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Film | Opinion

Hear Me Out: Kevin Hart really isn't that funny

Inherently, comedy is a divisive game. From visual gags to crude one-liners, for any of us that have any resemblance of a personality, we all love comedy, and for different reasons. 

Some like the way that Ricky Gervais and Frankie Boyle walk the line between thought-provoking and downright offensive, others prefer the garlic bread and cheesecake-based quips of Bolton’s favourite export Peter Kay, and some prefer the more surreal work of figures such as Kevin Bridges and Bob Mortimer.

Whether you enjoy the aforementioned comedians or not, you cannot doubt that they have large fanbases and that to varying extents, they’ve made a palpable impact on popular culture. However, particularly in America, there is a multitude of A-list comedians whose careers are quite confounding because of one simple fact: they’re just not that funny. 

From Amy Schumer to Dave Chappelle and even Aziz Ansari, when scrolling Netflix and I come across the works of comedians such as these, I often find myself questioning just how they’ve managed to rise to become some of the hottest commodities in the industry and, more importantly, who actually likes them. To different degrees again, their work is obvious, over the top, and at the very worst, extremely cringe-inducing.

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I need to get one thing clear. This is not because I’m British, as I count comedians such as Eric Andre, Hannibal Burress, Tim Robinson, and Tim Heidecker as some of my favourites in the game. Not to mention the host of ‘Frat Pack’ comedians whose films we all grew up watching, from Ben Stiller’s Zoolander to Judd Apatow’s Pineapple Express and Seth Rogen’s Superbad

Adding to this point is the fact that there are a plethora of British and Irish comedians who are nothing short of monumental, but are, in my mind, and many others, objectively terrible. This extensive set conveys the comedic sharpness of an eight-year-old about to overdose on E numbers to stadiums filled with individuals of the same persuasion. Michael McIntyre, Miranda Hart, Jason Manford, the list really is endless, and this is not forgetting to take into account shows such as Mrs. Brown’s Boys. 

However, there is one comedian that confounds me more than any other, but one who has been an almost constant in popular culture for as long as I can remember: Kevin Hart.

While his stand-up routines often split opinion, his work on the big screen is nothing short of a tragedy. Apart from his brief turns in Modern FamilyWorkaholics, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Dave, when scouring through his lengthy filmography you’re hard-pressed to find anything of worth. Again, this is not to be snobby, just to point out the fact that Kevin Hart just isn’t very funny. Even the cult 2004 stoner comedy Soul Plane is objectively awful, and nothing in comparison to the timeless Method Man and Redman title, How High.

Epic Movie, Superhero Movie, Fool’s Gold, Central IntelligenceGet Hard and the Ride Along films are just some of the standouts for the worst titles that he’s been in. One thing that also is readily clear is that when Kevin Hart is a leading man in the movies, they’re invariably unfunny or just awful, as Get Hard and the Ride Along films exhibit. 

His brand of comedy is annoyingly over the top, and apart from a smattering of funny one-liners and a visual gag or two, it’s one of the most irritating out there. Added to this is the fact that his acting work always has the most ridiculous storylines, making any hope of Hart’s comedy redeeming itself dissipate within the first five minutes. It says it all that the first Ride Along holds 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, whilst Get Hard has 28%, and Cental Intelligence has 71%. It’s also telling that the duo of Jumanji films that Kevin Hart stars in have a slightly better rating as he occupies less of the limelight. 

I’m not saying that Kevin Hart is unfunny, just that he’s not that funny, and certainly not of the quality to be as everpresent in the film industry as he is. Or is he, and I’m the fool?

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