Establishing a place at the top

While most acknowledge Hart’s perseverance and talent as significant factors to his achievement, there have also been those who suggest he simply filled the role Katt Williams was meant to play before he fell from the spotlight.

Even fellow comedian Mike Epps proposed similar thoughts, provoking a combative discussion with Hart via Twitter earlier this year.

“Man if Katt Williams wouldn’t have flipped out it would not be no [sic] Kevin Hart,” Epps tweeted in March. “Sometimes it’s not hatin it’s just true.”

In response, Hart tweeted, “Hey @TheRealMikeEpps …. “ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMIN’S” was YOUR movie but it’s MY LIFE!!!! HOLY SHIT MAN, IM F***ING DESTROYING YOU. [sic]”

Hart then proceeded to tweet out a series of other slights.

Obviously, he doesn’t agree with Epps, but Hart does admit that a door opened when Williams’ career abruptly came to a halt.

“There’s a moment where everybody’s going to get an opportunity,” he says. “When that opportunity came to me, I was ready, and the reason why I was ready, I was patient for years about it coming. I didn’t count the next man’s blessings, or what the next man was doing. I only worried about myself.”

No one would compare the two anymore, of course, and Hart has since gone on to become his own company.

He employs his friends to manage his affairs and keep his ego in check. He also hires people who are “smarter” than he is to accurately paint his visions.

‘Let Me Explain’ shows a grown up side

These days on stage, Hart testifies to the distance he’s spanned both in his life and career throughout those five years of diligence.

While previously, he joked about selling shoes at an athletic store and cussing out his teacher, now it’s more about understanding newfound fame and the side effects, and watching his children grow up.

For Let Me Explain, a project in which Hart invested $2.5 million out of pocket, the comedian explores his divorce, family dynamic, and criticisms he’d like to refute.

“It’s about growth as an individual and taking my fans on that journey and letting them see how I’ve grown as an artist,” he says.

Off the bat, Hart makes it a point to address and refute several rumors, including one that he “doesn’t like dark-skinned girls.”

Later in the film, he also jokes about getting in trouble with his now ex-wife when his friend called him one night to meet up with white girls.

“The way I wanted to address what was said was through a sketch, through a skit format, and then let that segue into a more serious platform for me doing it on stage,” Hart remarks when asked why it was important to sound off on the subject.

“When all is said and done, the stage is my platform to set whoever straight, and whatever has been said about me or to me straight,” he continues. “I chose the comedic approach.”

Stars in his eyes and money in the bank

Despite a few setbacks, Hart says he’s “proud” of how he’s managed to balance his work life with personal endeavors, and that his children have a grasp of his career.

That stellar portfolio now includes a starring role alongside Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone in next year’s Grudge Match, a part in Chris Rock’s new film, Finally Famous, and of course, Think Like a Man Too.

On that note, Hart indicates he’s happy than ever.

“I’m handling all of the
success amazingly well because I understand how fast it can go away,” he says, adding that he’s now confident in his security. “People are always going to root for me because I’m genuine.”

Let Me Explain opens in theaters Wednesday.

Follow Courtney Garcia on Twitter at @courtgarcia