Who's Laughing Now
Manuel McDonnell Smith
“Don’t make me laugh,
this is serious shit!” It’s been a seriously great year for
Philly bred Comedian, and now Actor/Producer Kevin Hart. On
the heels of his 90-city “Laugh at my pain” comedy tour, one
of the most successful comedy circuits in history, with over
$15,000,000 in tickets sold (and too many laughs to account
for), Kevin dived head first into developing the routine
from this act into a feature film.
Despite the film debuting
in only 99 theaters nationally, it brought in $2 million
dollars at the box office, impressive by all Hollywood
standards for a comedy special, and even more impressive
when you consider the fact that the film was produced for
under $800,000 by Hart and a close team of producers from
his newly formed company “Hartbeat Productions”. As the film
continues to rack up dollars in wider release for Hart, he
talked with Urban Suburban Magazine about fans, fame, and
Q: “Laugh at my
pain” does not exactly sound like a comedy film. What’s it
KH: It’s about the darker side of life, my
relationship with my father who was a drug addict, the
relationship with my brother, divorce from my wife. I can’t
wait to see the reactions (of the audiences to the film).
Q: Speaking of divorce your
divorce, have been a lot of headlines on that. How’s that
KH: Marriage is hard from an entertainment
standpoint. Basically, she was not happy with me being
dedicated to my career the way I am. So we had to figure out
how to move on, and the best way to make each other happy.
New lady in the picture now?
KH: No, I’m single.
Q: Your dad, how are things between
you and him now?
KH: He was on drugs for a long time, and in and
out of jail. He didn’t get clean until I was 22. My brother
and I, we helped him to get cleaned up, into rehab. We’re
Your brother, does he have the same talent destined for
KH: He’s a professional pool player. Really. Got it
from my dad.
Q: From the stage to filmmaking, how have you approached the
KH: I’ve been involved around the board. It’s been
great to build a company and start it from scratch from just
a vision of what I wanted it to be like. I know with this
that I need to see everything, I need to be involved.
Q: Overall, is there a goal that
you have with the film?
KH: I’m trying to make history with a comedic
theatrical release. There’s only been a slim amount of
artists able to do this with this genre.
Q: You’re a long way from 15th and
Erie where you grew up. What were your dreams back then?
KH: From where I grew up, I wasn’t supposed to be a
comedian, I was supposed to be a killer.
Q: By now, you’ve heard of the teen
“Flash Mob” incidents that have plagued your hometown this
past summer. As a kid from the hood, what’s your take?
KH: The level of stupidness of this is ridiculous……as
a kid, you need to learn to apply yourself, and not hang
with kids who only bring each other down.
Q: Applying yourself, how did you
manage to do that growing up in Hunting Park?
KH: My mother kept me engaged. I was involved at the
Boys & Girls Club across from Gratz High School, and spent
two days a week after school (George Washington High School)
with the swim team. Between that, and the hour SEPTA commute
to school from home, I was always busy.
Q: So how did you escape that fate?
KH: My Mom, we were close. Growing up, I was a mama’s
boy, she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
But I had no interest in school, education. I wanted to play
basketball, make it to the NBA. I played on George
Washington High’s Basketball Team.
Q: Win any championships?
KH: Not even close
Q: When you come home, where are
the places you love to check out?
KH: I always go to Max’s, Broad & Erie for a
cheesesteak. It’s part of Philly’s heritage. Fried Onions,
Salt, Pepper, Ketchup, and Mayo.
Q: They say Philly fans are the
KH: I grew up performing in the Laugh House on South
Street, the New Market Cabaret, and every bar and
restaurant. The thing about the Philly audience is that you
have to make them laugh. You’re dealing with angry people.
If you can make it in Philly, then you can make it anywhere.
Q: So you’ve been in Hollywood for
a minute now, have you made any other celebrity comedian
KH: Keith Robinson, Jerry Wells, Chris Rock, Steve
Harvey, I know them all. But Eddie Murphy and I are really
cool. He is a mentor to me.
Q: Some people feel funny about the
amount of obscenity in many comedian’s routines. What’s your
KH: If it’s who you are in life, then be who you are
on stage. Don’t be a character. I’m not vulgar, but I do
future productions can you foresee Hartbeat Producing?
KH: It’s all about branding with the right people.
Currently we’re working on projects in the comedy realm, but
it’s important us to own whatever we’re going to produce.
Q: Movies, the stage, performing.
You’ve been doing it all. What’s next?
KH: I’m jumping on all platforms. We’ve just released
a mobile app related to my twitter feed. Basically the more
you follow me, the higher you go. It’s only 99 cents, and it
already broke the top 100 in iTunes downloads.
Q: Any advice for aspiring
KH: Be ready to apply yourself 5 days a week. Stay
healthy, take care of your body, it’s your temple. Keep your
pride, stay focused, and always put your best foot forward.
Q: How about something from Eddie
Murphy, any nuggets of wisdom to share?
KH: Get a leather blazer. Or at least a gray leather
jacket. It’s been a signature of all successful comedians.