April 09, 2019
The recent release of Kevin Hart's Netflix special has helped shed some light on the Philly-born comedian's mindset towards last year's Oscar's controversy.
Hart's critics have taken issue with what they felt was a lukewarm apology for past homophobic tweets, as well as his decision to cut the conversation short after he felt he had done everything he could to make amends.
From Hart's perspective, even in acknowledging his need to evolve, the whole issue was dragged out unnecessarily to feed a societal mindset that's doing more damage than good. It's a subject John Oliver explored recently on "Last Week Tonight," examining when and where public shaming has a place.
On Tuesday, Hart appeared on "The Joe Rogan Experience" to discuss a wide range of topics, from privacy and technology to comedy and his process for generating new material.
What bothers him most is the bias people have toward exposing negativity rather than focusing on helpful interventions.
"I don't like that negativity is the 'want'," Hart said. "The thing that's popular is the failure, the f***-up, the fight that I can catch, the hateful moment that I can catch and post. The bad is being highlighted and celebrated."
Hart questioned the social utility of filming such moments for public consumption rather than trying to help — at least whenever it would be safe to do so. While that impulse is hard for him to understand, Rogan pointed out that very few people share Hart's level of fame. Others see these moments, for better or for worse, as opportunities to seize credibility and a platform.
For Hart, that search for dirt and celebrity intrigue has become a source of paranoia. He actually once believed that he was secretly being filmed using a bathroom stall at a local restaurant.
When it comes to comedy, Hart would like to see the art stay vibrant and experimental instead of drowning in the controversies of individual comedians.
“I think it’s easier to just say, ‘I’m not a fan. That comedy isn’t for me,’” Hart said. “'You know what, I don’t like the taste of this particular comedian, so I’m not going to support or watch that comedian. I’m going to find another comedian that’s more to my liking. I’m going to go and just turn my head.’ I want us to get back to understand that you just don’t have to support it. That’s it.”
For anyone who has been on the fence about how to approach Hart post-Oscar's situation, the conversation with Rogan is probably the most honest and complete reassurance you're going to to get, whether you choose to support him or not.
He added: “I don’t understand why there’s a push to destroy when you just don’t have to support or like.”