Stand-up comedy is like rap music. Seriously. At first glance they may not seem that similar at all, but if you read between the lines, you can see that they actually share a lot in common. For starters, the backbone of both art forms is writing. Writing your own jokes is kind of like writing your own rhymes. They both take time, finesse, skill, practice and of course execution. In comedy, you are writing to make people laugh whereas in rap you are trying to make the most clever lines. However in both, the real goal of the writing process is to impress and entertain a crowd. They are also both primarily solo endeavours. This means that in order for the performance in comedy and rap to be authentic, the writing must be done by the performer. In both art forms, employing a “ghostwriter” is street cred suicide. Look at it like this: would you feel the same way about Richard Pryor if you found out that George Carlin wrote all his material? Probably not.
With that said, everyone tries to be the best writer. Whether you’re trying to craft the best rap record of the summer or whether you’re trying to make the funniest HBO comedy special of this decade, rappers and comedians compete in their rightful lanes. Just like rappers, comedians never come into the game thinking: “I’m here to be second place”. It’s true. They also compete in terms of performance, sales, and practically everything else that can be measured to show dominance. And although hip-hop’s top dog at this moment may be up for debate, comedy’s best of the best is clear.
Kevin Hart may have no rap skills but he is currently comedy’s king. He started performing in comedy clubs all around New England but didn’t really get his first big break until the mess that was 2004’s Soul Plane. Despite the movie being voted one of the worst films of all time, Kevin managed to gain some serious looks. After racking up a decently sized resume in the movie world, he returned to his comedic roots in 2008 with his first stand-up special entitled I’m A Grown Little Man. Not only was this his true breakout performance but it is still known to this day as one of the best comedy specials in the past decade.
Since then, Hart has released four more standup specials. 2010’s Seriously Funny, 2011’s Laugh At My Pain, 2013’s Let Me Explain and most recently, 2015’s What Now. Not only have they been gut wrenchingly funny but he has managed to sell out 40+ city tours. On top of the stand-up, he remains one of the most relevant and sought after movie comedians as well; starring alongside the likes of Will Ferrell, Ice Cube and Chris Rock. Also, did we mention the fact that he hosted Comedy central’s Justin Bieber Roast last month? It seems that Kevin hart is getting a snowball effect of opportunity knocking at his door.
Sure, there are a ton of comedians who sell out shows and do great movies but Kevin is on another level. The secret is his consistency and visibility. Going back to the rapper comparison for a second – the rise to fame can be quick yet short lived. The trouble isn’t getting to the top, it’s staying there. We can all name tons of rappers who we thought were going to be major players in our culture based on a couple hot songs. But, a couple months or years later, they fizzle out into nothingness. The same rule applies with comedians. Having a hot stand-up routine or a joke that goes viral is the equivalent to a rapper’s hot song. For example, comedian Chris D’Elia got a lot of recent shine because of his stand-up bit about drunk girls. As funny as it actually may be, that piece alone landed him a seat on the Justin Bieber Roast, opening up a lot of doors for the Los Angeles based comedian. But can he capitalize?
That’s what kevin Hart does so well; capitalize. He gives us both quality and quantity. All comedians have relatable material but Kevin takes things to the next level by making himself incredibly visible. Whether it’s throwing cookouts for fans in small towns or appearing on every radio morning show program from Portland to South Beach; everywhere you turn Kevin is there. Comedians have the tendency to lose touch with fans because of their “one-special-every-two-years” routine whereas Kevin is everywhere. His live show rivals that of a Kanye West concert, his jokes are hilariously fluid and his movies, TV spots and cameos are perfectly executed- and have you seen his Instagram? Hilarious.
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#TBT in case your wondering what's going on in this picture….Me & HOV were talking about how awful @neyo shorts were & @neyo heard us so I turned around & tried to play it off & while I wasn't looking HOV said "Yo Neyo Kev hates your shorts" ?????? #NeyosShortsWereHorrible #GoodTimes #LiveLoveAndLaugh