Shot from the Hart
Raw comedian enthralls audience
By Tim Pompey 07/11/2013
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Directed by Leslie Small, Tim Story
Starring: Kevin Hart and crew
Rated R for pervasive language, including sexual references
1 hr. 15 min.
When Judd Apatow hired Kevin Hart in 2002 as an actor in his short-lived TV show Undeclared, he couldn’t have foreseen what he was about to unleash on American audiences.
For that fact, neither could Hart, but he took the opening and honed his unique brand of comedic fireworks in other TV shows like Jake in Progress and movies such as Soul Plane and Think Like a Man.
Sharp-tongued, rubber-faced, loud, this is the very funny world of Hart; and in his third major theater release, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, he shows off his talent to the world. From Vancouver to Oslo, Copenhagen to London, he played to a series of sold-out shows in 2012 and caused thousands of fans to swoon at his feet.
But the big prize for Hart during this tour was his filmed appearance at Madison Square Garden, a fact that he tearfully admitted, at the end of the show, was a “fucking dream come true.”
For those who, like me, have had limited exposure to Hart, here’s what I learned. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself; he’s not afraid to make fun of sex, women and crazy people (sometimes all in the same story); and he never stops talking. Ever.
The film has a clever start to it. Hart sponsors his own Manhattan mix-and-mingle party filled with notable black celebrities, only to find himself being skewered by his own friends for his recent divorce (he cheated on his wife) and his arrest last April on DUI charges.
He feels misunderstood and needs an audience to hear his side of the story, but after shooing everyone out of his house, every comedy venue and club he tries to take over throws him out on his ear. Finally, he decides. If he has something to say, where better to say it than Madison Square Garden? His friends think he’s nuts, but Hart refuses to give up and suddenly, voila, he’s on stage. Once there, he (literally) plays with fire.
After a series of bits about pigeons in the park and why he has to lie, he launches into his main theme: how his life (and his addiction to lying) seems to revolve around his relationships with women. Hart instinctively lies to avoid confrontation, whether or not he’s done anything to deserve it.
In a hilarious routine, he explains why women don’t trust men even if they don’t know why. In his world, men seem to invite this craziness, even when they storm out of the house and drive off. Look in the trunk. There she is like the eyes of God. Or is she? Ask her and find out.
Another highlight of his act revolves around what he’s afraid of. Turns out that giving a bum a dollar can be a dangerous act, especially if you then get the dreaded “bum bump” on the lips. Is this just his personal phobia or a health warning? You have to decide.
What’s most notable about Hart is his energy and his precise ability to splice words and thoughts into a twisted kind of logic that only makes sense if you choose to flirt with his craziness.
But his unique presentation, while spawning anger and outrage, has a sense of jolliness and personality that allows for his own humiliation and embarrassment, as in the descriptions he gives of his son’s fascination with Spiderman and the final bit about going horseback riding.
It’s all in a day’s work for Hart. In Let me Explain, he seems to thoroughly enjoy himself; and after watching this film, you will, too. Just hear him out. There’s a good reason why he’s insane and funny. In Hart’s case, living and lunacy fit seamlessly together like a good poke in the eye.