BY: DEYVANSHI MASRANI
PHOTOGRAPHER: MICHAEL SCHWARTZ
PHOTO ASSISTANTS: NATHAN MARTIN, WILL CRAKES
STYLIST: ASHLEY NORTH
GROOMER: JOHN CLAUSELL
We’ll always know him as one of the funniest and most successful comedians in the game…but stand-up comedy is just the beginning for Kevin Hart. Of course, he will never forget that it was comedy that gave him the platform to expand into a whole new world of opportunities and industries, almost all of which he has seen a great deal of success. But as he frequently shares on his social-media accounts, Hart has set his eyes on achieving a certain level of greatness every day, which means that he doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. In the midst of his unbelievably demanding schedule, Haute Time had the opportunity to sit down with arguably the world’s most recognizable funnyman to discuss work, family and the serious ways he keeps the laughs coming.
Though a lot of the most successful stand-up comedians seem to transition fairly well into the world of film, Hart was comparatively, able to do so in one of the most seamless and impactful ways. Earlier in his career, he started with smaller roles in feature films like Soul Plane with Snoop Dogg, The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell and Along Came Polly with Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller. But fast-forward to just about a decade later, with a lot of hard work and dedication in between, and Hart is not only starring in some of the biggest films in the world, but he even created his own production company, Hartbeat Productions. Among the projects under Hartbeat is the superstar’s latest feature film in theaters now, Night School, starring Hart himself, as well as breakout female comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish. The movie, made alongside Will Packer’s company Will Packer Productions, “follows a group
of misfits who are forced to attend adult classes in the longshot they’ll pass the GED exam,” per the movie website. “It’s the first movie that I was able to develop from beginning to end and partner with the studio and Universal in getting it made,” begins Hart. “I think the audience is going to love it. I’m excited about the potential this film has, and I’m excited about the chemistry between Tiffany, myself and the rest of the cast. I can honestly say it’s a really great movie.”
If it’s anything like Hart’s other films, it will surely have moviegoers standing outside the cinema waiting for a ticket on opening night. But it is not the volume of fans that strikes us―after all, Hart is one of the funniest performers in the world. But it is the diversity among his audience that is pleasantly surprising. Somehow, Hart has managed to position himself as everyone’s comedian, not just appealing to or attracting a specific, niche group of people. His comedic versatility is just one of the ingredients that have allowed his stardom to rise on an international scale. “It’s important for me to have a wide range of people who can understand my humor and ‘get’ me,” he explains. “What I’ve found in the years I’ve spent doing this is that being myself is what gets the most laughs. To this day, that’s what’s worked because it’s relatable, so I don’t plan on altering that anytime soon.”
That relatable formula is what keeps his stand-up funny and his audience coming back for more. More specifically, it is the reason his “Irresponsible Tour” was almost completely sold out weeks and months in advance. And with those sold-out tour dates, feature films, television projects and so much more, it’s mind-boggling that Hart somehow finds time for his family. “Family is my priority,” he says without hesitation. “Nothing comes before them. They are the reason why I work; they are the reason why I give it 110 percent every day. I’m trying to leave a legacy behind that can create a comfortable lifestyle for the generations that come after me. No matter how crazy my schedule gets, I always have to make sure I set aside quality time to be around my loved ones.”
Given his attachment to his family, it is unsurprising that Hart frequently showcases them on his personal Instagram account, @kevinhart4real, which includes son Hendrix, daughter Heaven and son Kenzo Kash, the latest little Hart to join the crew with wife Eniko. It is a safe assumption to suggest that family is one of his life luxuries. And as we notice the vintage Rolex he’s wearing at our Haute Time cover shoot, we realize, high-end timepieces are one of his life luxuries as well. “I’m a watch fanatic,” he openly confesses. “They are the definition, and they are the reflection of the hard work that I put into everything I do. Each one has a story behind it; each one is a representation of my time, which is something I value very much.”
He admits to “rewarding” himself with a luxury timepiece with every big project he completes, and we can’t blame him― he’s achieved such a high level of success in entertainment where he has worked with some of the biggest talents in the world, including Nicole Kidman, Ice Cube, Bryan Cranston and of course, perhaps most famously, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, with whom he seems to have a close, jovial rapport. “The highlight [in working with my co-stars] is getting to see and know the people behind the entertainers,” he notes. “When they’re not afraid to be themselves and show their genuine, authentic side, it’s really incredible. And it’s incredible that I can call all of those actors and actresses my friends.” When asked if there’s a dream list of talent he’s yet to work with, he has the most perfectly pragmatic-meets-que-sera- sera response: “I think if I’m supposed to work with someone, it’ll happen. But two people in particular I’d love to work with are Denzel [Washington] and Will Smith.”
Funnyman, businessman, family man… Kevin Hart is the true Renaissance man. And with so many upcoming projects to look forward to, we can barely keep up. But as Hart ventures out into so many different venues in the world of entertainment and beyond, he has become so much more than a world-class performer; rather, he has now positioned himself as a real entrepreneur, strategically aligning himself in industries and businesses that have allowed his brand to organically grow. But as he continues to climb up even further into the world of superstardom and continues to embrace his “#comedicrockstars***” lifestyle (his now-famous Instagram hashtag), he’ll never forget his comedic roots. “Being a comedian is dear to my heart,” he declares. “That’s where I started, and that’s where I’ll finish.”
Be sure to catch Kevin Hart in Night School and in Season 2 of “Cold As Balls”—his viral athlete interview TV series.