I Cant Make This Up - Life Lessons
Kevin Hart


Nina Calhoun


According to Schlichenmeyer (2017), in his book I Can’t Make This Up, comedian Kevin Hart is simply that, a comedian. He maintains his humorous personality and approach to life in the face of every seemingly tough and emotional chapter of the book, determined to convey a message so profound in a manner that’s not just palatable but also light enough to for the audience to have fun reading. The book also presents Kevin’s work ethic and his determination to always be his best just in case an opportunity comes calling. These sentiments are echoed in the nature of Kevin’s birth, a mistake that made the parents go “oops.” While this may have been the beginning of disaster for any other toddler, Kevin views it as a lesson for all women not to trust men who have no intention of using birth control. Though neither of his parents denied his presence was a burden, Kevin brings out another perspective, one of perseverance.

Throughout his struggles with school, with family, with finances, and with his career, Kevin presents a picture of continual perseverance in the face of adversity. He credits his mom as the central figure that taught him how to persevere through difficult situations. The Kirkus review (2017) states, “He assumed his mother’s work ethic and diligence, and when he found stand-up comedy, it consumed him.”  This review presents a never relenting personality that sought out the best possible means of making the most of talent and relationships, with incredible ability to maintain poise in distress and learn from mistakes made. In his words, "I refuse to relax. I refuse to get comfortable," (Jensen, 2017). He defines his work ethic and structure, an embodiment of his mom. This in-depth revelation of his life is what makes his readers relate to his material (Hart, 2018).

This behind-the-curtain reveal of his life and struggles allowed Kevin to open up and present the vivid details on a number of topics he often doesn’t talk about in his comedic sets. These struggles include his alcoholic and drug-addicted dad (Russian, 2017), whose idea of gifts were items, or dogs, he’d acquired through petty crime. In addition, the review recounts to Mr. Witherspoon’s lackluster parenting when he drops his young son at a wrong venue for summer camp and leaves him there without any inquiry or follow up. At another point, he entrusts the 8-year-old Hart with the task of piloting a fishing boat and makes no effort to restrain his speed, leading to a crash that he cunningly flees while promising to make restitution. From the reviewer’s point of view, all this drama and hardship is aimed at teaching life lessons, creating humor about hardships, and making the readers understand that no hurdle is insurmountable.

In addition to his dad’s errors, Kevin opens up about his own shortcomings as well and is clear that he has not always been in “practice of what he is now preaching” (Critchell, 2017).  Critchell’s review recounts Kevin’s irresponsible behavior as a young adult when he lied to his mom that he had kept his word on reading the bible. It recalls his reckless driving and reckless spending that ruined his mother-in-law’s credit, and recounts his temperament issues that lead to a violent relationship with Torrei. However, according to this review, Kevin found humor in the way he did life and not the way he saw life, and managed to make the worst moments of his life the best jokes he could share with the world. His rags to riches story had found its footing in his ability to remain persistent and keep learning, and that the mistakes and challenges he faced were designed to make him stronger, not to destroy him (CBS News, 2017).

In his accounts of his relationship with Torrei, Kevin speaks with a hint of remorse when in hindsight he discovers that he had all the tools to take control of the situation but did not recognize it at the time. His resolve to make attempts to mend the damage presents a psychological change at the exact time he chooses a physical change for the better. While the earlier sections of his book recount his dad’s alcohol and drug abuse incidents, Kevin finds himself in the same situation and experiences the repercussions. In his case, alcohol abuse made him “piss wherever he thought the bathroom should be” (Vulpo, 2017). This unfettered behavior had cost him a great deal in the past and threatened the same for the present. Consequently, his time to change for the better had to be now.

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