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Kevin Hart on Friday told his fellow comics to go beyond serving as cogs in Hollywood’s comedy machine to owning their careers.
“My one piece of advice to comedians is we’re so much more than just the comedian. Challenge yourself to understand not just how the world of comedy works, but how the world of business works. And when you do that, you become partners,” the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star said when collecting the Generation Award at a packed Just for Laughs awards show, which celebrates comedy’s leading stars.
Hart was discovered at Just for Laughs in 2001 when he took part in the New Faces comedy showcase, and has since championed the Montreal comedy festival with repeat appearances. That includes Hart this weekend debuting his Laugh Out Loud network talk-show format, Hart to Heart, at Just for Laughs by interviewing Trevor Noah, Howie Mandel and other celebrity guests before live audiences.
“We’ve all witnessed one of the most incredible passages to superstardom we’ve ever seen in the business,” Just for laughs president Bruce Hills said when presenting Hart with the industry tribute. The superstar actor, comic, writer and producer, during his acceptance speech, said Hollywood has many doors to knock on for opportunity.
“There’s so much you can do as a comedian. There’s so many doors you can open. Some people are content with the one door of the stage. I personally am not content with that, never have been, because I understand the business that goes into show business,” Hart explained.
Besides his onscreen successes, his global concert touring, Hart’s massive social media following, his HartBeat Productions and his streaming service Laugh Out Loud, Hart said doing well opens doors for emerging talent coming up. “You enable not just yourself, but others to have bigger and better opportunities because of your achievements. We break ground. And the more ground we break, the more comedians run through and break more ground,” he said.
Other award winners at Just for Laughs include Aussie comic Jim Jefferies winning for best stand-up comedian of the year and Hasan Minhaj, the former Daily Show correspondent and host of his own weekly comedy show, Patriot Act on Netflix, taking home a trophy for best breakout comedy star of the year.
Elsewhere, Amanda Seales was named best rising comedy star of the year, and the creative team behind Netflix’s adult animated comedy series Big Mouth! — Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett — won for best comedy writers of the year for their hit show based on Kroll and Goldberg’s real-life friendship, and the indignities of teenage puberty.
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