Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart became one of America's most popular comedians, but he didn't reach such a lofty status overnight. Using humor to get through a tough inner-city childhood, he later paid his dues in comedy clubs. After being cast by Judd Apatow for a few episodes of his short-lived cult-favorite TV show "Undeclared" (Fox, 2001-02), Hart began to pick up career momentum, with small parts in films such as the horror spoof "Scary Movie 3" (2003) soon giving way to bigger roles in feature comedies, including the unabashedly campy "Soul Plane" (2004). Turning up in more Apatow productions and other parody flicks (2008's "Superhero Movie"), Hart finally had a breakout performance in the hit ensemble romantic comedy "Think Like a Man" (2012). By this point, thanks largely to his legion of viral-video fans, his stand-up-comedy career followed suit, with his "Laugh at My Pain" tour and concert film proving to be a huge success that made him an undeniably bankable name. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Hart was brought up by his mother, due to his father's drug addiction and frequent incarceration. Opting to direct his frustrations into comedy, Hart developed a stand-up routine that played up his life as a young short-statured African-American man. Though it took awhile to find receptive audiences, he slowly developed a following and also managed to win some screen parts, notably appearing in a brief run on the collegiate sitcom "Undeclared." This brought him into the fold of producer/writer/director Judd Apatow, who cast him in various later projects, including "The 40 Year Old Virgin" (2005). Spoof movies factored heavily into Hart's early film career, with roles in two "Scary Movie" sequels, among others, while "Soul Plane" provided him with a bigger part as the hapless airline-founding lead, Nashawn. In 2009, Hart's concert film "I'm a Little Grown Man" was an unexpected hit, although he was still relegated to small parts in feature comedies such as "Death at a Funeral" (2010) and "Little Fockers" (2010). After the runaway success of his next comedy special, "Laugh at My Pain" (2011), Hart continued his acting ascent, with a memorable supporting role in the offbeat dramedy "The Five-Year Engagement" (2012), and a show-stealing turn as the divorced Cedric in the well-received comedy "Think Like a Man" (2012). Following his own mockumentary series, "Real Husbands of Hollywood" (BET, 2013- ), and an appearance in the apocalyptic comedy "This Is the End" (2013), Hart had a victory lap of sorts with the release of yet another concert performance, a tour documentary entitled "Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" (2013), that affirmed his major-player credibility. The blockbuster success of the action comedy "Ride Along" (2014) made Hart a full-fledged movie star, supported by roles in the remake of "About Last Night" (2014), Chris Rock's "Top Five" (2014) and the ensemble comedy "The Wedding Ringer" (2015). Although "Get Hard" (2015), a buddy comedy with Will Ferrell, was a poorly-received flop, both the hit sequel "Ride Along 2" (2016) and a buddy flick with Dwayne Johnson called "Central Intelligence" (2016) were box office successes. Hart also contributed a voice to the animated hit "The Secret Life of Pets" (2016).