Kevin Hart just made history as the highest paid comedian in the world according to Forbes. Just last year alone he earned a whopping $87.5 million and he’s on track to generate even more millions with his new stand up comedy film What Now? Wednesday night I was invited to the advanced DC screening thanks to my friends over at Allied.
The show was filmed live last August in front of a sold out crowd of over 50,000 at the Lincoln Financial Field in his hometown of Philadelphia. Movie goers get to see heavy hitters Halle Berry and Don Cheadle play themselves in a James Bond inspired opening act. Seven minutes into the corny casino spoof I’m asking myself: where is this going? Producers must have convinced Hart that he needed a build up before the actual show. The unrealistic intro didn’t add any extra comedic value to the movie. Twenty minutes later we finally see Kevin take the stage.
His 90 minute stand up touches on a his celebrity status, family life, and experiences raising his privileged kids with no edge (his words not mine) with his then fiancé, now wife Eniko. Kevin is a highly animated character that can tell a story. There were a few laugh out loud moments but I anticipated being in tears from laughing so hard. Instead of laughing at his punch lines, I found myself mostly amused by his facial expressions and stage antics.
What Now wasn’t bad at all but it definitely doesn’t compare to his previous stand up shows Laugh At My Pain and Let Me Explain. Kevin’s career has skyrocketed since those shows and it’s obvious. I’ll liken it to the analogy that nobody wants their favorite artist or entertainer to be happy and in love because their creativity and work tends to suffer. Sadly some of the best in music, film, art, and comedy comes out when the artist is in a very dark place. Clearly that isn’t the case with Kevin. His material isn’t vastly different. He’s very entertaining to watch but I sensed a bit of hesitation in his material. He avoided controversial topics like sex, religion, and politics. I assume he’s protecting his brand and is aware that he has to appeal to a much larger audience and fan base. With all the divisiveness going on in our country it was refreshing to see such a diverse crowd. Comedy is subjective so don’t take my word for it. Watch the trailer and go see it for yourself.