things you need to check off your list?
Well, I started a production company – HartBeat Productions – and a business company, and I eventually want to get to the place where it runs like a studio. You know, you think Happy Madison, you think Screen Gems, you think Fox Searchlight, Point Blank. I want my company to be the same, do the same. I want to direct, produce, fund my own projects.
What’s the struggle like for up-and-coming comedians these days?
Finding your voice, finding who you want to be on stage. Because in the beginning on stage, you actually don’t know that you can be yourself. It took me a long time to realize that I could be on stage as myself, and that people would laugh and, you know, and people would gravitate towards me. When you attempt to be something that you’re not, you take on the personalities of these things and that’s when it becomes a little more difficult because you’re a character.
When did you figure out who you were?
I’d say probably about six years ago. I went through stages; at one point in time my name was Lil’ Kev ‘the Bastard,’ after that it was Kevi Kev, after Kevi Kev it went to something else. I used to talk in this high-pitched voice all the time, like screaming at the top of my lungs and falling all over the place. And then it dawned on me, if I were to talk about my personal experiences and dull it down and be who I am on a regular basis, you know, maybe it seems more real and genuine. I did it as an experiment and it worked ten times better.
Chris Rock told W. Kamau Bell on Totally Biased that it is near impossible for comics to joke about Brad Pitt because there’s never anything funny to say. Do you have any subject matters you find difficult to joke about?
That’s very true. For me, it would probably be politics because I’m not big when it comes to the whole political world. My knowledge is not that great in that realm so that’s one of my challenges. I don’t really touch on that. I don’t feel like I can be as good as I’ve seen other people be.