Is anything beyond record-breaking Kevin Hart’s boundary for stand-up material? It seems not…
“Is everything funny? For me, yes. There’s a positive to every negative." he says.
"Even my divorce? For me, yes. If you go back and look at it, why it happened or how it happened, there’s something in there that’ll make you laugh.
“My mum passing away wasn’t funny, but that funeral and what I went through, the things that happened, looking back at it, there were funny moments.
“You have to be strong enough to look back at it, to sit and assess the situation. I’ve done that several times, re-evaluate so many things and no matter how bad they are, I’ve somehow come out with a positive thought behind it, and I live by it. Life is too short.”
Kevin Hart had a ball at this year's VMA Awards, taking on hosting duties for the second time
It’s a mantra that has served well this stand-up star, fresh from hosting the VMA Awards in New York, where Miley Cyrus’s performance went down such a storm. (What did Kevin Hart think of Miley’s performance? Click here for what he has to say…)
In the 13 years since he broke through with a TV role in his friend Judd Apatow's TV series 'Undeclared, and later appeared in his film 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin', Hart has made it on small and large screen, and sell-out standup on both sides of the Atlantic, and it’s all built on a bed of transparency, it seems…
“Everything is an open book. I don’t speak on other people’s hardship, but if it happened in my life or something that has been an experience on my particular journey, I’m going to talk about it,” explains.
“That’s what my fan base appreciates the most. I’m universal. You can relate to the things I say or that I go through. It all shows that I’m human, I’m not a superhero.”
Kevin Hart gets to grips with sharing the stage with Jamie Foxx
Hart, in person, is smoothly articulate, aware of his own shortcomings (including his diminutive stature of 5'4", which inspired the title of his 'I'm a Grown Little Man' tour), and speaks like the product of many an hour in the psychiatrist’s chair… although he shakes his head at that idea…
“This is my therapy,” he explains, pointing to the poster for his stand-up film, out this week. “This is my therapeutic choice, me talking about problems to an audience is how I get things off my chest.”
As well as his stand-up success, documented in the film, culminating in a sell-out gig at New York’s Madison Square Garden and London’s own O2 arena, Hart’s film career is on a roll.
He’s one of Apatow’s ‘Wheel of Talent’, as he reveals they call themselves, but is stretching his wings beyond that ensemble…
“The beautiful thing about Judd is that he’s responsible for a group of actors, and launching a variety of them into stardom.
“We’re now all grown men, independently doing their thing, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Siegel, Jonah Hill, myself, these are all Judd’s ‘search and finds’, we’ve all evolved into these successful actors, and we all know Judd’s responsible for it. He’s done enough, it’s time for us to do our thing.”
Kevin Hart goes crowd-surfing at VMA Awards 2012
While he’s happy to wear his heart on his sleeve on stage, it’s clear that Kevin Hart doesn’t worry himself with the politics of those black comedians on whose shoulders he admits he stands…
“I don’t particularly need anything to protest against.
As far as civil rights and equal opportunity, nobody’s ever going to be completely happy or think that things are completely the way that they should be, but I think that things have gotten amazingly better, and you got to take your hat off to the people that were responsible for it.
But people don’t want drama, 365 days a year. I’m a sense of relief, it’s my job to take your mind off what’s bad for that brief second you’re in the room with me, regardless of shape, race, colour or anything, it brings people together, and it makes me feel good about what I’m doing. I don’t want to focus on negativity, or bring negativity into my particular world. I have a different world.”
Have there been any times of doubt for this incredibly open, over-achieving 34-year old? As well as receiving a buffalo chicken wing to the face in Atlantic City – “I disappeared off the stage, message received” – Hart has had deeper moments of self-doubt, seemingly behind him…
“There were moments when I didn’t know I was on stage,” he admits.
“I was trying to be everybody else, different characters that I saw on stage. I didn’t understand that being myself could be funny, and once I grasped that concept it was off to the races.”
'Kevin Hart Let Me Explain' is in selected cinemas nationwide from 30th August. Watch the trailer below...