Kevin Hart is riding his wave of success to open doors to others. On the heels of his well received New York Times bestseller, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons released this summer, he is launching a new streaming service. His book, which NDG reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer described as “Hart tells his own personal story with humor, just the right touch of embellishment, and a full dose of the flip-side of funny without forcing anything. That’s good comedy, as he says… and it makes for a wonderful memoir,” seems like just a stepping stone in expanding his comedic brand. Now comes, Laugh Out Loud, which launched on Aug. 3.
As more viewers cut the cable cord, Hart’s partnership with Lionsgate will offer a destination for comedy lovers who are a bit tired of old movies and stand-up specials available on cable these days. The streaming service will feature scripted and unscripted original comedy series choices as well as live broadcasts. But bottomline, Hart is a stand-up comic at heart (pun intended) so of course, viewers can expect plenty of those as well.
And if it feels like a throwback to the comedy golden years of HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, it is no coincidence. Fans of the legendary show which launched quite a few household names will be delighted to binge watch all seven seasons of the show on LOL.
Did social media help to make Hart a comedy kingmaker?
African Americans are trend setters for American culture, which Hollywood and music executives successfully export around the globe earning millions annually. All too often, the community bemoans the lack of options and opportunities available to anyone other than established box office golden names. In recent years at the top of the comedy list, Kevin Hart has dominated the scene. Just when many felt like, ” no more Hart screaming at us movies” (OK maybe it was just me) he has flipped the script and shown he had a bigger game plan all along.
NDG has interviewed Hart several times over the years as he traveled to Dallas to promote projects. Looking back at our conversation in 2012, now fans can see how his consistent use of social media to build a fan base has paid off big time. At the time Hart had more than 12 million Facebook fans and “more Twitter followers than Chris Rock, Steve Harvey, and Louis C.K. combined.” Five years later he is on the verge of doubling his Facebook fan page to 24 million and his Twitter following is a staggering 34.5 million. The streaming service’s Facebook page has 4 million fans already.
Now instead of asking someone to take a chance on his next project, through the strategic partnership with Lionsgate, Lyft and Just for Laughs comedy tours, Hart is in a position to be a comedy king maker. It is no mistake that not only is Lionsgate joining Team Hart, but Facebook and YouTube are key partners is the rollout of Laugh Out Loud. With Hart’s built in social media clout, he has, and the success of his book release in June just strengthened his position as a hot commodity, someone fans will support with their wallet in whatever endeavor he embarks on.
Laugh Out Loud is a platform for comedians thriving online to take their game to the next level. Through the showcases at the comedy festivals around the country, finding the next Chris Rock or Kevin Hart might be easier. With all of these initiatives, it appears Hart is taking a page out of Jay-Z and Sean Combs book (is that the name he is going by these days?) to build a comedy empire.
So for all of us (again was it just me?) who ridiculed Snoop Dog, D.L. Hughley, Monique, and others for what we considered the disaster known as Soul Plane in 2004, it actually was a key stepping stone for Kevin Hart. Thirteen years later, it looks like Hart is enjoying the last laugh.
The Laugh Out Loud app is available for free for iOS and Android users, with an option to pay $2.99 monthly for the privilege of skipping the ads.
Meanwhile, enjoy the first episode of Kevin Hart: Lyft Legend – Episode 1, which just for the record does deliver the laughs, but it is not a kid-friendly short. New episodes are released via the app every Friday.