Christmas comes a little early this year when superstar comedian Kevin Hart returns to Australia in December with ‘The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour’.
The widely successful and hysterical production will have Kevin performing 360 degrees in-the-round, setting a new standard for large-scale comedy tours.
Standing just over 1.6 metres tall, Kevin often makes himself the butt of his own self-deprecating jokes but when it comes to global success, there’s no joke about just how big he’s become.
According to Forbes’ 2017 ranking of the world's highest-paid comedians, dear Kevin sits at a more-than-comfortable sixth-place ranking of $32.5 million, nestled between Jim Gaffigan at $30.5 million and Amy Schumer at $37.5 million.
Having clawed his way up the comedy pile that leaves so many more dejected and disillusioned, Kevin is set upon becoming a captain of the film industry, so to speak. In a Variety interview with Joe Otterson (21 March 2018), Kevin says: “The goal of being a mogul is a real one. I want to be a billionaire… I’m 38. By the time I’m 45, you guys are going to be telling a completely different story. I don’t understand why people work hard to get comfortable.”
An integral part of Kevin’s success is the way he brands himself; the social media-savvy comedian boasts a Twitter following of 35.1 million, another 23.6 million on Facebook and 58.2 million Instagram followers, while his YouTube channel 'LOL Network' attracts nearly 1.9 million subscribers. Where traditional celebrity status demanded the maintenance of an air of mystique around an identity and the notion such a person was untouchable by the masses, Kevin has built his fame on allowing those people direct access via his social networks.
“I want the f***ing trophies, man,” he tells Variety.
“The trophy in entertainment is success; it’s ownership, it’s a brand.
“The gift is, it’s access. Today’s star and celebrity, you’re big and you become bigger when your fans feel like they see behind the closed door. There was a time where it was such an experience and mystique around stars. You only saw them when it was time to see them… social media has allowed these stars to show that they’re people.”
But the success, respect and accolades have not come easily; in the words of Kevin’s older brother Robert to Brent Lang in Variety (30 May 2017): “We come from a f***ed-up situation. We come from the worst living conditions.”
Kevin was born in 1979 in Philadelphia to a single mother and a drug-addict father who was absent for most of Kevin’s childhood. Using humour to cope with his troubled life, Kevin leveraged an otherwise tragic upbringing into superb comedy patter and a burgeoning empire. While his father and his substance-fuelled antics have provided fruitful fodder for Kevin’s stand-up routines, it’s his mother who instilled the nose to the grindstone work ethic that propels his starship ever-forward.
If nothing else, Kevin is a consistent and driven professional. In addition to his growing list of Hollywood film acting credits, there's no shortage of places to see Kevin; whether it's on a big screen, small screen, the pages of a tabloid or a basketball court where he very publicly and unashamedly roots for his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers.
As recently as April, Kevin made headlines for his courtside sledging of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade that spurred the veteran player on to deliver a career highlight 28 point scoring run. Though Kevin may be universally adored by his fans, he's certainly not getting any love from Dwyane, at least not until the playoffs are over anyway.
“We’re not friends right now,” Dwyane says in a Miami Herald article by Manny Navarro (19 April, 2018). “We made it very clear we're not friends now, but we'll be friends after the playoffs is over with. We’re not friends. I don’t like him.”
Though Kevin has made access the cornerstone of his success, it means even his most private and personal dealings are laid bare for the world to watch and issue judgement. In December of last year, Kevin made the public admission he had cheated on his wife Eniko Parrish while she was pregnant with their son Kenzo.
He spoke openly about the betrayal with New York's Power 105.1 radio programme 'The Breakfast Club', saying: "I'm guilty, regardless of how it happened and what was involved. That's Kevin Hart in his dumbest moment. That's not the finest hour of my life. With that being said, you make your bed, you lay in it.
"I'm hoping that she has a heart to where she can forgive me and understand that this is not going to be a reoccurring thing and allow me to recover from my f***ing massive mistake. That's what I'm trying to do not only as a man, but within teaching a lesson to my son. If you do something wrong, stand in front of your wrong shit, don't run away from it."
As if to prove his point of confronting his faults head-on, Kevin also stars in the video clip for J Cole's song 'Kevin's Heart' about the temptation to cheat in which Kevin faces the scorn for his infidelities.
Kevin also threw his support behind until-recently-imprisoned Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, paying Meek a visit in the week before his release and speaking to press outside the State Correctional Facility in Chester, saying: “The frustration for me is, why is he still there? I still don’t understand why he’s still in jail after so much has been pointed out. I think the good with the situation is that he now has a platform. And I think coming out, he will be able to use that platform to really shine a light on how corrupt this system is and hopefully also keep this younger generation from going through this. And also, a lot of people that are incarcerated now that are doing unnecessary time.”
Meek has since been released from prison by order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, celebrating with his much-publicised attendance at a playoffs game for Kevin's beloved 76ers.
Actor, comedian, writer, entrepreneur, social activist and occasional philanderer, the ball inevitably seems to be in Kevin's court when it comes to advancing his career, with no clear indication of when, if ever, his trajectory will wane.
No matter where he shoots from, Kevin Hart is set to score.