Kevin Hart

[One-on-One] Kevin Hart Thinks Like a Mogul

Star of 'Think Like a Man' opens up exclusively to about his spectacular Hollywood success story

by Sergio Mims, April 23, 2012

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart

Photo courtesy of

with me.

EBONY: When did you know you were funny? Were you one of those class clowns?

HART: Always, always. I wasn’t great student, so when you’re not a great student, you’re not a great fighter you have to find something that gives you an edge over everybody else. I was the funny guy. I was the guy everybody just wanted to be around just to laugh. I was the guy who when it came around to slapping and busting on people and going back and forth I was the guy that no one wanted to deal with because I was quick on my feet. But I didn’t think I was going in the direction of stand up comedy.

EBONY: So how does than then translate from that to you going up on stage and saying this is what I want to do with my life?

HART: Well, I was working in a sneaker store and some of my co-workers kept telling me, “Kevin we think you’re really funny. Why don’t you try doing stand up?” And I didn’t know how to go about doing that. So one of my co-workers found an amateur night at comedy club. I went and literally I fell in love with it. The co-workers came down to support me. I had my notes on what to talk about. I wasn’t die hard funny, but I fell in love with being responsible for making people laugh. I fell in love with being in front of the lights. People staring and waiting to hear something from me to make them laugh. That’s entertainment, That’s what it’s all about! I can do this!

And I remember telling my mom I’ve figured it out. I know what I want to do with my life. I want to be a comedian. I was lucky enough to have a mother who supported me to the point where she said to me, "If that is what you want to do, baby I’ll back you. I’ll give you a year to get it together," and for a year she paid my rent until I figured out how to make an income doing comedy. And I’ve never looked back.

EBONY: So you really prefer doing stand-up than making films?

HART: Of course! You have an immediate reaction. There’s an immediate response from people who support you. Doing movies is great, but you have no control over the film. As an actor you do what you do, but once it goes into the editing room you don’t know what you’re going to wind up with. But with stand-up, the beauty of it is that I know what my finished product is. I control it and the fact that I have thousands of people coming up to see me, it’s unreal. I’m doing ten to 15 thousand seat arenas. It’s a blessing and I don’t take it for granted.

EBONY: So why do think that 15,000 people are willing to pay see you in a stadium? What do they see in you?

HART: My growth. People see my journey. When you have people who have followed you from the beginning and really understand your path those are different kind of fans. And as I matured and got older, I realized that being myself and being honest it can take me so much further than what I’d thought. I look at Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Murphy, Pryor, all these guys basically dug deep into what was going on in their lives. Once I saw and studied that and saw what they were doing, I said these people are being themselves. They're not being characters. So when I started being myself and let people in and being honest about all of it— what was going on with me, what was bothering me—it became therapy for me and laugher for others.

EBONY: Finally, I have to ask about this controversy about the recent cartoon you wrote that’s all over the Internet in which you criticized Black women. Sisters are getting upset about it.

HART: That has nothing to do with me! I didn’t do it! I have NO idea where it came from. I have nothing (laughs), I’ve done nothing! Someone posted a cartoon on my Facebook fan page and it literally was out of my hands. I have to go back within my company to find out who put the picture up. I have nothing to do with it. It the same thing with the dark-skinned women comments. It’s something my hands are free and clear of. Guys I swear I had nothing to do with this! (laughs)  You should have seen my face when I read it, I said “UH OH, here it comes!” (laughs) There’s no way to stop that (social media) machine. I’ve apologized. But this is not my material. It ain’t me! No way,

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