Kevin Hart has come a long way from his days as a stand-up comedian. He started out booking gigs in comedy clubs, then landed small parts on sitcoms before headlining blockbuster movies. Did we also mention that he’s part of The Rock’s crew?
No one would have thought that the short guy from Philadelphia would have made it big, but he’s proven everyone wrong. He reached heights as an actor that many people didn’t expect from him. He’s worked hard over the years and sometimes persistence really does pay off. Plus, it helps that he’s completely hilarious.
He broke through some pretty discouraging odds to create a career that he can be proud of. He’s held his head high and held on to his integrity even during times when his behaviour was in question. Despite the ups and downs that he has experienced, his most recent film, called The Upside, reached the top spot at the box office.
Check out these 20 little-known details about Kevin Hart he doesn’t share with fans.
20 He’s Not Apologizing For His Past
When it was announced that Kevin Hart would host this year's Oscars, people started talking about that time that he said something questionable in the media. Hart wasn’t having any of it and he responded to the comments saying that he wasn't impressed that people were upset about a tweet from almost a decade ago. "I’m almost 40 years old," Hart said in an Instagram video. "If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve, I don’t know what to tell you."
19 He Bowed Out Of The Oscars
CBS News reports that Hart decided to step down from the opportunity to host the Oscars. He also apologized for the comments he'd made that were offensive to the LGBTQ community.
As CNN reports, Hart later said, "I'm over it. There's no more conversation about it. I'm over that, I'm over the moment. I'm not giving no more explanation of who I am ... I'm just done. If you didn't [hear the apology], then I don't know what you're looking for."
18 Ellen DeGeneres Has His Back
Talkshow host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres still has Kevin's back and doesn’t seem to agree with what’s going on. In fact, she felt so strongly about things that not only did she express her support for him but she said that she called the Academy to talk to them about how they could bring Hart back. MSN reports that she tweeted,
“I believe in forgiveness.
I believe in second chances. And I believe in @KevinHart4real.”
17 Hart Went Public
In 2017, someone tried to extort money from Kevin Hart because they had access to a video that showed him acting inappropriately with a woman who was not his wife. The person wanted money to keep the video quiet. Hart went public with his apology.
"I'm at a place in my life where I feel like I have a target on my back and because of that, I should make smart decisions. And recently, I didn't," he shared on social media. "You know, I'm not perfect. I'm not going to sit up here and say that I am or claim to be in any way shape or form." Kevin continued,
"I made a bad error in judgment and I put myself in a bad environment where only bad things can happen and they did. And in doing that, I know that I'm going to hurt the people closest to me, who've I talked to and apologized to, that would be my wife and my kids."
His wife forgave him and his extortionist faces up to four years in jail, as E! News reports.
16 He Used To Go By The Name "Lil Kev"
Before he was as famous as he is now, Hart used to go by the stage name "Lil Kev." When he was first doing standup, he didn’t feel comfortable using his real name but his stage name didn’t stick too well, either. It just wasn't met with enthusiasm.
Hart told The New York Times, "I was trying to be everybody. I was so confused, I didn't know what to do."
15 He Used To Be A Shoe Salesman
Now, he probably walks around wearing expensive shoes, but there was a time in Hart’s life when he was selling shoes. He moved to Brockton, Massachusetts after college and became a shoe salesman. He said that he was pretty good at selling shoes and at one point had a job lined up with Nike.
"I had a great time being a salesman because of the pitches that I gave when I was selling shoes," he told The New York Times, as News-Press reports. "Being a salesman was all about being a people person, and I enjoy being around people. I also love talking to people - which is why I think I did so well.”
14 He's A Runner
In 2017, Kevin ran the New York City Marathon in four hours, Billboard reports, and this past year he completed the Chicago Marathon in roughly the same time, according to Runner's World. Because he loves running so much, it led to a deal with Nike. He has even led some audio programs on the Nike+ Run Club app if you would like to listen to him while you run. He's quite an active person, as CulSire reports him saying, “I like playing basketball and going to the gym. I don't box, but I'll ride my bike and go jogging or running in the park. Sometimes my lady and I go hiking.”
13 He’s Been Booed Offstage Before
Standup comedy can be savage at times and Kevin Hart knows that from experience. He wasn’t always considered to be a big star. During his years of being Lil Kev he was often booed offstage. He was persistent, though, and never gave up. He was determined to be successful and it all paid off for him. Now he sells out tours when he wants to do standup comedy.
“I don't write material. Funny things happen to me in the course of a day, and I just make notes,”
Kevin Hart has said about his process, as GW reports.
12 Someone Threw A Chicken At Him
When you are a huge star, the last thing you want is for people to know that someone once threw a piece of chicken at you. During one of his performances as a standup comedian, there was a person that really disliked Hart. When he performed in Atlantic City, a man threw a buffalo chicken wing at him in order to get him off the stage. Hart told the New York Times,
"I tried to make a stand. I said, 'Whoever threw it, say you threw it so I can see you.' And this guy actually stood up, and I was like, 'All right, never mind, good night everybody.' He was big."
Well, at least he asked.
11 He Made A Scene At An Eagles Game
Kevin Hart loves the Philadelphia Eagles. He went to the Super Bowl when his team was playing against the New England Patriots and ended up making a scene. He had one too many drunks and was later seen crashing the stage where they presented the trophies! He was stopped by security. As AJC reports, Hart later said in an Instagram video, "When [drinks] is in your system, you do dumb stuff. Me trying to go on stage with the trophy [is] definitely in the top two stupidest things I've ever done but who cares? The Eagles won the Super Bowl."
10 He’s A Pretty Great Basketball Player
Although he might not be that great at the sport, and has been teased by other celebrities for his efforts, Hart loves basketball so much that he's participated in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Tournament. He was chosen multiple times to be an MVP of the tournament. While coaching for the USA team he decided to make a comeback and get back on the court once again, as GQ reports. He didn’t win, though.
9 He Was Raised By A Single Mom
It’s crazy because Kevin Hart is the spitting image of his mom! Hart had a difficult upbringing but his mother worked really hard to give him and his brother a good life. His father was gone for most of his childhood, so she was on her own. Hart lost his mother to cancer in 2007 and has stated that he uses comedy as a means of coping with his grief. As Esme reports, he told People,
"The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong. My mom was such a strong woman."
Hart is definitely a family man.
8 He Helped Tiffany Haddish When She Was Homeless
Tiffany Haddish had it rough growing up and she’s always talked freely about those experiences. In her memoir The Last Black Unicorn she talked about an abusive relationship and her schizophrenic mom. During a particularly low point in her life, she found herself homeless and Kevin Hart came to her aid. She told Vanity Fair,
“He saw all the stuff in my car. He had like this long discussion with me, you know? And he gave me $300 and told me I shouldn’t be sleeping in my car.
I got me a motel room, and he told me to write out a list of goals and start doing something every day toward those goals.”
7 His Father Was Gone For Most of His Life
Kevin Hart was raised by a single mom because his father spent most of his life doing time. His father had personal struggles and because of that, he had issues with the law. Hart has always had a rocky relationship with his father. One thing is for sure, he uses his dad’s mistakes as lessons for his own life.
As Nicki Swift reports him saying, “If my dad hadn't been around [...] I may be handling my success differently. I may be on [something], I may be searching for something."
6 He Was Desperate To Get A Watch
When celebrities become famous, they always have that one purchase that they can't wait to make. It’s the thing that they were dreaming about back when they were broke. That item for Hart was a watch and it was the first thing that he bought when he got his first major paycheck.
He spent the majority of his first six-figure paycheck on an expensive watch, as Men's Health reports. He thought it would make him get noticed.
"I thought it'd change the way people looked at me,"
he said in the Men's Health interview. "I thought it'd be a game changer. But nobody noticed it. Nobody even glanced at it. So I took it back."
5 He Paid A Friend To Get Healthier
Hart likes to stay in shape and he takes fitness seriously. So, when he saw his friend becoming dangerously overweight, he bet him to lose the weight.
"He was 300-something pounds and it was affecting his sleep," Hart told Men's Health. "So I bet him $25,000 he couldn't lose 60 pounds. If he didn't, he had to pay me a grand. I was happy to lose that money."
4 He Wrote A Sitcom But It Failed
Not everything that Hart does is a success. He wrote a sitcom called The Big House which made its primetime debut in 2004. Not only did he write it but he starred in it, too. Sadly, it only ran for six episodes because it was a complete flop. That didn't get Hart down, though. “Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work," he told Ebony.
"I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually, it'll pay off.
It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.”
3 He Idolizes Eddie Murphy
We all have our idols and when it comes to Hart, he wants to be just like Eddie Murphy. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he desires to "equal his heroes and dwarf them by building an empire even larger than theirs."
He told The Chicago Tribune, “At the end of the day, I want to be part of the same conversation as Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.”
2 His First Concert Was Sesame Street On Ice
You might be asking yourself how this even happens but a lot of celebrities love Sesame Street, especially if they have kids. While on a publicity tour for Ride Along 2, Hart and his co-star Ice Cube met up with some famous puppets at Sirius XM Radio Town Hall. He claimed that Sesame Street On Ice was the very first concert that he ever attended, as Boomsbeat reports. Hopefully, he meant when he was a child, otherwise it might be just a little awkward.
1 He’s Terrified Of Dolphins
Well, we’re all scared of something, aren’t we? In Hart’s case, it’s dolphins that terrify him. Don't laugh - there's a serious story behind it. Entertainment Tonight reports that the comedian is afraid of dolphins because he had what he called a "near-death experience" after getting dragged to the bottom of a water tank by a Maui dolphin. Yikes!
References: CBS, CNN, E! News, The New York Times, Billboard, The New York Times