Kevin Hart: How to Be Funny on Instagram (and Facebook and Twitter)

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Eric Ray Davidson

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The comedian explains why he's so active on social media.

It’s not easy being funny — let alone across every social media platform available. But comedian Kevin Hart has figured out how to translate his brand to photos, live streams and 140 characters.

Hart, who recently voiced Snowball in The Secret Life of Pets, says he treats social media like it’s part of the job. Because, for him, it is. “I work it on all cylinders,” he says, acknowledging that his millions of online followers help make him more marketable. “That’s the power of building that brand, when you take all that time and you spend endless days and hours working it.” He was drawn to Instagram as a tool for showcasing all aspects of his life — “Me being a father, an entertainer, a comedian, a husband, a dog lover or a car person,” he says — as well as all the work that he puts into his various projects, including an upcoming stand-up special and the Jumanji remake. “The best thing about letting people behind that curtain is simply showing them the work that’s being put into the craft,” he adds.

For him, Instagram is often about finding humor in the mundane. Scrolling through his phone on the set of THR’s cover shoot, Hart shows off a few examples of common posts. One, of his friends asleep on a private plane, is captioned “When your crew is way to [sic] old for Vegas” with a number of hashtags including #TripEndedEarly and #ThinkingAboutOurLives. “You can’t beat that,” says Hart. “Me and my friends, we’re coming from Vegas and we looked so beat down. We looked so depressed and beat down. I said, ‘This is a great photo.’ It says exactly what we were in that moment.”

Since Instagram expanded its video limit to 60 seconds, Hart has started averaging a video a day. Some of them heartfelt, like his recent video about the police shootings of two black men, some of them comedic, some just of him dancing. Many times he just trains his cellphone camera on his face and starts recording. “It’s that quick thought, that 60-second thought, that 60-second problem, that 60-second solution,” he explains. “We all can be cool in a picture, but I think you come off very interesting when you’re not afraid to be yourself in that live moment of the 60-second recording.”

Hart’s not just on Instagram, where he has 38.8 million followers, he’s also on Facebook (23 million page likes), Twitter (30 million followers) and Periscope (858,000 followers). He approaches each one differently. “If you think that one of them covers all, you’re wrong,” he says. “You have different fan bases on all of them.”

But it’s all about reaching the same goal: “I don’t like to do things that don’t engage and don’t bring me closer to my quote unquote fan base,” Hart says. “I don’t do it to separate myself, I do it to put myself on the same playing field as them.”