Kevin Hart Gets Real About His Past Substance Abuse & It’s No Joke (Video)

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Kevin Hart is one of the most recognized comedians and actors on the planet. Much of that success has come from Hart’s ability to be self-deprecating and poke fun at traits within himself, physical and otherwise. Appearing on The Breakfast Club, Kevin made the hosts laugh as he discussed his life as it pertains to a new audio book, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons. However, between the humorous anecdotes was deep sincerity regarding some of the biggest mistakes (and subsequent lessons) within Hart’s time as a public figure. He addressed his 2013 DUI arrest and confirmed incidents where he crossed a line regarding domestic abuse.

“Right now, we’re talkin’ about the fun stuff [that’s in my book]: like when I was about to [consider a career in stripping] or me comin’ up with the name Lil Kev The Bastard’ when I was getting into comedy, or my dad stealing the dog,” Hart says, as the discussion shifts around the 16:20 mark. “But then there’s some real, real deep stuff in there [too].”

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Kevin then opens up about his drinking. “There was a point in time where I had to check myself and say, ‘Are you an alcoholic? Are you becoming an alcoholic?'” He equates his personal growth to “perfecting [his] imperfections.” Continuing, he admits, “I’ve corrected a lot of my wrongs, and I’m proud of myself for it. ‘Cause at the end of the day, you’re your own competition. You’re competing to be the best version of you that you possibly can.”

Asked if ever Hart feels being honest about his mistakes can hurt his public image and brand partnerships, he responds, “I’m not in this position if I don’t go through the B.S. that I’m talking about there. So me talking about the DUI or the drinking and the driving, I’m putting those stories in there because people don’t understand the real consequences behind it. If I were to get into an accident, if it were to be tragic, how many people fall down because of my quick mistake? From the wife and the kids [to] within my company — the people that work for me to the brands that have put on the table that put so much behind what it is I’m saying and doing. Yo, everything collapses off a bad judgement. I said, ‘Why am I living to make an easy wrong? Just go ahead and get rid of that. Let’s ex that [trait] out.'”

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Hart says that he can fight, and noticed himself getting into a fighter’s stance when arguing with ex-wife Torrei Hart. While in that boxing stance, he says he got a wake-up call. “At what level of anger have I got that I’m here?” Hart admits he put down his pride and took ownership of just how far over the line he had become. “You justify it however you want to. When I stopped justifying it, that’s when I got smarter. As I got smarter, the business got better. As the business got better, the brand got bigger. It all goes together.”

While on the show, Hart had a lesson of sorts for fellow comedian and TV host Bill Maher. Hart condemns Maher’s use of the term “house-ni**a” as “wrong.” “I don’t think Bill Maher is a racist, but that’s a bad judgement,” Hart clarifies near the 25:00 mark. “It’s inappropriate and it’s not right.”

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Hart took the opportunity to discuss his views on comedic license. “You can play the freedom of speech thing all you want,” Hart states. “We can play the ‘we’re comedians, it’s a joke’ thing all we want. Ultimately, we know what we’re saying and you know the backlash that can come from it.”

Maher, whose previous show was Politically Incorrect, is certainly no stranger to said backlash — having offended several other communities with inappropriate comments in the past. In discussing Maher, Hart also acknowledges some of his own politically incorrect transgressions. “There was a point in my time, in standup, when I was using slander to talk about homophobia… and, at that point in time, nobody would say anything… Today, people are speaking up to the point where they take those words as serious as we take racial slurs,” he explains. “Ultimately, I can’t expect you to respect me if I’m saying things that don’t respect you.”

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Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons audio book releases today (June 6).

Additional Reporting by Bandini.