This past Friday (June 21,2013), comedian and actor Kevin Hart, 33, made his way to Atlanta to screen his new stand up comedy “Let Me Explain” set to hit theaters July 3rd, just in time for Independence Day!
We caught up with Kevin during a round-table discussion at the St. Regis Hotel to talk about his fourth self funded and co-directed stand up comedy. Though keeping a straight face throughout the interview was though with his innate ability to make you laugh, Kevin brought in such a dynamic and open book approach as to how he’s been able to turn his comedic ability into a sustaining and mobile brand.
Check out our interview with Kevin below:
It’s been a long journey for you, what does this new stand-up comedy mean for you in this stage of your career?
Kevin: “Let Me Explain” I think it is my best work to date. The reason why is I feel like each special I do you feel my growth. From “Rollover Man”, “Seriously Funny” to “Laugh At My Pain” to now “Let Me Explain” I feel like I get better, you mature and go through more things in life; the experience are different. On stage, I’m an open book. I feel like the things I talk about are unique and relatable to a sense where you understand who I am. The things I talk about are experiences I’m actually living, that’s why I think my fans support me. For me I’m beyond proud of this because this is a full Kevin Hartbeat production. This is funded by me, this is produced by me [Tim Story and Leslie Smalls are the directors I had come in],co-directed by me, this is all my vision from start to finish. I put in $2.5 million dollars to produce this and it will show on 1,000 screens. This is me putting on my business hat and attempting to mobilize and brand myself and my company.
What’s the difference between “Laugh At My Pain” and “Let Me Explain”?
Kevin: Laugh At My Pain was basically me talking about things that were tough from me to go through. I talk about my dad being on drugs, I talk about my mom passing away, I talked about the beginning of my divorce, it was me dealing with things that weren’t necessarily funny but making people laugh because of my approach. With “Let Me Explain” I feel like it’s so easy for people to develop an opinion about you and your life, it’s so easy for people assume that they know you or feel like they know what you are going through, and those opinions then circulate and become rumors and those rumors circulate and become what is quote on quote truth to the media. So the best thing about being a comedian is I have a stage and a microphone and I can say what I want and say my side–Hence “Let Me Explain”.
How did it feel to sell out Madison Square Garden?
Kevin: That sh*t hit me hard. In entertainment you have goals and you set yourself up to do a certain amount of things, but you don’t know the magnitude of what you can actually reach. As a comedian I know what people before me have done, but I didn’t know necessarily how big I would get or how crazy things would get for me. When I was doing theaters, we would sell out multiple shows so when it was brought up to do arenas, I was like ‘ I don’t think I’m going to see out arenas, that’s kind of crazy”. My agents and managers finally convinced me and then we were selling out arenas–but fast. We were selling out 15-16,000 seats quick. So, I doing all these dates and it’s coming to the end of the tour and my agents said we should do Madison Square Garden and i’m like ‘Dude that’s a different ballpark’. I was scared so I put tickets on sale 4 months before the show and we sold out the first show in 2 days. Then my agents said we should add a show and I was like ‘no, no’. I’m very conservative and a firm believer in patience, I believe everything will happen when it’s suppose to. They convinced me to do it and the tickets sold out in two weeks. So, I’m sitting there laughing. I’m like Yo I just sold out two shows at Madison Square Gardens. The stigma that comes with Madison Square Garden–comedians just don’t do it. You have Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Dave Cook, George Carlin, Andrew Dice Clay that’s it–and now Kevin Hart is on that list at number 6. So for me, after thinking about it that’s what hit me the hardest because now you’re in the history books.
To listen to the entire interview with Kevin click on the sound cloud below:
Check out pictures from the “Let Me Explain” Red Carpet Screening at Atlantic Station here.
Photo Credit: Chanda Scott/Tastemaker Magazine