For our first date night in several months,i I took the girl out to see the smallest, blackest, most popular, and most profitable comedian on the planet : Kevin Hart.
Nearly (if not completely)ii selling out the 18`000-odd seats at Rogers Place in Edmonton, it was the first time either of us had seen live stand-up comedy at a venue larger than a 200-seat club. So with expectations as ever tempered by the effects of scaleiii and only a 2009 Netflix specialiv to serve as sample of Hart’s oeuvre,v we settled into our usual seatsvi as the warm-up acts entertained the rather youthful crowd with jokes about parenting mentally retarded children, being dumb,vii and for some reason equal gender pay and how Trump shouldn’t be building walls. Uhhh sure.
After 90 minutes of that, the main event finally dropped around 8:45pm and the central jumbotron played an Hollywood-level intro video while surreptitiously dropping 40′ to meet the performance platform at centre ice. Then, rising amidst smoke and sparks, all 5’2″ of Kevin Hart was revealed to an entire arena full of hoots, hollers, whistles, and yells. Sporting sparkling black Nikes, close-fitting black track pants, plain black t, black leather jacket, gleaming diamond necklace and bracelet, and what appeared to be an RM11-03,viii the little man bounced onto centre stage with all the lightness and liveliness that he’s famous for.
Sounding a bit hoarse from who knows how much rock starring, he thanked the standing ovators and opened his routine by apologising for his recent relationship transgressions (ie. being “irresponsible”, thus the name of the tour). The girl and I looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders, perfectly content in the knowledge that we may well have been the only two there who hadn’t the foggiest clue what Hart was on about, though we later researched the subject and discovered that he’d cheated on his second wife while she was pregnant.ix
That humble confession out of the way, Hart delved into his usual topics :
- Marriage, parenting, and domestic lifex
- Black man life
- Short man life
In addition to a few more specialised topics for this tour :
- Board games with other couples
- Skiing in Aspen
- Travel to Japan
- Online pornography
While the topics were largely mainstream, relatable, and no doubt the backbone of Kevin’s widespread success, it was this latter topic – pornography – that hit my funny bone the hardest. This bit was almost past humour – past the point of laughing at someone’s misfortune and into the realm of experience where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry so you just cover your mouth with your hands and wait for the train wreck to be over,xi mostly because it’s entirely self wrought and equally avoidable for anyone with any self of self-preservation worth the mention. It was just this crushing moment of OMFGNONONONONONO that’d you never in a million years want to happen to you.
So what was the bit ?
Kevin asked to see his wife’s online porn browsing history… and she obliged him… only for the little man to discover that everything she’s into involves guys exactly the opposite of him. In Kevin’s case, this is, hilariously, tall guys. Some of the videos didn’t even involve the tall men having sex, so the story goes. Some were just reaching items from tall shelves and cupboards. LMFAO. Now I honestly don’t know what could be more ego crushing than to find out that your partner is into guys/gals exactly the opposite of you sexually and physically but thankfully I’m smart enough not to go down that path. Obviously Kevin’s a bit insecure to begin with, and at 5’2″ he has every right to be, which is why he so desperately wanted to know what his wife was into even if it’s obviously a terrible idea with little upside and enormous downside risk, at least IMO. In any event, it was such a beautifully crafted story that it easily made the show worth the price of admission. There were plenty of other gems besides, but that pornography bit sealed the deal. Kevin Hart genuinely deserves his fame and fortune.
He’s definitely a little man, he’s definitely irresponsible, but what can I say, the kid’s got game. Arena-sized comedy tours are no small feat and Lil’ K totally pulled it off. He even allowed cell phones at the very end.
___ ___ ___
- Newborn parent lyf. [↩]
- It was tough to tell because soooo many ticket holders were getting kicked the fuck out for using their cell phones. You’ve never seen such vigilance and such lack of tolerance for excuses. No. Fucking. Cell. Phones. Allowed. Period. Unequivocal and unambiguous emails from Ticketmaster were sent out to all ticket holders the week before the event, signs were all over the arena, and even the MC took time out of his bit to (very ecumenically) make fun of people from every single continent and the different bullshit excuses they were likely to come up with when told to GTFO by security for using their cell phones in spite of all the warnings.
- As you should well know by now, scale fucks up most everything. [↩]
- “I’m A Grown Little Man” (2009). It’s worth a watch if you’ve ever experienced domestic life in the Americas. [↩]
- Come to think of it, the first time I ever heard of Kevin Hart, and this just shows how out of sync with pop culture I can be sometimes, was on Jerry’s Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee in 2014 where they cruised around NYC in an absolutely stunning 1959 Porsche RSK Spyder. During the episode, Seinfeld, one of the finest comedians of our generation, gave Kevin one of the highest compliments possible when he said, “I’ve never seen anyone faster than you. You get into a bit faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.” Of the 20-odd CICGC shows I’ve seen, it’s easily the funniest (dailymotion link). [↩]
- ie. The ~10th row seats in the lower bowl from where we watch Ovi and the Caps when they’re in town. [↩]
- This isn’t even me being inflammatory because all the comedians were black, which they were. Several of the warm-up acts (known collectively as the “Plastic Cup Boyz”), most notably Spank Horton, bragged about getting 15% marks on spelling tests in dey youf. Guess there’s a grain of truth in every stereotype, but regardless, kudos to all a dem fo hustlin’ dey way to da top of dey gamez. Fo realz. [↩]
- The timepiece featured a titanium or white gold case, yellow crown, and chrono pushers on a black rubber strap so it was almost certainly a Richard Mille RM11-03 Felipe Massa of some variant or another. Hey, I’m getting good at this shit! [↩]
- Such behaviour is obviously a press relations disaster for a guy who makes bank on children’s movies (eg. Jumaji rebooted), but I still can’t fault the guy! Pregnant women have a certain sexiness about them, no doubt on account of the confidence they derive from the utter fulfilment of their biological roles, of that there’s no denying, but their hormones are also completely out of whack as they give their all to their uterine parasites, so their interest in getting down to business is frequently spottier than rural cell phone coverage in Iqaluit. Needless to say, a wildly successful man at the top of his game who confesses to communicating by “leaving problems hang in the air until they float up and go away,” can’t but be frustrated by his un-reciprocating pregnant partner. So he got in trouble, got caught, and “learned his lesson.” Or he didn’t. But really, who cares ? [↩]
- Apprently Hart is very much a dog lover. Blech. [↩]
- This is different from that mortal laugh for the outsider but for the insider that’d pretty much be the only possible reaction. [↩]