“My name is Kevin Hart and I WORK HARD!!!” Unlike most of us, the 37-year-old’s Twitter bio is 100 percent fact. Hart, who began his comedy career doing open-mic night at age 19, is constantly building his empire. In the past year, Hart starred in three feature films; released his comedy special What Now?—filmed during a 2015 sold-out show at Philadelphia’s 50,000-seat Lincoln Financial Field; premiered Season 5 of his Real Husbands of Hollywood on BET; unveiled his own Nike Free Train Instinct shoe; dropped a mixtape as his alter ego Chocolate Droppa—and raked in millions doing it all. This year, Hart is filming Untouchable with Bryan Cranston, starring in the upcoming Jumanji reboot and working with entertainment behemoth Lionsgate to develop his own video-on-demand comedy platform, Laugh Out Loud (think Funny or Die meets TIDAL).
Luckily for us, Hart is also writing a memoir, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, described on barnesandnoble.com as a “most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.” Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until June 6 to read those lessons, so we took the occasion of Hart’s April 30 season opener appearance (and July 9 birthday celebration) at Rehab Beach Club to gather a few tips on the ways of his success.
“If you’re going to roll the dice, roll it on yourself.” As he revealed to Ebony, Hart has invested at least $13.8 million of what he’s earned into his own projects. So far it’s paying off. In September, Hart became the first comedian in the history of Forbes’ highest paid comedians list to bump Jerry Seinfeld off the top spot. Hart earned $87.5 million to Seinfeld’s $43.5 million.
Support the goals of others. As part of the marketing campaign for What Now?, Hart hired social media influencers to create their own content to promote the film (he was happy to cameo, of course.) He’s also recruiting up-and-coming comedians to contribute to Laugh Out Loud. He told WWPR-FM 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, “It’s my job and service to open more doors.”
Adopt healthy habits. Over the past several years, Hart has gotten serious about his physique, working out seven days a week (at a public gym, no less!). Sure, he wants to look good, but more importantly, he wants to take care of his health, for himself and his family. Scroll his Instagram and you’ll find videos of Hart dancing with his daughter, SoulCycle-ing with Usher or encouraging his more than 51 million followers to join him at 5K runs with his #MoveWithHart initiative.
Stay positive. In his 2016 cover feature for Men’s Fitness, Hart got sentimental: “The most important thing my mother, rest in peace, taught me was, ‘Look, life goes on with or without you. Being angry does nothing.’”
“Don’t look for recognition. Let it find you.” On October 10, Hart received a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “I’m not the guy that’s in it for the awards,” he told The Breakfast Club two days later. “The star is a representation of other people speaking up for me,” he said. “Be quiet about everything you’re doing. Eventually, people will talk about it for you.”
Confidence is everything. Hart broke it down for British chat-show host Jonathan Ross in 2015: “I’m a petite individual. But I’m confident. You hear my voice? That makes up for my size.”
Never fall asleep at a party. In What Now?, Hart recounts a late night of Ping-Pong with the boys that ends with him blacking out and waking up at 10 a.m. to a string of increasingly angry text messages from his lady. Whether or not you’re in a relationship, passing out with your shoes on is never a good look.