In one word, Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons is intense. Make that two words; intensely funny! You will laugh until your stomach and cheeks hurt, from the intimate stories he shares, in vivid colour detail.
He starts with the best introduction I’ve read yet. He speaks directly to the reader through out this book, but it’s in that intro that he really gets your attention. It reads, “This introduction is mandatory. That means you have to read it. You can’t just skip to the sex scenes.”
The 99 chapters spread across 378 pages narrate the life of one of the world’s funniest men, whom Forbes named the “King of Comedy”.
Hart chronicles his journey to success in this book stating categorically, “This book is not the story of my life – it is the story of my foundation . The construction of my life is still in progress.”
I Can’t Make This Up is set between Philadelphia, where he was born in 1979, to New York where he was trying to break into the comedy scene and later California, where he was trying to build a film career.
In I Can’t Make This Up, through the humour and tears, are titles only a man who tells jokes for a living would come up with. Even through them, is a tone of clarity of thought and purpose. He refers to himself in third person, laughs about it but remains candid.
Hart’s life lessons come from a wide range of people and experiences including his absent father, religious and strict mother, often disciplining him with whatever was within her reach, school, work, passion, success, opportunities, loss, team and legacy building to mention but a few.
I Can’t Make This Up raises in tempo, as his story blossoms, but before he can become the butterfly, reading it become laborious. Perhaps like the caterpillar in the cocoon, the book lingers in the moments of despair and struggle.
But it lightens up like a gem, and you can feel Hart’s maturity and reflections become deeper and meaningful once the plateau season is over.
The only comedian ever sponsored by Nike, reaches millions through his multiple online platforms, a deliberate act on his end to maintain contact with his audience. (Something he learned when social media sites first came on the scene.)
The lessons Hart distils in the epilogue are persistence, patience, class, commitment, learning, passion-centred competitiveness, positivity and discomfort.
Hart is still hungry for more. He says he wants his children’s grandchildren to know him and his achievements. That’s four generations.
He encourages his readers to “grind hard” and “stay true” to themselves, and “all your dreams will come true – even the ones you’ve forgotten about.”
Hart crystallises his thoughts of encouragement with “There’s room in this world for all of us to stand out”. So stand out.