I Cant Make This Up - Life Lessons
Kevin Hart
Contributed by Roseanne Meinecke

After creating the persona of an easygoing individual with very little to take seriously and the appearance of having made his success overnight, Kevin Hart has become one of the most successful and lovable comedians, not just in America but globally. In his comedic performance as well as movie scenes, Kevin often plays the role of the goofball, the individual with seemingly little to offer with regard to wisdom. However, he has proven through his roles as well as his stand-up sets that his words have layers of wisdom that comes from experience and that he only has a different means of conveying this to his audience that may not be considered traditional. Perhaps one of his most outstanding achievements was to gain a contract with Nike and become a sponsored comedian for a company that mainly contracts athletes as endorsers. This shift in paradigm can only attest to his genius, captured in his ability to make the world his playground and success his only goal.

In the book, I Can’t Make This Up, the Kevin Hart creates a clear image of his life, beginning with his early childhood all the way to his teenage years and into his adult life. He sheds some light on his relationships and his pursuit of a career that would not simply suit his talent but avail to him the opportunity to take every step he deemed necessary to make a positive impact on society. For Kevin, it would seem that his childhood struggles and the lessons of persistence and independence that he got from his mother made him the success-hungry individual that he has become. From his dad, on the other hand, he saw that one could have boundless flaws but could still manage to simply turn situations into funny tales ton later laugh about. It is these tales that he ends up sharing with the world to make people laugh. It is these hardships that push him to success, and it is that motherly discipline that made him as structure and organized as he is. Despite coming far in life, Kevin seems to be in regret about some of the “hormonal” choices he had made in his youth and takes it upon himself to make sure he repairs the damage he has done.

The Historical and Current Context of the Book

It goes without saying that the author, Kevin Hart, has the ability to express his opinions on matters as he sees fit through his comedic sets and remarks. However, becoming a public figure often exposes celebrities to unreasonable “superhuman” expectations. In the book, Kevin mentions tabloids and social media and the power they have not only to make him successful but to also spread rumors and make his life's work seem inconsequential. This book is not only a revelation of how much he had to sacrifice and endure to get to where he is, but also of how much his parents choices impacted him along with the mistakes he made and his efforts to fix them. It presents his idea of parenting as well as co-parenting and the importance of learning, even for adults, in improving oneself and one’s surroundings.

Like Kevin's other creative works, this book is meant for an audience seeking a laugh. His personality and tone throughout are infused with humor, even when making serious claims on how to become successful. For him, this book is “not the story of [his] life, it’s the foundation,” hinting at the possibility of more lengthy books to follow. He further claims he is “a self-centered person” as indicating there is more to the story to come. This is not only an expression of humor, it also sets the stage for his audience to anticipate his next move, his next book, or perhaps a hilarious movie that portrays life as an interesting and fun journey.

Born to a drug addict dad for whom structure wasn’t a priority and stolen gifts for the family, wrapped in garbage bags was considered acceptable, Kevin was the result of a broken promise, “I’ll pull out.” Despite having a strict mother who used pans, belts, and even toys for disciplinary purposes, Kevin knew that his arrival cost his family a lifestyle they could not prepare for. After a short attempt to keep their family together, an argument over a hammer got in the way of his parent’s relationship and led to the anticipated departure of his dad. Kevin was left behind with, his elder brother and his mom. With her as the watchful head of the household, Kevin had no leeway to get into drug dealing like his older brother or even petty crime like his dad. Eventually, his older brother had to choose between military or jail time, leaving only Kevin and his mom. Soon after, the house rules got tighter and schedules became packed.

Luckily for our author, his life with his dad had taught him valuable lessons that made him the character he is and these lessons form the core of his message to his readers and audiences alike. The first lesson being that things in life aren’t permanent and can change in an instant. The second lesson is that shrugging one’s shoulders and moving on is the best way to deal with these changes. As a teenager, Kevin makes it his mission to avoid confrontation and discovers a way to compensate for his physical and financial inadequacies through mental wit and charm. For the author, Miss Davis, one of his school teachers, was his most valuable audience in the development of said charm and he made efforts to ensure his school reports from her never earned him some “whooping” at home. After a career in sales at a Nike store, a path he pursued after leaving college, he decides to go into comedy encouraged by friends who call out his hilarity, a choice he would soon regret and later cherish.

As a budding comedian, he starts to develop relationships with his peers. His friendship with Keith Robinson is perhaps the most important of all for his comedic career. Like any human, he at one point hits the worst point of his life when his career takes a nose dive and he loses his focus and outlook on life. But with the support of Keith, he recoups from the slump and makes it a mission to always be the comedian he had set out to initially be and let the pieces of his life fall into place. As a result, his career takes a turn for the best, but his first marriage suffers from all the strain of his absence and his infidelity, as well as from verbal disagreements. In this situation, his solution of the shoulder shrug does not work. The situation has to be made better and all parties, especially his children, have to be properly protected. Most importantly, his part in the mess has to be corrected. 

Throughout the book, Kevin takes his readers through his journey sparing little detail of the vivid nature of his struggles with relationships, sex, gambling, alcohol, and virtual reality games. But from the onset of this humorous journey he makes it very clear that life is made of chapters, "so why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?"

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