Welcome to Kevin Hart's moment. Following 2012's Think Like a Man and 2013's massively successful stand-up concert film Let Me Explain, Hart is in the middle of a full-on breakthrough. Last month's Ride Along was 2014's first hit, grossing over $100 million and counting. And his next movie, this weekend's About Last Night remake, seems poised to do well against some heavy competition. (He will also star in this summer's Think Like a Man Too.)
We spoke with Hart about getting Hollywood to notice him, not quitting stand-up, and laughing at himself.
The chemistry between you and Regina Hall is incredible. Did it feel like something special?
Oh man, our chemistry was amazing. I don’t think there’s a funnier female on this planet. Very talented. This is actually our sixth movie together, but we never had the opportunity to work opposite each other and actually interact and feed off of it.
Was there one thing that you remember totally cracking you up?
The scene at the end of the movie where she tells me she’s going to sew my balls together and treat it like a punching bag, and then she goes [screams] “Ahhh!” It killed me. That’s a genuine laugh at the end of the movie.
You guys have a few sex scenes together and they’re all super funny. Do you have a secret on how to make a sex scene — which is often very serious — funny?
Personality! You gotta personality it up, man. When you add the silliness in those sexual moments, it breaks it up. And I think when you do that, you make it real.
There's a theme in your work I noticed — it’s in About Last Night, it’s in your stand-up: You like to mock the idea of bravado or male confidence. Do you think there’s something inherently funny about male toughness?
It’s just funny. It’s funny because it’s real! There's that guy who’s like this all the time. [Laughs.]
Unlike a lot of big comedians, you seem more willing to play the fool or play the idiot, both in your stand-up and movies. Do you prefer playing the dumb character or do you feel you’re better at it?
Nah, right now I think it’s just worked out that way. But self-deprecation is one of the best forms of comedy in my eyes, because when you address things before people do, you take away their ammunition. When you do that, people have nothing to say because you’ve said it all. You now have people’s attention because people are already laughing. They’re laughing at the picture you painted of yourself, and on top of laughing, they’re relating. So that’s why I tend to take those particular parts.