In Kevin Hart's world, comedy reigns supreme. The actor and funnyman always delivers his brand of funny on the big screen. After busting guts in "Soul Plane," an urban adaptation of the 1970's cult classic "Airplane," Hart has fast become a staple in the world of comedy. This month, the Philadelphia native costars in "Not Easily Broken" as Tree, the overly sensitive buddy of Dave Johnson (Morris Chestnut) who has a penchant for crocodile tears. Hart kicked it with ESSENCE.com about catering to his wife's every need, the success of his seven-year marriage, and the perils of dating women who lack oral hygiene and don't have a command of the English language.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats on the film. In "Not Easily Broken" you play Morris Chestnut's best friend, who happens to be very in tune with his feminine side. How did it feel to play the vulnerable guy?
KEVIN HART: I've done so much wrong that now I'm that finally doing right I'm afraid to do wrong. The funny thing is, I'm very much like my character. I'm definitely the "yes" man. I tell my wife all the time, "No, honey, whatever you need." I believe that what she says needs to be done or else I'm going to be put through the ringer. Frankly, I have no more battle left, so again, I'm definitely the "yes" man. (Laughs.)
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) You're a smart man. As a husband and father of two, what is your secret to a successful marriage?
HART: You know what? This is going to sound crazy, but I think ignorance is the key to our success. The reason I say that is because me and my wife are oblivious to the time and effort we put into making our marriage work. When couples start paying attention to how many years they've been together, then they lose sight of the future, because they are too busy paying attention to the past. If you've accomplished something and you make a big deal about it, then you're acting like it's not supposed to be that way. When people say to me and my wife, "Wow, you've been together for 11 years-that's amazing!" we just laugh and don't say anything, because in our eyes it's not supposed to be any other way. Any problem can be solved and couples need to learn to work through theirs. Besides, my wife isn't leaving me because I'm a sex symbol! That's right; I'm going to start my own rumor-Kevin Hart is a sexy symbol! (Laughs.)
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs) That's a good rumor. What's a red flag that you look out for when it comes to women?
HART: I can't stand a female that doesn't know how to talk and can't enunciate [properly]. I was dealing with this woman and she wasn't even speaking slang. It was the most disgusting thing. It's good to be where you're from, but if the news cameras are on you and I'm standing next to you and they ask you what happened and you start saying, "I done seen dem...", well, it's embarrassing because it makes us look like we're on the same level. And bad breath-that's a deal breaker for me; it makes me want to throw up -it's the pits! Now, I'll deal with my breath because I'm a man (laughs), which is my excuse for everything. And ladies, if you don't know if your breath is stank, the test is to lick the back of your hand, let it dry and then smell it, and trust me, you'll have your answer (laughs).
ESSENCE.COM: What is the biggest misconception folks have about you?
HART: That's a difficult question, because so far I think I've rubbed everyone the right way because I treat everyone the way I'd like to be treated. The only thing that people could say is that I'm small-I'm a good 5 feet 5 inches, but okay, that depends on what time of the day you're looking at me. During the daytime I'm short, but at night I'm another inch or two; it just depends.
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) We love it! Blame it on the lighting. How has your success changed you?
HART: I don't know if success has changed me. I'm 29, and after I had my second child, I looked at my life with my wife and kids and we are blessed and thankful. It's truly a comfortable space we live in. I think I've handled my success very well, and I don't think about it or allow it to take over my life. I stay grounded thanks to my angel-my mom, who died two years ago. At the end of the day, I hope that I'll be respected as a great comedian because that's my first love and my drug. In the world of comedy, people always mention Richard Pryor and Robin Harris as great comedians. I want to be one of the greats that people mention.