Kevin Heart

The Biggest Little Comic in the World

Kevin Hart
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Born on July 6, 1979, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kevin Hart was a shoe salesman in Philly before entering and winning several amateur comedy competitions turned him into a stand-up comedian. 

At 5'4, comedian and actor Kevin Hart has to pack a whole lot of funny into a small frame. Recognizable from his film work — including supporting turns in "Fools' Gold" and "The 40-Year Old Virgin"  Hart is also an incredibly fast-talking, self-deprecating stand-up comic.

Reminiscent of Richard Pryor, Chris Tucker and a young Eddie Murphy, Hart combines comedy culled from his own life with a quick, energetic delivery that sells just about any joke he tells.

Early Career

Hart began performing comedy under the name "Lil Kev" before using his real name later into his career. A gig at the Montreal "Just for Laughs" festival brought Hart national attention and he began getting film and television work, most notably a recurring role on the Judd Apatow-produced FOX comedy "Undeclared." 

Through the early 2000s, Hart appeared in a number of comedy movies as the token short black man, namely in 2004's "The 40-Year Old Virgin" and "Soul Plane.He even wrote and starred on his own ABC sitcom "The Big House" that year, but it lasted only six episodes before being canceled.

In 2009, though, Hart released his first hour-long stand-up comedy special, "I'm a Grown Little Man," and his stand-up career took off.

In 2010, Hart released "Seriously Funny" as both an album and DVD on Comedy Central Records. The album went quadruple platinum and it was the highest rated special on Comedy Central that year. The next year, "Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain," his first stand-up concert movie was released coinciding with his "Laugh at My Pain" tour which grossed $15 million for Hart alone.

Movie Stardom and Commercial Success

By 2011, it was clear that Kevin Hart was going to be a star — even before his success as a film co-star. Hart sold out the Nokia Theater for two consecutive nights that year, breaking the record previously held by comedy legend Eddie Murphy. He was even invited to host the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012 due largely to his fan appeal. 

During this time, Hart also took roles in popular comedies "Death at a Funeral" (2010), "Think Like a Man" (2012), and "Grudge Match" (2013), followed shortly thereafter by his second stand-up concert film " Let Me Explain," which was recorded live at Madison Square Garden. The next year, he teamed up with rapper Ice Cube to co-star in the 2014 buddy cop comedy "Ride Along." The film went on to gross over $100 million and cemented Hart's status as a true movie star.

Throughout the 2010s, Hart has gone on to star in several other movies as well as being featured on Comedy Central and BET —including the 2015 "The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber." In 2014 he came out with the sequel "Think Like a Man, Too," which received little fanfare and the film "About Last Night." The following year came with the release of big blockbusters "The Wedding Ringer" and "Get Hard" with Ice Cube sequel "Ride Along 2" appearing just a year later.