NEW YORK — Kevin Hart appeared onstage Sunday in a black suit, a crisp white shirt and wearing glasses. “This is my author look,” he joked to fans at BookCon as he launched the tour for his new memoir.
The serious image was appropriate. The stand-up comedian and film star (Think Like a Man, Ride Along, The Secret Life of Pets) brought the funny. But he was also philosophical and forthright about some tough personal issues as he talked about I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons (37 INK, Atria), which goes on sale Tuesday.
“I’m not afraid of being honest, I’m an open book,” Hart, 37, said during the event at the Javits Center. “I’m a person. My life is real, it’s not a façade. … I’m not afraid to show I’m human.”
His 2013 arrest in California for drunk driving, he said, was “the best thing that ever happened” to him and made him realize he needed to get his act together.
Pulled over for speeding, “I’m so drunk I said to the cop, ‘What took you so long?’ After sitting in jail that night, reality hit me,” he said.
Hart, who was interviewed onstage by Charlamagne tha God (who has his own book out, Black Privilege), also opened up about “physical altercations” he had with his first wife, Torrei Hart.
“What I wanted to do is take responsibility for my mistakes,” said Hart, who noted he was 22 when he got married the first time. “I would never trash my ex-wife. She is on a pedestal; she is the mother of my two kids.” He says they are now friends. Hart is married to Eniko Parrish and they are expecting their first child.
He said he wrote his new book as motivation for others, to show you can go through the “good, the bad and the ugly” and find success.
“I’m very good at finding a positive out of every negative,” Hart said.
He was raised in Philadelphia by a single mom, whom he credited with raising him the right way by keeping a tight rein. His dad was a drug addict, but he’s now clean and a great granddad, according to his son.
Hart says he got his humor from his dad “accidentally” — “I don’t think my dad knows he’s this funny.” He then proceeded to go on a typical Hart riff about a three-way phone call he had with his brother and father that totally threw his father for a loop. (His confused dad hung up.)
He said even though his father wasn’t there for him as a kid, he never lost his love for him or resented him.
“I don’t have time to embrace the negative,” Hart said. “I’m too much a happy person.”
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