Now streaming on Peacock is a new standup special from comedian and actor, Kevin Hart. Hart is known for his brand of urban comedy. In the tradition of Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle and others, Hart presents an urban sensibility with his outfits – – leather pants or jeans, Nike high tops, hoodies, and also with the kind of humor he represents. “Reality Check” is Hart’s time to shine.
Without using words or phrases like “woke” or “cancel culture,” Hart reminds the live audience in “Reality Check” that his words constitute jokes and cautions them about being too serious. The show is full of Hart’s take on modern culture, jokes about his family members, and pokes fun at his own ability to “read” when other people are having different experiences than he is at various events, namely basketball games and anti-racism protests.
Kevin Hart: a comic for modern times
Part of the fun of watching Hart perform is experiencing his emotions about the stories he is telling. Since the genre is comedy, he is either angry and laughing, or just laughing. Often, as is the case with “Reality Check,” Hart is incredulous about people’s behavior. He questions what so many people have normalized. The responsive laughter from the audience expresses what almost everyone watching feels. The antics of others amuse and annoy people. This is how comedy creates common bonds between comedians and audiences.
Hart has a few tropes that veterans of his shows are used to. He makes fun of his height, but in a new situation. Previously, he has mocked what it is like to hop out of a large truck as a short man. The result is comedic gold. Hart also pays homage to his father, casting a potentially bittersweet tone into the show. He warns audiences not to be sad. In the bits where he reinvents his father through impressions, audiences can see and hear the older man. Love and admiration are present in even the raunchiest renditions of his father’s behavior.
Modern times are full of people’s odd behavior, and ways of being that simply do not make sense for individuals who are used to 20th century ways. Hart’s material shows audiences that it is okay to not like other people’s weird behavior. For people who have seen Hart’s movies and standup specials, “Reality Check” is a great example of the comedian’s development. For those who are checking him out for the first time, they are in for a treat.