July 11, 2013
By Chelsea Battle
LAWT Contributing Writer
Kevin Hart has grown. However, be forewarned that a physical inspection would be a waste of your time. The actor still stands at a commanding 5’2” tall. Yet an in-depth conversation with the comedian/actor, primed by the cool confines of Beverly Hills’ Four Seasons Hotel, reveals that the humble Hart has grown both personally and professionally. Staying true to form in his customary all-black ensemble the budding star is ready to explain it all. From his new movie Let Me Explain, which was released in theaters July 3rd, to his roads-to-riches success story in general, there is a lot more to Hart than meets the eye.
He’s hot, ladies and gentlemen and literally lights the stage on fire in his new hilarious comedy, Let Me Explain. During the 70 minute film, geysers of fire randomly fly from the stage as he dishes on everything—his divorce, his clueless friends who unsuccessfully help him cheat on women, his life as an L.A.B. (local ass bitch, a term coined by his friends)—you name it. The movie also validates Hart’s international appeal, following him as he tours all over the world performing stand-up comedy before thousands of adoring fans. (proof-positive, actually, that he is definitely not an L.A.B.)
During an interview Hart discusses the movie and his road to becoming a successful multi-millionaire executive producer.
LAWT: Sitcoms and movies like Soul Plane didn’t exactly pan out as you had hoped how did those experiences prepare you for today?
Kevin Hart (KH): I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. And back then I was young. I was 23, 24 years old and I was thrown into a realm of dude I got my own show. I’m an executive producer, I’m writing, oh my God I’m starring in Soul Plane its over. I’m outta here. At the end of the day that stuff didn’t work because I probably wasn’t prepared for it mentally. I think now I’m dealing with this success so amazingly well because I understand how fast it can go away. I was setup for greatness and when it didn’t happen I was left with nothing. No movies, no auditions, and I had to start from the bottom and work my way back up.
LAWT: So in this movie you were called a b*tch and called others a b*tch quite a few times. Did you ever keep count on how often you said it?
KH: I use bitch a lot. I cuss a lot so you can’t really count my cuss words because they’re not offensive. I can say the most disrespectful sh*t ever and it’s all laughs. My friends and I friends call each other bitches everyday. ‘Shut up b*tch, you a dumb b*tch kiss my ass b*tch.’ I think within our group that’s what keeps us grounded. There is no I’m above you guys we don’t live like that.
LAWT: So what’s it like being the boss and an executive producer?
KH: For me it’s intriguing because as “the boss” you’re just a guy who knows what you want to do, but you have to hire people that can put you in the position to do it. So the boss is just the guy that’s smart enough to hire people that are smarter than him without having an ego. The reason you get people that are smarter than you is because these are people who can paint your vision and make it a reality. My smart move was educating my friends, and making them aware of the business so that they can be involved in my company. [As a result] you are not just friends who are receiving a check but you’re actually earning a check. My friends are now in positions where they’ve made deals and they speak on my behalf with certain endorsements. With Let Me Explain I think I personally put 2.5 million dollars into it. I put them into positions where not only do we know where all my dollars are being spent, my friends are the ones who broke the deal with the garden [Madison Square Garden], my friends are the ones who got another production company to come to discuss how we can maximize our dollar amount for what we wanted to shoot.
LAWT: What are you most proud of at this point in your career?
KH: I think what I’m most proud, is that despite my relationship with my dad, I’m very proud of the way that I balance my personal life and my career. My kids are a priority so I’m proud of the fact that my kids understand what I do, and it’s very clear why their dad is working, and what he’s working on. At the young age of 8 and 5 their understanding of the business is ridiculous, but it’s because I’ve had them around it since they were young.
LAWT: So are you thinking of putting them in show business?
KH: I don’t want my kids anywhere near show business, but when they get to the age where they can make those decisions for themselves then of course I won’t hold them back. But I have them around so I know that they know what their father does. You just have different respect when your dad is gone and you can relate to where he’s going.
LAWT: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
KH: The best piece of advice I got was from Chris Rock and it was be your own brand. It may take you along time [to reach stardom] but be Kevin Hart.
LAWT: What have been some of the rockiest points in your career?
KH: After Soul Plane and The Big House that was a rough stint in my career because as a comedian I wasn’t known, so I wasn’t making money on the road. I was doing colleges here and there but I was probably getting 500 or 600 dollars a college, but it was costing me 300 dollars to fly to a university. I was doing 7 shows for the weekend and I’d walk away with 900 dollars, but after paying for my flight, and the rental car, my 900 would get knocked to 600, so stand up wasn’t really giving me a comfortable lifestyle. It was still a struggle so after my TV show got cancelled and Soul Plane flopped, I was stuck just sitting by the phone literally. Conversations with my manager were like ‘Well what’s going on, well can I get an audition?’ ‘Did they call back? Did they like me? No they didn’t.’ I hated the fact that I had no control. But you got to get up off you’re a** and figure something else out. Once I said to myself forget this I’m not worried about Hollywood anymore, it was just all about stand up comedy. I went and I slaved the road for about 4 or 5 years and I just did comedy clubs. By year three, two out of my seven shows were selling out. By year four I’m selling out four of the seven shows. Year five I’m selling out all the shows.
LAWT: Do you make all those memes of yourself on Instagram? It seems like every time you look up on Instagram a Kevin Hart meme pops up
KH: All of them, every single last one.