On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with Kevin Hart to discuss his various acting roles, the current comedy landscape, and more.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kevin Hart started doing stand-up comedy after finishing high school, ultimately moving on to larger venues across the globe. In 2009, his first stand-up comedy film I’m a Grown Little Man debuted, serving as the groundwork for Seriously Funny the following year. Laugh at My Pain, which was released in 2011, was a major breakthrough for Hart as the young star went on to gross over $15 million. It became that year’s highest-earning comedy tour and subsequently received an in-theater documentary. Over the course of the past several years, Hart has completed a wide array of comedy runs that not only positioned him as an icon in Black culture, but paved a way for other comics as well.
Through his success in acting, Hart has been able to pivot into becoming one of the most recognizable names and faces in Hollywood. Some of his earlier roles included cameos in Scary Movie 3, as well as being the lead in hit films such as 2014’s Ride Along and About Last Night, 2015’s The Wedding Ringer and Get Hard, and 2016’s Central Intelligence with frequent collaborator Dwayne Johnson. More recently, Hart has expanded his resume through movies such as Jumanji: The Next Level, Fatherhood, and 2022’s The Man from Toronto and Me Time.
Earlier this year, Kevin Hart embarked on a tour run with Chris Rock that was aptly titled “Only Headliners Allowed” and came to a close in July. Currently, the actor, entrepreneur, and comedian is amid completing his “Kevin Hart: Reality Check Tour” with dates across the U.S. including Las Vegas, Denver, and Portland — to name a few.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Kevin Hart “Drink Champs” episode. Check them out below and watch the full episode here.
1. On the “Kevin Hart: Reality Check Tour” with The Plastic Cup Boyz
Earlier this month, Kevin Hart kicked off his namesake tour with dates across Orlando, Chicago, Philadelphia, and many other cities. It also marked his first comedy show in Miami in roughly six years, the comedian explained on “Drink Champs.” When asked about his openers and special guests, Hart took the time to big up his crew, The Plastic Cup Boyz — John Clausell, Ron Everline, Spank Horton, Harry Ratchford, and Joey Wells.
“We’ve been touring for over 10 years together … it could even be longer. We’re talking about Joey Wells, Ron Everline, Spank Horton — those are the comics, but then it goes down to a plethora of individuals that represent the Plastic Cup Boyz,” Hart said.
2. On producing and acting in the Netflix original Me Time with Mark Wahlberg
In August, Kevin Hart, Mark Wahlberg, and Regina Hall starred in the buddy comedy film Me Time, which debuted exclusively on Netflix. The movie, as explained by the actor, flips the traditional gender roles with him playing a stay-at-home dad. Not to mention, the film was produced by Hart’s production company, Hartbeat Productions.
“We wanted to do a reversal on the expectation and role of what’s sometimes expected of women. If a woman has a kid, there’s an expectation that the woman is in the house, the man is working, etcetera. We said look, ‘We want to highlight the world of your woman that’s embracing the world of business, going out in the world, attacking, and she’s getting held down at home by her man,’” said Hart. “That’s funny, but we also should make sure that we do it correctly. Let’s make sure that we give a nod to the women in the way that they deserve it. That’s what the idea was based around.”
3. On departing from comedy in “True Story” with Wesley Snipes
2021’s “True Story” was a seven-episode dramatic mini-series that premiered on Netflix. Starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes, the Eric Newson-written show mirrored various parts of the comedian’s life while remaining largely fictional. Hart revealed that he wanted to do “something serious” to show his audience he is capable of playing characters who aren’t funny.
“I wanted to do something serious. I said, ‘How do I throw my fanbase a loop?’ Just pretty much show that I have this in my bag just to play. Let me play in this space to see what I can come up with, and I was a big fan of ‘Narcos.’ I went out and got in touch with Eric Newman,” Hart explained. “He took my rough idea, came back with a template of what we thought it could be, we built off that, and ‘True Story’ became real. We said, ‘Who do we want to play the brother?’ We both said, ‘Wesley Snipes’ … first pick.”
4. On The Upside and the difficulties of coming from the world of comedy
In a similar vein to the aforementioned, Kevin Hart’s performance in Neil Burger’s The Upside is a significant departure from his past work. While there are comedic parts in the movie, Hart’s first real experience with dramatic filmmaking was the driving force behind the plot. Although as the actor explained, it wasn’t an easy experience to go from creating comedy films to movies that were more serious.
Regarding his role in the film, Hart talked about his troubles getting into more dramatic roles: “There’s an assumption that you can’t … just based off of the funny things that you’ve seen them in. It’s not based off of them doing something serious and not being good. That [rarely] happens when you see the comedic talent that takes that stance.” He went on to list a number of comedians who took the same route, “Jim Carrey, when he took that stance, it was f**king insane. Steve Carell, insane. Jamie Foxx, insane. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with when Chris Rock did the play ‘[The] Motherf**ker with the Hat,’ it was a serious play. He f**king bodied that play.”
5. On Lil Duval attempting to get him high in a viral 2019 video
In 2019, Lil Duval tried to persuade Kevin Hart to smoke marijuana with him while backstage at one of Hart’s shows. In a clip that went viral, Hart retorted that he had a “contact high” from the vapors present. When asked about the situation and his relationship with cannabis, the comedian went on to list a number of benefits that come with staying away from it.
When asked why he doesn’t smoke marijuana, he replied, “That’s easy. What’s the best way to explain this? I’m a brand. I’m a f**king chairman and CEO. You know what else I know? I haven’t smoked and my business partners somehow trust me with all the business that I do,” he said wittingly. “I’m on time, I show up in the mornings, I smell like I don’t smoke weed, and I actually have a good memory. Shout out to everyone that smokes weed, but I’m going to be honest with you, a lot of delayed reactions in those f**king people.”
6. On Paper Soldiers being a hood classic and working with N.O.R.E.
Kevin Hart and other hip hop greats — including N.O.R.E., JAY-Z, Jim Jones, and Cam’ron — starred in Paper Soldiers, a 2002 crime comedy movie produced by Roc-A-Fella Films. Hart reflected on his time working with N.O.R.E. and how Dame Dash persuaded him to join the cast. Furthermore, the actor claimed that his part in the film opened doors for him in the years that followed.
“I’m f**king 22 and I can’t process I’m around what the f**k I’m around. I remember Dame [Dash] going, ‘Yo, man, you gotta be funny. Do the s**t you was doing like you was doing on stage,’” Hart recalled. “I remember in the scenes they just started letting me go. I started getting more comfortable and comfortable, and then the movie ended up becoming a big improv fest. Everybody was coming and bringing their own s**t to the table. N.O.R.E. and my scenes got dope as f**k.”
7. On Think Like A Man being his big break in film
Released in 2012, the Tim Story-directed romantic comedy Think Like a Man featured a star-studded cast that included Kevin Hart, Terrence J, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, and Gabrielle Union, among others. Grossing over $33 million at the box office during its opening weekend, the film set Hart up to be a major success in Hollywood, according to the comedian. On “Drink Champs,” he shared that it opened doors for other films, particularly 2014’s Ride Along.
“Think Like A Man was the biggest … It was the one where he was like, ‘We want you to do this movie. It’s a big cast around you, but it centers around this character.’ And they set me up to win. Our cast, I mean godd**n, man, ’til this day, that’s probably the most amazing cast that I’ve been a part of,” he gushed. “When that movie came out, that’s when Hollywood and all the other producers really started going, ‘Okay, that’s going to be the guy.’”
8. On Will Smith paving a way for people of color in the film and entertainment industry
During the “Drink Champs” mini-game segment “Quick Time With Slime,” Hart was asked to choose between Will Smith and Ice T. He responded with the former, explaining how Smith and several others opened the doors for African Americans to star in major franchises and films. Elsewhere, he briefly touched on the actor’s Oscar Awards slap that took place earlier this year.
“Will Smith is the reason why the idea of African Americans attached to IPs is normal. Movie studios took the chance to gamble on more leads of color because of the work that Will Smith and Denzel [Washington] were doing in the beginning. You need the faces that are getting a universal return,” Hart said while speaking about the actor. He added, “People make mistakes and from mistakes, they should be allowed time to recover. In that, this is no longer the world’s problem. This is Will and Chris’ problem. The world should step out of it and let them recover.”
9. On Pharrell Williams being an underappreciated cultural figure
Toward the end of the interview, Kevin Hart was asked to choose between Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. Although he chose the YEEZY founder as his top pick, Hart shared that Pharrell has a lot of accolades that often go unacknowledged. “I don’t think the world knows how much Pharell has done. I say that to say, Kanye’s success is highlighted because he’s Kanye and it should be, but I don’t think the world knows how much he’s done. Pharrell is that guy in that space,” the comedian stated.