5 Comedians Who Inspired Kevin Hart, In His Own Words

Kevin Hart has been out and about this week to promote his new “fake reality” series, Real Husbands of Hollywood, which premiered last night on BET and which Hart calls a “dumbed-down Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Hart answered questions yesterday from fans for SiriusXM’s new limited-edition “Town Hall Radio” (Channel 142) as part of a conversation with SiriusXM’s Sway.

Here’s what Hart had to say about the five comedians who inspired him.

1) Chris Rock

“Chris Rock is a mentor and a friend. Reason being, because Chris Rock has taken stand-up comedy and elevated it into a business. Where he is now a mogul. But he’s a brand at the same time. He tours when he wants to. He directs. He produces. He writes. And within that, he creates for himself. So there’s never a stop to the amount of work that Chris Rock can do.”

2) Eddie Murphy

“Eddie Murphy is an inspiration and a mentor and a friend as well. Because Eddie Murphy set the bar and proved that doing stand-up comedy can be cool, you know, and sexy, and almost rock ‘n’ roll-ish. You know. It doesn’t have to be something that’s clowned upon. Eddie Muprhy did arenas when it was unheard of.”

3) Bill Cosby

“I have to say Bill Cosby, for the simple fact that Bill Cosby made it cool to talk about real life and marriage and kids. Things that people didn’t think about at one point in time in show business. You don’t have to be filthy to make people laugh. Not that I’m not filthy. Because I am. You know, he’s definitely an inspiration, because he showed that there’s a different road and avenue to take within stand-up comedy.”

“Now I’m going to flip it and go to the mainstream route, to Jerry Seinfeld and George Carlin, reason being that these guys are guys who are funny but in a completely different aspect.”

4) George Carlin

“George Carlin, rest in peace, is a man who has done 10 stand-up comedy specials. People don’t know how hard it is to develop an hour of comedy material. I think I’m on my fourth hour now, but I’ve been doing it for 15 years. George Carlin had 10 hours of stand-up comedy, and all brand-new material. And he left with a beautiful mark in the world.”

5) Jerry Seinfeld

“And Jerry Seinfeld just because he took stand-up comedy, and took an idea to television and was ground-breaking for TV. People don’t understand, what he did for TV was a simple idea and he set the bar for what people would eventually want to make doing stand-up comedy. To make $1 million an episode for a stand-up comedian’s idea is unheard of. So. He lasted so long doing it, and now still goes and does what he loves. He hasn’t stopped doing stand-up comedy to this day.”

“It’s easy to say just one (comedian). I am where I am today because of so many people. My hat goes off to so many.”

Updated: Here is video from that segment of the hour. Roll it!

Hart’s wide-ranging discussion with fans and with SiriusXM’s Sway also touched upon his divorce and what he learned about relationships from that, his alternate career path that could have led him to selling Nike sneakers for a living, growing up with a mother who is a professor at UPenn, how he’s done hosting the BET or MTV awards shows — “Next one for me is the Academy Awards” — how he credits Judd Apatow for putting Hart in his first TV pilot as well as 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Apatow “discovered me on the acting side”).

Kevin Hart’s full hourlong “Town Hall” Q&A on re-airs on SiriusXM Raw Dog Comedy channel today at 2 and 7 p.m. EST, as well as 3 p.m. EST Thursday.

Updated (1/18): “SiriusXM’s Town Hall with Kevin Hart” will be rebroadcast on SiriusXM’s “Town Hall Radio,” the limited-run channel featuring the biggest names in music, movies, entertainment and sports from SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” archives. Air times: 3 a.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. Sunday and 5 p.m. Monday (all times Eastern).

SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” specials are available on SiriusXM On Demand for subscribers listening via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for smartphones and other mobile devices or online at siriusxm.com. Visit www.siriusxm.com/ondemand for more info on SiriusXM On Demand.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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