Kevin Hart talks and moves at a fairly quick pace. His hyper-like voice tone is what has become his signature, delivering comedy. Listen to his show specials or standup acts, and you’ll witness his storytelling about family and publicized mess-ups. Which brings me to his latest body of work, DON’T F**K THIS UP, a new docu-series which premiered on Netflix Friday, December 27. It begins with talk of the controversy surrounding him hosting the Oscars, where you see Hart texting on his cell phone at his HartBeat Productions office as his publicist (Haley Hileman) advises him about apologizing to the LGBTQ community, and the Academy of Arts & Sciences. His manager (Dave Becky) sits quietly on the couch. Hart, whose homophobic comments date back to 2009 (Seriously Funny and in old tweets), professes throughout the series that he’s a different man from a decade ago. Having felt he’s already apologized, his stance draws opposing opinions from his team, the close circle of friends, fellow comedians and actors, and journalists. When asked about the situation, he stops one interviewer to say, “Let’s stop it right here, before people judge and say Kevin is a d**k head and an a**shole, I want you to understand there is a lot you don’t know, so let’s just stop here and come back to this moment.” This was December of 2018, and Hart, through camera footage, takes the audience back to July 2018 and prior. It helps to mention, the bit of animation used in the series adds a fun vibe to the story.
Hart pulls up to the fitness facility in one of his luxury vehicles. “The early bird gets the worm,” he mouths as he greets people (not seen on camera) ‘Good Morning.’ There we meet his longtime trainer of six years, Ron “Boss” Everline. “He wants to do more than most, more than the ones who are doing the most,” says Everline. His comment a clear indication of the drive Hart shows in his daily life and as the docu-series unfolds. “It’s the best or nothing else,” Hart says is his mindset. It’s this way of thinking that introduces us to one of the most important people in his life, his mother, who died of cancer in 2007. In an interview with Big Boy, the radio host asks Hart, When did you realize you were funny?
I Was Always A Silly Kid. Wherever I Was, I Was Always Going to be the Center of Attention
Kevin not in front of the camera, why do you get up on the camera like that? I’m recording Kevin—you hear the voice of Hart’s mother. He expresses his mother was ‘everything’ to him as he takes viewers down memory lane where he grew up in Philadelphia, or as he describes it as…crime city. Raised in a one-bedroom apartment, his mom use to lay upside down duct tape next to the sink to catch the roaches while she raised Hart and his brother Robert. His work ethic resulted from the illegal lifestyle of the eldest sibling that led his mother to emancipate her rights as his legal guardian. Hart’s recount of this time is a quintessential tale of life in the hood, where the failure of one child impelled the quest to save the other one from destruction. Think Jason’s Lyric or Boyz n the Hood.
Hart’s mother, felt where she went wrong with Robert, she redirected her energy into making sure Hart stayed busy before and after school. This routine kept him off the streets. It is Hart’s outspoken love for his mother that sets the tone for the remainder of the first episode. He pays tribute to the fact that she had more strength and fight than any woman he’s ever met. Her strict ways shaped a comedy superstar the world knows today. Hart acknowledges in the docu-series that everything good about who he is came from his mother, and other not so favorable areas link him with a father who never remained a consistent presence in his early childhood to manhood journey. That’s where it all began, he says.
Join us Monday for a recap of Kevin Hart, the family man, as we explore more of his new docu-series on Netflix.
By La Tasha T.
Feature Photo: Kevin Hart/Netflix