It’s baffling how Kevin Hart has become one of the most famous comedians, not just in the United States but internationally. You’d think that him being one of the most well-known comedians, Hart would also have to be the funniest, but it seems that these days you can become a huge star without possessing that much talent in your chosen profession. This goes for his stage act and his film roles, neither have ever managed to entertain and yet he is hugely successful in both fields.
Comedians who have transitioned from stage to screen have in the past been proficient in either or both. Eddie Murphy for instance, started off as a stand-up comedian and he went on to star in brilliant comedies like Trading Places and Coming To America. People like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock haven’t made “classic” comedy films, but then again they’re both better stand-up comedians than Murphy, pretty much every single show they’ve put on has been extremely entertaining hence their fame. And let’s not be prejudiced here, there have been many white stand-up acts like Steve Martin who were great on and off screen or someone like Norm Macdonald who remains hilarious on stage but whose films have been lacklustre. My point is you have to be good at one or the other or both, Kevin Hart however, as far as I can tell, is deficient in both disciplines. Hart’s movies have been largely throwaway and forgettable and his stand-up shows have been dire, so how does one man manage to be average and sometimes below-average at both stand-up and filmic comedy and simultaneously rise up the ranks of celebrity and fame?
Like a modern-day Adam Sandler, Kevin Hart is not particularly funny but he keeps releasing movie after movie. This of course has to do with profit, if he earns a film studio a load of cash for one unfunny film, they make another and another until we have a string of shite like an incontinence sufferer’s tampon.
To prove Kevin Hart is mediocre, here’s a list of some of his best, or more accurately, his most profitable films; The Wedding Ringer (not that great) Ride Along and Ride Along 2 (not that great either, and this is coming from a fan of quite a few of Ice Cube’s comedy movies) Get Hard was also crap – wow – it must be hard to maintain an average rating for all your films. In Central Intelligence it was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that made me laugh which says a lot about contemporary comedy. An ex-wrestler being funnier than the central comedian perfectly illustrates the lack of talent Hart possesses, and this I might add, is something that also happened with Amy Schumer and John Cena in Trainwreck. Why does Hollywood keep making stars out of these sub-par comedians?
Failing to be impressed with his filmic output, I began wondering, is it Kevin Hart’s stand-up comedy that’s bringing him all that fame, adoration, and respect? To be honest I haven’t watched that much of it, I remember thinking that he wasn’t amusing in the Roast Of Justin Bieber where he seemed to be dressed as a pygmy pallbearer. But that’s one show and he was only a presenter, surely his own show is much more funnier? So, to help write this article, I sought out some of Kevin’s stand-up shows but I have to say, what I came across was about as humdrum as his movies.
In Hart’s 2011 show Laugh At My Pain (filmed in his hometown of Philadelphia) I found myself underwhelmed. Out of the entire show, the repeated line “the way my bank account is set up…” was relatively funny but things like his monotonous “alright, alright, alriiiight” bit (impersonating his dad) was annoying as fuck…
Hart has a tendency to repeat the most unfunniest parts of his routines, filling a huge chunk of his show with infuriating repetition. Okay, I’ll admit that the part about his cousin Al forcing religion on him was slightly funny but at best his gags make you smirk rather than laugh. And on a side note, his nasally “female” voice that he puts on for certain jokes isn’t that far from his own vocal tone making it almost redundant. Most of the time Hart sounds like you’re playing a video of him at 1.5 speed. So this left me wondering, is that the reason his audience are routinely seen losing their shit? Simply because he has a high-pitched voice? That can’t be it?
In his 2016 Netflix release What Now? also filmed in Philly (maybe that’s why everyone looked excited and in awe, he’s a home-grown guy who made it) he talked incessantly about “a raccoon who grabs his dick and disappeared into the dark…”. I have to say, I never once laughed at this joke or this show and I’m not exaggerating. People in the audience were losing their mind over some lame gags about animals attacking humans or “black girls saying ‘reeeeally’” but there was nothing funny about any of that shite. With the audience repeating the “reeeally” line back to him like some AA meeting that had gotten out of hand, I assume it was the alcohol that was making everyone so frigging merry.
Going back to his 2015 joint-effort where he introduced a show featuring some of his comedian friends (Kevin Hart Presents: Plastic Cup Boyz) pretty much all of his “boys” were funnier than him. Joey Wells in particular was obviously funnier than Kevin. Almost every joke he told; College Degrees and work, crap TV shows, Hoarders, Father’s Day, they were all humorous. After witnessing Wells’ decent Denzel Washington impression why would you continue to think that Kevin Hart is the best one out of this comedy clique?
So after watching a few of his shows and a few of his movies, I still can’t understand the reason for his fame. Kevin Hart isn’t very adept at stand-up comedy and yet he fills stadiums (isn’t that the way these days?). So is his popularity down to the fact that he’s “likeable”? For me, being or seeming like a “nice guy” isn’t enough of a reason for the level of stardom he’s attained. So I guess I’m left asking; why is Kevin Hart so big given that he’s so small?
Looking like a Pug in a leather jacket, Hart should be funny just on a physical level but laughing at someone simply because of their appearance is so last century. Look, he’s so short and he has a high-pitched voice, how hilarious… not. Chuckling at someone because of the way they look or sound rather than the quality of their content seems to be an unfortunate trait of contemporary society. Take a look around; Seth Rogen, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, John Bishop, Romesh Ranganathan, these lames look abnormal but their comedy is the opposite; it’s normal, it’s ordinary, it’s unexceptional. Just because most of these hacks have a face that looks like a caricature of, err… themselves, it doesn’t mean their comedy is worthy of attention. When it comes to Kevin Hart, it seems that just like his sister Miranda, he isn’t very funny but he’s famous for looking like he should be.
So even though the title to his 2016 stand-up show was rhetorical, I’m going to answer it. Kevin Hart: What Now? The answer is… be funny. For fuck’s sake.