Comedian Kevin Hart is on a roll. He's landing star roles in feature films, selling out venues for his comedy shows and still keeping the jokes coming.
His nationwide comedy tour, Laugh at My Pain, is making a stop in Augusta on Saturday at James Brown Arena.
Hart said he doesn't take the word "fan" for granted. His fans recently helped him break comedian Eddie Murphy's record in Los Angeles for the most gross sales in one night, bringing in a whopping $1.2 million, Hart said during a telephone interview from New York City.
According to his biography, Hart is the No. 1 comedian on Ticketmaster and sold out three nights at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles in February.
"My comedy tour is going great. We've been pretty much selling out all over to the point where we're adding two and three shows in each city," he said. "I have no room to complain. The support that I'm getting is unreal right now. I'm in the situation that I'm in now because of my fans, so I'm happy."
Hart isn't afraid to laugh at himself or his problems. His comedy is inspired by events in his life. His current tour includes material about his mother's death and his father's drug addiction. He's now comfortable enough to talk about these situations, he said.
"I think fans love to relate to you," he said. "My fans see that I'm honest, and within honesty I think it's genuine enough to where they say, 'We get this guy. I relate to him, and at the same time I believe him. I think he's telling the truth. I'm laughing at him, but I understand him. I have family members like that, I'm going through the same problems in my relationship; my kids are the same way.' Because I seem genuine, I think my fans appreciate it."
Hart has been in the comedy business for almost 13 years. He got his start by "being a silly guy," he said.
"Everybody told me that I was funny and that I should one day take the initiative to go and do something with it," he said.
He debuted on amateur night at a Philadelphia comedy club and quit his job as a shoe salesman to perform full time at clubs such as The Boston Comedy Club, Caroline's, Stand-Up NY, The Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. On the big screen, Hart recently landed the starring role in Think Like a Man , based on comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey's 2009 bestselling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man .
"The role that I'm playing is actually similar to my real life. It's a guy who basically has all the relationship advice in the world, but he doesn't use it within his own life," Hart said. "He's currently going through a divorce, and he's reaching different levels of frustration. With that frustration that he's reaching, he's learning to guide his friends and put his friends in much better situations than he's put himself in."
Hart enjoys acting because he "gets to be different people," he said.
"You get to do things you never expected to do. I've played bad guys, the dad, the out-of-control parents," he said. "The projects are getting bigger and better, and I hope they continue to grow. The bigger and better it gets, the sky can be the limit. Who knows the mark that I can put on this entertainment industry?' "
Hart indeed appears to be making his mark. His standup special, Laugh at My Pain, will hit movie theaters this fall. On May 20, he will appear in the film 35 and Ticking . He has also been cast in the movie Five-Year Engagement .
Hart was recently seen in the Meet the Fockers sequel Little Fockers and Death at a Funeral , a remake of the 2007 British movie of the same name, alongside Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence.
Previously, he has appeared in the films Meet Dave and Superhero Movie . He also co-starred alongside Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in Fool's Gold . His biggest break came when he landed the lead in Soul Plane . Other recent film credits include Not Easily Broken, Extreme Movie, Drillbit Taylor, Epic Movie, The Last Stand, Scary Movie 4, In the Mix and The 40 Year Old Virgin .
In January 2009, Hart's one-hour comedy special I'm a Grown Little Man premiered on Comedy Central and became one of the highest-rated specials for the network. He took over as host of BET's stand-up comedy series Comic View: One Mic Stand when the show re-launched in 2008.
"I couldn't ask for a better road. I couldn't ask for a better situation to be in," he said. "I get paid to make people laugh, and within that world I can actually say that it's going above and beyond expectations. I didn't expect to be in the situation that I'm in at this point in my career. Granted that I'm here now, it's amazing."