May 04, 2018
Forgive me in advance for what may seem to be heresy in the 2018 edition of Philadelphia.
I’m probably still salty from Thursday night’s Sixers debacle. We all are. It’s OK. T.J. McConnell will save the day. This I know.
But, I have something to say that I’ve wanted to say for a while now, and the time finally feels right to mount the soapbox and declare it to the heavens:
You need to take a goddamn break, Kevin Hart.
I get it, truly I do. Philly loves hometown guys and gals who hit the big time. We’ve even co-opted Tina Fey from neighboring Upper Darby and claimed her as our own.
This is not to say that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with Kevin. In fact, quite the opposite. Somewhere, deep down inside, we all want to be famous, the face of our collective people. It’s the American dream, and Kevin Hart is living it.
When he and Ice Cube hit Jim’s Steaks to promote the movie "Ride Along" a few years back, I dashed out of the newsroom for a chance to meet them.
For real, I'm watching Ice Cube hand out cheesesteaks. Wish Eazy could see this. pic.twitter.com/Vhn4PQZYgl— Brian P. Hickey (@BrianPHickey) January 9, 2014
He was perfectly nice. And funny. And polite. And worthy of the accolades and attention that would come his way through sheer creative perseverance and a penchant for giving back to people in need in the town from which he came.
But that was four years ago.
Today, you can barely wake up in the morning without hearing that little fella carrying on about something or other. Watching that game in Boston, I sympathized with those who got stuck sitting near him. They wanted to watch a game. Instead, they got a ticket to the Kevin Hart show.
Just this morning, we have headlines about Hart’s jet blowing a tire.
That came just hours after stories about Hart’s friend trying to extort him.
That came a day or so after we were inundated with photos of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson holding him like a baby.
Somewhere in between all that, we saw stories about Hart banning cell phones and cameras from his performances.
THAT IS JUST IN THE PAST FEW DAYS.
He was in three movies in 2017, four in 2016, two in 2015, five in 2014, and three in each of the three years before that. He seems to get face time at every last Sixers game. I can't remember the last time I went through a day without hearing something about him.
Setting aside his laudable defense and celebration of Meek Mill, there is just too much Kevin Hart out there these days. I’m over it, and I suspect a lot of you are too.
Do I blame him for costing the Sixers a game against the Miami Heat? Yes, I do. Do I blame him for costing the Sixers two games against the Boston Celtics? Not yet, but if Brett Brown starts coaching better and they lose on Saturday, I very well may. This is how unjustified grudges are born.
Listen, I wish I didn’t feel this way. I wish I could tie this developing beef to a cinder block and drop it to the bottom of the Schuylkill off the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
Yes, it is entirely understandable why he’s behaving in such a manner. Get all that money when you can. Dolla dolla bills, y’all. But that comes with some risk, and Hart needs to realize this.
If I were him, I’d take every last chance to enhance my “brand.” When I looked back at my time in the sun after it had turned to dusk, I’d ask myself if I could’ve done things differently.
What I’d likely conclude is that I wish I’d have taken a step back, chilled, let people forget about me EVEN FOR FIVE DAMN MINUTES before re-emerging on the stage to entertain them.
Overexposure is not a good thing. People get sick of you. When they turn on you, it’s hard to get them back.
Kevin, my man, if you see this, know that I truly want what’s best for you. You are a fine representative of the Philadelphia I adore.
I love that you got hammered at the Super Bowl and shrugged it off as a Philly guy being a Philly guy. It was epic. I'd have done the same. You strike me as the type of person I’d like to go out drinking with (until the fifth or sixth time you got us flagged for being too loud).
I was 38 years old too, once, but I’d learned that sometimes, you just gotta disappear. Kick back in your courtside seat and watch your buddy Joel dominate those who want to bring ill to your hometown this weekend.
You are in a position to give kids in North Philly and beyond hope that they, too, could be the star of the show. You are in a position to give aspiring comedians hope that they could turn a start at The Laff House into marquee-guaranteed name placement. These are wonderful things to be, and do.
Please don't let this get away from you and go the way of the Robert resorts to taking a role in "Zoolander 2" De Niro's of the world.
Remember that mural they dedicated last year on Kevin Hart Day, the one the side of Max’s Steaks near Germantown and Broad, the one called “Live. Love. Laugh.”? I’m sure you do. Yeah, that’s an awesome honor. You deserved it.
But, if you continue on this overexposed path, though, and they’ll have to rename it “Live. Love. Laugh. Ugh, Enough Already.” Nobody wants to honor the guy who devolves into a cameo role in "Zoolander 3." Remember that.
Kevin, I love you and want you to succeed. We all do. For the love of Christ, though, give us a breather.