Kevin Hart Blasts the "False Reality" of Hollywood

Ramona Rosales
Hart was first photographed by THR March 24, 2013, at Riverfront Stages in Glendale, Calif., for THR's Comedy Hot List.

"The worst part of success is getting caught up in the false reality that it gives you," the comedian tells THR. "Everybody is trying to do things for you or cater to you, and that's not how things go."

This story first appeared in the Nov. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Where he was: Five years ago, Hart was an up-and-coming comedian trying to get out of the shadow of better-known comics like Chris Rock, whom he counts as a mentor. The Philadelphia native — whose social media footprint now includes 22.9 million Twitter followers and a profile that reads "My name is Kevin Hart and I WORK HARD!!!" — was making his name on the road but on the big screen was forced to content himself with playing backup roles in such movies as Little Fockers and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Where he is: The 36-year-old is the head of a comedic empire, with a 12-man company, HartBeat Productions; a proven ability to sell out venues such as Madison Square Garden (he was the sixth comedian ever to do so); and a résumé rife with major movie successes, including a string of No. 1 hits in Ride Along, Think Like a Man Too and About Last Night. His TV creation, BET reality spoof Real Husbands of Hollywood, now is in its fourth season, and his stand-up act has moved from theaters and clubs to arenas. Hart is the No. 2 top-earning comedian behind only Jerry Seinfeld, according to Forbes, raking in $28.5 million between June 2014 and June 2015. Next? "I want to be a mogul, like Oprah or Jay Z or Tyler Perry," he told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year.

Best and worst part of success: The best thing about success is the pats on the back and seeing the rewards of your hard work. The worst part of success is getting caught up in the false reality that it gives you. In the entertainment realm, everybody is trying to do things for you or cater to you, and that's not how things go.

Most significant industry shift: Social media. I see the Internet more as a good thing than a bad thing. You can promote your own work and take control of your own life, and that's great. But you've got to be smart. You're going to run into negative people who have nothing better to do. But I'm a grown man, so I don't give those things my time.

Leading frustration about Hollywood: I don't let it get to me. If I did, I'd be paying it too much attention.

Hollywood person who's killing it right now: Shonda Rhimes. She's very creative and the content she produces is nothing short of amazing. Would I go on one of her shows? I would never say never.

Most recent TV binge: Narcos [on Netflix]. It was an amazing show the way they addressed everything.

Person outside of Hollywood I most want to meet: I've met everyone I want to meet. I met President Obama, who was very cool, at a dinner at the White House. He called me "King Hart."

Lowest professional moment: All the things that were not good made me stronger and turned me into the business-savvy, smart comedian I am today.

Coolest dinner party invite: My Friday night dinner last week with my kids and my fiancee. We went to The Village, an outdoor mall in the Valley. They treated me to dinner and there's nothing more fun.

Talent I wish I had: I don't want to be ungrateful. I'm happy with the position I'm in now.

Biggest fear of the next five years: Not becoming the best version of myself that I possibly can.