Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Playboy Interview: Kevin Hart Gives a Grounded Take on his Stratospheric Stardom:

Actor/Comedian/Rapper/Entertainment Mogul KEVIN HART is currently on track to become the biggest Stand-Up Comedian ever!!!

Not that he’s kicking back to celebrate: His movies, including Ride Along, Get Hard and Central Intelligence, have raked in more than a billion dollars globally, and yet he works like an unknown still angling for an NCIS callback. Since last January, Hart has appeared in half a dozen films, including this month’s WHAT NOW???

That movie, which mixes stand-up footage with a fictional James Bond–style backstory, is expected to smash box-office records too. Hart is also producing TV shows, building a video-on-demand network, partnering on tech deals and signing endorsement contracts. In other words, his life is as dazzling as that gold mike he wields on stage. 

Here are some interview interludes from PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: KEVIN HART:

Your new stand-up concert film follows you on the biggest comedy tour of all time: 156 shows, 112 cities, 13 countries and five continents. That’s a lot of airport body-cavity searches.
You get used to it. The good thing is, flying private takes a lot of the hustle and bustle off it, makes the ins and outs a little more convenient. But the whole goal behind the tour was not only to make history but to go beyond what people would expect a comedian to do. To be able to play so many venues in so many cities and countries, to sell out multiple shows and arenas, to do stadiums—it blows up the idea of “You’re just a guy telling jokes,” right? You show the global importance of laughter. 
How does your material change when you’re playing to a crowd in Singapore versus an audience in, say, Brooklyn or Cape Town?
I change nothing nowhere. Nothing. That’s the beauty of it. To become a universal comedian and really stay true to the meaning of universal, you come up with comedy that appeals to everyone. We set so many records. We sold 100,000 seats in New York alone, with three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and two more shows at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It’s completely crazy. And it’s not just crazy here. My international shows sold out in three days, all with the same material and the same level of laughter. California, Cape Town—the people are amazing, and they respond. Durban, Qatar, Dubai, Singapore. Same thing everywhere. Funny is funny.

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You sold out Lincoln Financial Field stadium, where the Eagles play in Philly. Doing stand-up for 53,000-plus people in your hometown must have been wild.
That was some wild-a$$ sh*t. First time a comedian ever sold out an NFL stadium. We knew Philadelphia was going to be massive, so we turned it into a huge production. We had 84 cameras on me and a gigantic wall of screens behind me. So my backdrop was a video wall that acted as a visual point of view that matched whatever I was saying throughout my show. As I’m joking about my house, the screens change into the set of my house. Now I’m talking about my backyard. It flips. It switches. As I’m walking out, the cameras walk with me. I wanted to transform my stand-up comedy show into something with a movie dynamic that’s never been seen. And then shit starts to explode. We go all James Bond Casino Royalewith the biggest fight scenes. Fire on the stage. A whole backstory about what happened to me leading up to the show. People say, “What the hell are you doing, Kevin?” But with a movie like this, it can’t just be me coming out and telling jokes. We’re too big for that. The production has to be big. I paid too much not to go huge. I’m in with finances for about $13.8 million on this one. 
You personally financed all this?
Out of my damn pocket. Every cent. This is all me. I fully financed a movie, and Universal distributed it. They act as a partner. I know me. I know my value. When you’re dealing with other people’s money, you can’t control it. But when you invest in yourself, you’re in charge and the rewards come to you. 
Some have predicted this could be the highest-grossing stand-up concert film of all time.
That is the plan. I’m going for the win on this one, you know? Eddie Murphy still holds the record for stand-up concert film for Raw, at $50 million in gross. My last concert film, Let Me Explain, did $32 million, but that was on only 900 screens or something like that. This one is on screens everywhere. All signs are pointing that this could be the big one. This could achieve the highest level of success ever. It’s all part of the progression.
our mother was a computer analyst at the University of Pennsylvania. Clearly she was smart enough to see that you weren’t NBA material.
Hell no! My mom was the opposite of a dream killer. She was the person who told me I could do anything I put my mind to. Her thing was: Anything you start, you have to finish. You start a book, you finish the book. You start a sport, you finish the season. It’s still the major rule we live by in my household. We don’t quit. I don’t care if you don’t like it. My kids get into some new project, it’s got to get done. I went as far as I could in basketball, but then, yeah, you go, Okay, maybe somebody like me could excel even more in another line of business.

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Your dad was in and out of jail, and you’ve joked on stage about him showing up at your school spelling bee on a cocaine high, shouting, “All right, all right, all right! My son’s spellin’ the sh*t out of these m*therf*ckin’ words!” How much of that is true?
Sh*t’s not funny unless it’s true to life, and nothing was funnier to me growing up than my mom and dad’s relationship.

Let’s move on. Do you have any thoughts on the race for the White House?
I’m not a major political guy. It’s not my cup of tea. I don’t put my foot in that stuff. But I’m definitely going to miss Barack Obama. Amazing man. Michelle Obama, amazing woman. The fact that I got to have dinner at a White House Christmas gathering with the first black president of the United States, that’s one for the lifetime highlights reel. 
What do you make of Donald Trump?
What I can say is that I have no ill will toward him or his campaign, but I’m a people person. I love people. I love the idea of people coming closer together. My whole job is to unite people. You go to my shows, there’s all races there. So the idea of separating and segregating and dividing because of what someone believes in, that’s not something I could ever get behind. I try to understand people and accept them, but it can be difficult sometimes. Then again, I have entertainer friends who are widely misunderstood, and if you get to know them, you see what’s really going on. 
What about your destiny? What’s on the horizon for Kevin Hart?
There’s definitely an exit plan. I’m not going to give away too much about it, but it’s a retirement plan. I’m not going to be 50 years old and grinding at the level I’m doing it now. The reason I’m building these things and putting all these pieces together is because, at a certain age, I want to say, Okay, I did it, and now it’s time to enjoy myself, and enjoy myself doesn’t mean partying it up, and being on a yacht and dancing and stuff like that. It means enjoying my home, enjoying my kids, enjoying the foundation that I built.

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You talk about being the biggest. Be honest: Does it offend you when people make fun of your height?
When people go, “Man, you’re short,” I’m like, Oh, good job, sir. You cracked that case. What a genius! It’s the thing that people have known for the last how many years I’ve been in entertainment? But you just figured it out. It doesn’t bother me, no. I’m good either way. You can’t offend me. 
Great. In that case, one last question. Are you sure you’re not driving so hard to overcompensate for, you know, some other physical shortcoming?
[Cocks head and lets eyes go wide] All right, brother, all right. I don’t know what to tell you, man. I’m happy. I’m very happy. I’m happy over here and I’m happy down there. Definitely happy. That’s the best way to put it. That’s my nicest way. I’m not overcompensating for anything. I am in a great space. A great space. I’m living it! Things are flying! Life is good! It’s great being Kevin Hart! 

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