When it comes to figuring out who is the most popular stand up comic in the world it’s really difficult. Among their peers it’s always Louis C.K being recognized as the “comic’s comic.’ Dane Cook is a box office draw on tour, of course, and Jeff Foxworthy & Larry the Cable Guy own the Southern audience better than anyone else. Kevin Hart has slowly risen among their ranks if only for one reason: he’s managed to turn the stand up comedy film back into something that can draw successfully at the box office.
After Laugh At My Pain grossed $8 million domestically on a miniscule budget (with the album going multi-platinum), Let Me Explain picks up where that film left off as Hart is filmed in front of a capacity audience at New York City’s Madison Square Garden for an hour long stand up comedy set. Setting the film up by having him needing to get “some things off his chest” and going to MSG, Hart has an hour to talk about what he finds funny about life, et al.
The one thing that come through early is that Hart has a rock star presence on stage … and he fully embraces it. Hart has had a number of roles in film, et al, and his stand up career has grown substantially since Pain defied box office expectations and made a substantial amount (for a stand up comedy film). Acknowledging this early on, especially considering the venue he’s playing, gives the film an authenticity that many stand up comedy films don’t have.
Hart’s routine is genuinely funny, as well, as Hart tackles a lot of things that are deeply personal. Discussing the break up of his marriage, for starters, has to be tough but he does in such a remarkable manner that it’s enlightening. Fame hasn’t done anything to take the comedy out of Hart so far as it seems to have elevated his game.
And that’s what this film is: Hart elevating his material to that next level. Hart is in the moment as MSG is one of those places that few stand up comedians have been able to play, and sell out, and this is a comic at the height of his powers unleashing something beautiful. When an artist in any field is in the process of being in the moment, of raising their game to high levels, it can be beautiful to see and this is Hart crafting something special on stage.
The only downside is that it’s only an hour, and includes a fairly unimaginative opening to set up the film. Hart is on such a role on stage that you wish he’d have more material instead of having the start of the film being a genuflection on where he’s come from.
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.