Kevin Hart is Everywhere: A Look at the Ever Expanding Gigantic Empire of Kevin Hart

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You’re not imagining it. really is everywhere.

The breakneck pace of his press tour for Night School, opening today and also starring Tiffany Haddish and Taran Killam, has him heavily touring the late-night circuit, and even popping up on college campuses across the country to introduce advance screenings. The #HustleHart sentiment is alive and well this week

But in examining his presence a bit further, this breakneck pace is more constant than most people realize. The indefatigable Hart is making his presence felt all over the comedy and entertainment world, and even beyond that (I’m still at a loss to categorize his spokesperson roles with H&M, Mountain Dew, and underwear brand Tommy John…so now they’re on the record). We at The Interrobang took notice, and decided to create the definitive guide to where you can find this tireless entertainer—as of this morning, because who knows what else he’s got in the works?

The Big Screen

The aforementioned Night School hits theaters on September 28th, and marks another highly anticipated collaboration between Hart and producer Will Packer (The Wedding Ringer, About Last Night…, Ride Along, Think Like a Man). The starpower the film has assembled, combined with a slowing of comedy in theaters of late, means a likely success for Night School upon its release.

Although Hart names 2009 as the year his star truly took off in his book (yes, he’s written one of those too) I Can’t Make This Up, he’d been steadily working since 2002, as is evident in his filmography. His first film where he received top billing didn’t come until 2015’s The Wedding Ringer. 2018 is one of his slowest years on film to date, with only one film; other recent years have him prominently featured in up to five. Some of these are blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances, and he’s even made a number of semi-serious turns, most notably 2017’s The Upside with Bryan Cranston.

Hart has several other projects in production or development, including new installments in the Ride Along, Jumanji, and Secret Life of Pets franchises (the latter has solved its Louis C.K. problem by bringing on ), and a remake of 1988’s Dan Aykroyd/John Candy vehicle The Great Outdoors. His IMDB also lists an upcoming Ride Along 3 in development as well as something called My Own Worst Enemy and Project titled Uptown Saturday Night.

But what’s really unbelievable is that Hart has been in 40 films since 2002, with 20 of those films released since 2012. That’s an average of 3 to 4 films a year- most of them starring roles- including The Five-Year Engagement (2012), Think Like a Man (2012), Exit Strategy (2012), This Is the End (2013), Grudge Match (2013), Ride Along (2014), About Last Night (2014), Think Like a Man Too (2014), School Dance (2014),Top Five (2014), The Wedding Ringer (2015), Get Hard (2015), Ride Along 2 (2016), Central Intelligence (2016), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017), The Upside (2017), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and Night School (2018). And that’s not even including his stand up feature film, What Now?released in 2016.

Even before Hart’s breakout role in Ride Along, he had a gigantic list of film roles, bit parts and walk-ons. You probably don’t remember that he played the guy making the documentary about Philip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly, or that he played a Smart Tech customer who got into a fight in The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2003) and played a whacked out CJ in Scary Movie 3. You also saw him in Undeclared (2002) Death of a Dynasty (2003) Soul Plane (2004), In The Mix (2005), Scary Movie 4 (2006), The Last Stand (2006), Epic Movie (2007),Fool’s Gold (2008), Superhero Movie (2008), Extreme Movie (2008), Meet Dave (2008), Drillbit Taylor (2008), Not Easily Broken (2009), Something Like a Business (2010), Death at a Funeral (2010), Little Fockers (2010), 35 and Ticking (2011) and Let Go (2011), and his first film role as Shawn in Paper Soldiers in 2002.

The “Small Screen” (TV)

Comedy Central has long been a propeller for Kevin Hart’s career; these days he’s using that platform to showcase new talent with a pair of TV shows. Hart of the City features Hart traveling the country and highlighting local comedians in cities like Birmingham, Boston, Memphis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. His The Next Level works with up-and-coming comics to put their first half hour of standup on television. In each instance, Hart seems to be applying his considerable influence as a star to newer talent, providing them a platform to rise in the proverbial ranks.

Over on network TV, Hart made his mark this summer with CBS’ Total Knockout, an obstacle-course based show that has contestants rushing through a course while fending off the attacks of other players. The inaugural nine-episode run wrapped up earlier this summer, with no word out on if it’ll be renewed.

As with his film career, Hart’s TV appearance roster begins in 2002 and features some fun “he was in that moments?” in beloved cult favorites like Undeclared (2002), Tough Crowd with (2002-2004) and Party Down (2009), as well as on more established favorites like Modern Family (2011-2013). Hart also appeared in his fair share of short-lived projects like Jake in Progress (2005-2006), Help Me Help You (2006), and Love, Inc. (2006), as well as brief stints on longer lasting shows like All of Us (2007), Wild ‘n Out (2007), and Workaholics (2012). Hart even toplined a pilot for ABC, 2004’s The Big House, also starring Faizon Love and Community’s Yvette Nicole Brown, but the show sadly only aired for six episodes. Years later, he would successfully work on a TV show of his own invention; he co-created, produced, and starred in the multi-season BET series Real Husbands of Hollywood with a staggering set of talent from 2013 to 2016. And as comprehensive as this list is, it doesn’t include his televised specials, multiple stints hosting or the BET Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, or his controversial (and now playfully banned) appearances at the NBA All-Star Game.

Streaming TV

Hart ventured into streaming in 2017 in a collaborative venture with Lionsgate Entertainment, the LOL Network. Fully streaming from a website and mobile app, the network features standup specials, original programming, and a smattering of shows hosted by Hart himself: Cold as Balls, where Hart conducts interviews with athletes from cooling tubs; Lyft Legends, where Hart surprises strangers while in disguise as a Lyft driver; and Stories with Kev, a joke re-enactment show in the vein of TruTV’s LaffTracks.

Hart also serves as a producer on LOL’s Campus Law, Dead House, Laugh Out Loud, and JFL Presents (a showcase filmed each year from the internationally renowned Just for Laughs Festival), allowing him and his HartBeat Productions mantle to raise the profile of creators like King Bach, The Hudson Brothers, and the comedy troupe Dormtainment. Those missing many of the specials once released on Seeso will also feel heartened to know that many have found a new home there.

Health and Wellness

As someone who vividly remembers the decade-old jokes about Hart hating to work out, it can be disorienting at times to see how great a proponent he’s since become for health and wellness. Recognizing that the Black community often suffers disproportionately in this area, he developed the Hustle with Hart initiative- eventually in partnership with Nike. In addition to being the first comedian with his own shoe, he orchestrated community runs across the country and aims to encourage a healthy lifestyle for his fans. Hart also took on the inaugural role of Health Ambassador for Rally Health in 2015, appearing most recently in a series of Instagram video ads for the company.

His longtime love of sports, which got him in trouble at this year’s Super Bowl, also likely drove him to invest in a new MMA league alongside TKO producer Mark Burnett and inspirational guru Tony Robbins.

United Negro College Fund

Hart’s doing more than just putting his money toward entertainment and sports, however. Raising the profile of up-and-coming comedians isn’t the only way he’s elected to give back; last month he teamed up with the United Negro College Fund to pay the way of 18 students (including six from his hometown of Philadelphia) through college at historically Black colleges and universities. Funded by his “Help From the Hart” charity, he named it as an opportunity to inspire and offer opportunity for a new generation of leaders. Further, he’ll be connecting his newfound love of fitness to these efforts, running the Chicago Marathon on October 7th to further fund his charity’s aims of educational prosperity.

 

The Stage

It’d be wholly understandable if this substantial slate of responsibilities pushed Hart away from the stage. And yet, it’s easy to see just how much joy he gets from being onstage. His first televised special came in 2009, I’m a Grown Little Man, followed by Seriously Funny the following year. The next three tours- Laugh at My Pain (2011), Let Me Explain (2013), and What Now? (2016) – were distributed theatrically, demonstrating the new goals he continues to set for himself. Even as his slate grows ever heavier with new tasks and projects, the stage has called- and his fans have heeded that call. His Irresponsible tour continues to tour the world and break records in its wake (147 US dates and 25 international dates across 3 additional continents are scheduled so far). After over a year, his current hour regularly sells out, supported by his fellow “Plastic Cup Boyz” (Joey Wells, Will “Spank” Horton, and Na’im Lynn). And should you be in the New York area on September 27th and looking to see the show, Hart has teamed with Booking.com to provide a unique lodging opportunity: a Hart-branded tiny house spending a single night in NYC before moving to Elizabethtown, PA.

While he hasn’t yet announced a follow-up tour or additional plans yet, we can’t imagine Hart wanting to move away from his first comedy love: onstage performing. You know, with whatever energy he has left.

For your most immediate dose of Kevin Hart’s signature humor, Night School opens in theaters nationwide on September 28th.

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Amma Marfo

Amma Marfo is a writer, speaker, and podcaster based in Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in Femsplain, The Good Men Project, Pacific Standard, and Talking Points Memo. Chances are good that as you're reading this, she's somewhere laughing.
Amma Marfo
Amma Marfo
Amma Marfo is a writer, speaker, and podcaster based in Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in Femsplain, The Good Men Project, Pacific Standard, and Talking Points Memo. Chances are good that as you're reading this, she's somewhere laughing.