Who Is Kevin Hart?
Kevin Hart began working as a stand-up comedian shortly after graduating from high school, eventually migrating to bigger clubs in New York and Los Angeles. In 2009 he released his first stand-up album, I'm a Grown Little Man. His 2011 tour, Laugh at My Pain (also the name of a subsequent documentary), grossed $15 million, and since then Hart has gone on to big-time Hollywood success, appearing in comedies like Think Like a Man, About Last Night, Get Hard, Central Intelligence and two Jumanji features.
Early Life and Career
Hart was born on July 6, 1979, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The youngest of two boys, Hart was raised by his mother, Nancy, who took on the role of a single parent as a result of her husband's chronic battles with cocaine and the law.
Throughout much of Hart's childhood, his father, Henry Hart, was in and out of jail and rarely around. As a coping mechanism, the young Hart found humor to battle back the pain of his childhood. Henry has since cleaned up his life, and father and son have reconnected.
The experience of those tough years would later provide a source for much of Hart's comedy. "The jokes," he has said of his stand-up, "come from a real experience." As a boy, Hart was obsessed with stand-up comedy and comedians in general, and he listed Chris Tucker and J.B. Smoove as some important influences.
After graduating from high school, Hart moved to New York City and later to Brockton, Massachusetts. But it was back in his hometown of Philadelphia, while working as a shoe salesman, that Hart's stand-up career began to blossom.
It was a rough start. For a time, Hart pounded the pavement at a variety of small comedy clubs, working under the stage name of Lil' Kev the Bastard. Few saw Hart, and those who did, didn't find him all that funny. "I was trying to be everybody," he once said. "I was so confused. I didn't know what to do."
Under the guidance of Keith Robinson, a veteran comedian who began to mentor the younger comic, Hart began performing under his own name and creating material drawn from real-life experiences. Success eventually followed. After winning several amateur stand-up performances, he began performing regularly in clubs around the country.
Stand-Up Stardom, Albums and Tours
As Hart's stand-up career began to take off, ABC handed the young comic his own sitcom, The Big House. Hart played himself on the show, a successful young man who is forced to leave his home in Hawaii and move in with some distant relatives in Philadelphia after getting ensnared in an embezzlement scheme. The outlandish storyline never caught on with audiences, however, and the show was canceled after just six episodes.
'I'm a Little Grown Man,' 'Seriously Funny'
Hart rebounded quickly. In 2006 he released his first stand-up album, I'm a Little Grown Man, which further cemented his status as one of comedy's best young performers. His second album, Seriously Funny, released four years later, proved to be even bigger.
'Laugh at My Pain,' 'Let Me Explain,' 'What Now?'
However, it was 2011's Laugh at My Pain tour, later turned into a concert documentary, that turned Hart into a full-fledged star. As the title suggests, Hart delved deep into his own personal history for material, from his mother's death from cancer to the strange behavior of his relatives. His recurring line, "All right, all right, all right," quickly became a favorite catchphrase among audiences. In all, Laugh at My Pain encompassed 90 cities and grossed $15 million, making it one of the year's most successful comedy tours.
Continuing on his success of Laugh at My Pain, Hart also released film versions of his stand-up shows Let Me Explain (2013) and What Now? (2016).
'Paper Soldiers' to 'Ride Along'
Hart's career has spanned a varying list of films, including Paper Soldiers (2002), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2004), Soul Plane (2004), Little Fockers (2010) and The Five-Year Engagement (2011). By the time of Ride Along (2014), a buddy-cop comedy with Ice Cube that spawned a 2016 sequel, Hart was among the leading comedic actors on the big screen.
'About Last Night,' 'Central Intelligence,' 'Jumanji'
Following the romantic comedy About Last Night (2014), Hart led the way in The Wedding Ringer (2015) and co-starred with Will Ferrell in Get Hard (2015) and with Dwayne Johnson in Central Intelligence (2016). He then joined Johnson, Jack Black and Karen Gillan for the action adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), the quartet later reuniting for 2019's Jumanji: The Next Level.
'The Secret Life of Pets,' 'The Upside'
The actor also offered his voice in animation film projects including The Secret Life of Pets (2016) and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017). He then co-starred with Tiffany Haddish in the underwhelming comedy Night School (2018), before earning better reviews with his first foray into drama alongside Bryan Cranston in 2019's The Upside.
TV has treated Hart well, too: In 2012 he hosted the MTV Music Awards, and around the same time, he landed a recurring role on the ABC comedy Modern Family. He has also appeared on such series as Real Husbands of Hollywood and Workaholics. In 2015 Hart was the host of the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber.
The comedian also accepted an invitation in late 2018 to host the Academy Awards, though he stepped down from the role shortly afterward due to an uproar over homophobic comments made earlier in his career.
Early in the morning of September 1, 2019, Hart was involved in a car accident in Calabasas, California. According to reports, the comedian was a passenger in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when the driver, Jared Black, lost control on the notoriously treacherous Mulholland Highway, sending the car off the road and down an embankment. Both were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment, with Hart requiring emergency back surgery.
The comedian appeared in public for the first time since the accident in late October when he was spotted at a Beverly Hills restaurant with Jay-Z and other friends. The following week he posted an Instagram video of his rehabilitation exercises, which included reflections on how his perspective on life had changed.
Wife and Family
Hart married comedian Torrie Hart in 2003. The couple, now divorced, has two children together, Heaven Leigh and Hendrix. In 2014 Hart got engaged to model Eniko Parrish and married her two years later. The couple had a son, Kenzo Kash, in 2017. Shortly after his son's birth, Hart admitted he had been unfaithful to Parrish. In September 2020, Hart and Parrish welcomed daughter, Kaori Mai.
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