Comedian Kevin Hart returns to his hometown for a comedy first in Philly.
Northeast Philadelphia-born comedian and actor Kevin Hart is on a roll. Just look at his recent résumé of films that have soared to the top of the box office: this year’s Get Hard with Will Ferrell, 2014’s Ride Along with Ice Cube, and Think Like a Man Too, his sequel to the 2012 surprise comic smash, also released in 2014. And check out the success of his most recent stand-up comedy specials: 2009’s I’m a Grown Little Man, 2010’s Seriously Funny, 2011’s Laugh at My Pain, and 2013’s Let Me Explain, most of which were theater box office gold before ever landing on Comedy Central. “He’s a powerhouse onstage,” says Chip Chantry, one of Philly’s most successful stand-up comedians, of Hart’s frank and furiously paced routines chronicling his struggles as a father and as a single man navigating the dating circuit.
Hart’s success will be put to the test when he returns to his hometown for a first-ever event: a one-man show, on August 30, at Lincoln Financial Field. A stop on his latest stand-up tour, What Now, the show will make Hart the first comedian to ever play the Philadelphia Eagles football stadium. He could also make some more history if the show sells out, which it very well might; the multicity tour immediately sold out New York’s biggest venues, including two nights at Madison Square Garden. As for Philly, One Direction sold out the Linc. Kenny Chesney sold out the Linc. Bon Jovi sold out the Linc. Can Kevin Hart, a guy who sold shoes on Walnut Street and played pranks on his classmates at Northeast Philly’s George Washington High School, do the same?
Given how often Hart returns home, it shouldn’t be a problem. In addition to attending local movie screenings and making TV appearances, he has hosted the 4th of July Jam with fellow Philadelphians The Roots and donated 500 computers to the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center in 2013. “Hart’s probably the only comic right now who could pull off playing the Linc,” says Chantry. “It’s a huge feat, not just to sell the tickets but to captivate a crowd that size. It’s like doing Live Aid without any of the music. He’s just a guy, talking into a microphone, getting the attention of tens of thousands of people who have probably been tailgating all day. I can’t even fathom it.” Or maybe Chantry can fathom it. “That place holds like 70,000 people. To put that in perspective, that’s almost 70,000 more people than I performed for last weekend.”
Chantry does have one prediction about Hart’s big day: “It’s going to be a crazy show, as long as Chip Kelly doesn’t trade him to the Colts first. I wonder if Hart can catch—the Linc could use some wide receivers right now.” Sunday, August 30, at 8 pm at Lincoln Financial Field. 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way; ticketmaster.com