The World According to Kevin Hart

The comedian spoke to The Root about performing overseas and his new film, Let Me Explain.

Kevin Hart at the premiere of his movie Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Kevin Hart at the premiere of his movie Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

(The Root) — Kevin Hart has done it again. With the debut of his latest concert film, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, the Philadelphia-born performer has proved that he very well may be the comedic voice of his generation.

Hart’s latest was shot before thousands of giddy fans at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and sharply captures the comic’s high-octane routine. The comedian focuses largely on his adventures overseas, the differences between women and men, relationships and rumors, his past legal troubles and his fear of being touched on the lips by a hobo’s hands.

If there is any doubt that Hart has arrived, the 80-stop tour in 2012 generated more than $32.7 million in ticket sales, surpassing the No. 1 urban-comedy tour of all time, “The Kings of Comedy.”

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain has already grossed more than $20 million since it opened in theaters July 3. The Root talked to the comedian while he was in Washington, D.C., to learn more about the genius behind the laughs.

The Root: What inspires you to keep moving forward as a comedian?

Kevin Hart: I am goal-oriented. My drive is ridiculous because I want so much and expect so much out of myself, which is why I work so hard.

I’m a student of comedy. When you look at the greats — from Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle, Redd Foxx, Robin Harris, George Carlin to the Kings of Comedy to Bill Cosby; the list goes on and on — these guys have achieved so much.

One day I want to be considered one of the greats. I’m a student of comedy. You can’t get there by not putting your all into your craft. That’s what keeps me going.

TR: What inspired the hilarious film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain?

KH: The film Let Me Explain was about taking the opportunity to set the record straight for whatever hypothetical opinions people may have of me. As an entertainer, you put yourself in the public’s eye, and you put yourself in a position where people can develop opinions of you.

By doing stand-up, I get the unique opportunity to literally make the best of my situation by being a comedian. Whether it is positive or negative, me being able to address everything and not hiding from it puts things in a different perspective. It allows my fans to know me and respect me a little more.

TR: In the film, the audience gets a chance to share some of your overseas experiences and adventures. What do those experiences mean to you?