Kevin Hart was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 6, 1979. Raised by his mother, Hart began working as a stand-up comedian shortly after graduating from high school, eventually migrating to bigger clubs in New York and Los Angeles. In 2006, he released his first stand-up album, I’m a Grown Little Man. His 2011 tour, Laugh at My Pain (also the name of a subsequent documentary), grossed $15 million, and since then Hart has gone on to big-time Hollywood success.
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart was born on July 6, 1979, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The youngest of two boys, Hart was raised by his mother, Nancy, who took on the role of single parent as a result of her husband’s chronic battles with cocaine and the law.
Throughout much of Hart’s childhood, his father, Henry Hart, was in and out of jail and rarely around. As a coping mechanism, the young Hart found humor to battle back the pain of his childhood. Henry has since cleaned up his life, and father and son have reconnected.
The experience of those tough years would later provide a source for much of Hart’s comedy. “The jokes,” he has said of his stand-up, “come from a real experience.” As a boy, Hart was obsessed with stand-up comedy and comedians in general, and he listed Chris Tucker and J.B. Smoove as some important influences.
After graduating from high school, Hart moved to New York City and later to Brockton, Massachusetts. But it was back in his hometown of Philadelphia, while working as a shoe salesman, that Hart’s stand-up career began to blossom.
It was a rough start. For a time, Hart pounded the pavement at a variety of small comedy clubs, working under the stage name of Lil’ Kev the Bastard. Few saw Hart, and those who did, didn’t find him all that funny. “I was trying to be everybody,” he once said. “I was so confused. I didn’t know what to do.”
Under the guidance of Keith Robinson, a veteran comedian who began to mentor the younger comic, Hart began performing under his own name and creating material drawn from real-life experiences. Success eventually followed. After winning several amateur stand-up performances, he began performing regularly in clubs around the country.
Hart’s comedy has been compared to the four “Kings of Comedy,” incorporating elements of Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac.
As Hart’s stand-up career began to take off, ABC handed the young comic his own sitcom, The Big House. Hart played himself on the show, a successful young man who is forced to leave his home in Hawaii and move in with some distant relatives in Philadelphia after getting ensnared in an embezzlement scheme. The outlandish storyline never caught on with audiences, however, and the show was canceled after just six episodes.
Hart rebounded quickly. In 2006, he released his first stand-up album, I’m a Little Grown Man, which further cemented his status as one of comedy’s best young performers. His second album, Seriously Funny, released four years later, proved to be even bigger.
However, it was 2011’s Laugh at My Pain tour, later turned into a concert documentary, that turned Hart into a full-fledged star. As the title suggests, Hart delved deep into his own personal history for material, from his mother’s death from cancer to the strange behavior of his relatives. His recurring line, “All right, all right, all right,” quickly became a favorite catchphrase among audiences. In all, Laugh at My Pain encompassed 90 cities and grossed $15 million, making it one of the year’s most successful comedy tours.
Film and Other Roles
Hart’s career has spanned a varying list of films, including Paper Soldiers (2002), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2004), Soul Plane (2004), Little Fockers (2010), The Five-Year Engagement (2011), Ride Along (2014), About Last Night (2014) and The Wedding Ringer (2015).
TV has treated Hart well, too: In 2012, he hosted the MTV Music Awards, and around the same time, he landed a recurring role on the ABC comedy Modern Family. He has also appeared on such series as Real Husbands of Hollywood and Workaholics. In 2015 Hart was the host of the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber.
Hart married comedian Torrie Hart in 2003. The couple, now divorced, has two children together, Heaven Leigh and Hendrix. In 2014 Hart got engaged to model Eniko Parrish.