“It’s my mom’s funeral. I’m on the right side, I’ve got the casket….
I’m crying, I’m a mess…. My dad see me crying, my dad stood up, punched me in
the back of the head. ‘Man up. She gone.’ I forgot where I was, I threw the
casket” (Levy). Kevin Hart is a famous comedian and actor, he has
made appearances in several films and has had five comedy tours. Born in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 6, 1979, Hart was raised by his mother,
along with his brother, Robert, who is eight years Kevin’s elder (“Kevin Hart”
Biography). Taking the place of their absent father, Robert helped to be a father
figure for his younger brother. Robert says Kevin was shielded from their
father’s, Henry Witherspoon’s, worst actions: “My dad was crazy. Kevin was too
young to know that everything was as dysfunctional as it was” (Weiner).
Throughout Hart’s childhood,
his father, Henry Witherspoon, who was addicted to cocaine, was constantly in
and out of jail, and divorced Nancy Hart when their sons Robert and Kevin were 12
and 4, respectively. Humor proved to be most effective for Hart in his struggle
to cope with his troubled childhood. After a short stint in community college, Hart
decided to drop out and pursue a career in comedy. This interest came while he
was working as a shoe salesman in Philadelphia, when a co-worker convinced him
to attend an open mic night. Hart’s mother agreed to cover her son’s $550/month
rent while he chased this dream (Weiner).
Hart’s career got off
to a slow start in 2001 and getting booed off stage was consistent for his first
several gigs. After these initial failures, Hart began to participate in comedy
competitions throughout Massachusetts as he gradually established his own comedic
style, which often includes self-deprecation and jokes about his short stature.
Sifting through his insecurities and life experiences, Kevin Hart’s career began
to truly take flight. “I’m a Grown Little Man” (2009) was Hart’s first act of
his now five comedy tours, followed by “Seriously Funny” in 2010, “Laugh at My
Pain” in 2011, “Let Me Explain” in 2013, and “What Now?” in 2016. “Laugh at My
Pain” was one of the top-selling comedy tours of 2011, grossing over $15 million
(“Kevin Hart” Wikipedia). Hart has stated that five comedians have inspired him,
Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, George Carlin, and Jerry Seinfeld (McCarthy).
Kevin Hart’s film debut
came in 2002, with the movie Paper Soldiers,
and has since been in at least 40 movies, most notable of which being Ride Along (2014), Central Intelligence (2016),
and Get Hard (2017) (“Kevin Hart”
IMDb). Hart has also had his share of
TV time, hosting the 2012 MTV Music Awards and appearing in a recurring role on
ABC’s Modern Family. The series Real Husbands of Hollywood and Workaholics also found Hart a part of their
casts. Kevin Hart also hosted the 2015 Comedy
Central Roast of Justin Bieber (“Kevin Hart” Biography).
In 2003, Kevin Hart married
fellow comedian Torrie Hart. After having two children, Heaven Leigh and Hendrix,
the couple filed for a divorce in February 2010, which was finalized in November
2011. They share joint custody of their kids. Hart’s father, Henry Witherspoon,
recovered from his cocaine addiction and their relationship has improved. Both his
mother and father have been mentioned in Hart’s stand-up routine. Witherspoon’s
darker moments are only fleetingly mentioned, and he is portrayed as “a more or
less lovable cartoonish character,” such as when he “tried to steal a $20 bill given
to Kevin by a relative” (Weiner). His mother has been portrayed in Hart’s routines
as a “loving, yet intimidating woman.” Nancy Hart died from cancer in 2007 (“Kevin
Hart” Wikipedia). In 2014, Kevin Hart proposed to his now-wife Eniko Parrish, marrying
her in 2016. Parrish gave birth to their son Kenzo Kash on November 21, 2017.
Kevin Hart has had one run
in with the law, when he was arrested on April 14, 2013 on suspicion of drunk driving.
He nearly hit a tanker truck on a Southern California freeway, and failed a field
sobriety test. He was booked for misdemeanor DUI and sentenced to three years of
probation after he pleaded no contest to one count of driving under the influence
of alcohol on August 5, 2013 (“Kevin Hart” Wikipedia).