As one of the world's most accomplished comedians/actors, Kevin Hart continues to expand his brand with “Hartbeat Weekend.” Taking place on July 6-9 at Resorts World Las Vegas, the action-packed weekend was filled with a slew of events, including the inaugural Harbeat Poker Invitational, pool parties curated by Rock The Bells, late-night comedy sets, and more,
On top of everything, Hart celebrated his birthday all weekend with a birthday bash featuring performances by J.Cole, Jack Harlow, Ludacris, Kaskade, PartyNextDoor, RL Grime, and T.I., who will also make his televised debut as a stand-up comedian in the Comic View reboot. Hart is also executive producing the reboot with Mike Epps, who is the host of new of the show.
One of the key components of the weekend was Hart spotlighting several podcasts on his network, Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud Radio on Sirius XM. Audiences joined the fun as each show was recorded live throughout the weekend.
Hart appeared with his crew The Plastic Cup Boyz, comprised of Joey Wells, Will “Spank” Horton, John Clausell, Ron Everline, Harry Ratchford, and Na’im Lynn for a taping of their podcast, Straight From the Hart. The group has toured all over the world together and they convey an organic chemistry that shines through even when they’re roasting each other. During the taping, Hart shared that it was the vision of his network to give the platform to other comedians who are committed to the art of comedy.
“I created this platform to give opportunities to comedians whose work I admire,” Hart said. “The entire weekend is to show the world that standup comedy is alive and well.”
Legendary comedian Earthquake, host of Quake's House, spoke about partnering with Hart and the importance of comedians in establishing platforms in media.
“I was always in the media. So to be embraced has been great because that's how I got into the game,” Earthquake told BET.com. “I learned from Steve Harvey that all media is important for a comic. So if it's getting up early in the morning or the afternoon drive, being on the radio is a great way to entertain people who are on their way or coming from work. I've always been in the media. So to get a bigger foothold in it, it's a blast.
“When Kev came up with his LOL channel on Sirius, he said he wanted me to have the flagship show,” Earthquake continued. “I wanted to do a radio show where I could empower other comedians by sharing my platform because I feel comedy is the number one genre. In the Black community, comedians are right below our pastors. We give out the real deal. You know pastors are frustrated comedians that love the Lord [Laughs].”
Emmy-nominated writer Diallo Riddle, the co-creator of Southside and Sherman’s Showcase, premiered his new podcast One Song with music producer/DJ Blake “Luxxury” Robin. The show is a music nerd's dream as they go on deep dives into the music of our favorite artists.
Riddle spoke about how he and Robin formed their partnership while on lockdown during the pandemic and how their appreciation of popular and obscure music turned into a podcast.
“So we met when the pandemic hit and Blake was posting these videos,” Riddle said. “I caught him on Instagram, but the videos were even bigger hits on Tik Tok. I was like, “This guy's awesome and he's got an incredible knowledge of music.” I DM’ed him and we started talking.”
“When I first talked to Kevin Hart about the show idea, he was like, “Oh, man, I love it. I love the fact that you and Blake come from very different backgrounds but music brings y'all together.” And we widen the net, if you will, because we want our circles to include everybody because everybody likes some music,” Riddle continued.
“There’s a large amount of overlap with the music that we like and listen to,” Robin said. “I may know something that he doesn't know and vice versa but collectively, we can kind of cover a lot of ground.”
Punkie Johnson, a Saturday Night Live cast member, and Dicey, her BFF and fellow comedian, are co-hosts of Love Thang, a cutting-edge podcast about relationships. Johnson explained that she is uniquely qualified to give her expert opinion on relationships because of her experiences.
“I should not have gotten married and I learned that the hard way,” Johnson said. “I should have done a whole bunch of therapy first. I didn't know who I married and just found out that I was doing all of that stuff wrong [Laughs]. I think I could tell people a little bit about what not to do. So I think I'm in a position to give some fantastic, unprofessional, unsolicited advice.”
Dicey shared how the podcast came to fruition and how she assisted Punkie in developing the idea.
“When they approached Punkie to do a podcast on Kevin Hart's network, she sent me a paragraph because I do a lot of her professional translations or whatever. So she said, “I want it to be about relationships and make it make sense.” Then I put together a deck and we kind of fleshed it out together and came up with some really cool segments,” Dicey recalled. “It had to be different because Punkie’s on SNL so we had to figure out a way to make it not topical.”
Johnson explained how connecting with Hart and becoming a part of the LOL network family is tailor-made for her vision for content creation.
“It feels good to be in the care of somebody like him [Kevin Hart]. It feels good because he’s not trying to impose his vision but he’s trying to take our vision and turn it into something greater by using his platform to make sure that we elevate and succeed,” Johnson explained. “They haven't told us no for anything. They figure out how to get things done. They want us to be successful. We try to pay it forward and meet them halfway.”
Concluding the epic weekend was where it began for Hart: on the stand-up stage. In front of a capacity crowd at the 5,000-seat Resorts World Theatre, he performed the 199th and final show of his Reality Check tour. Hosted by Wells with Horton and Lynn warming up the crowd as opening acts, Hart took the stage and was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation.
Without question, Hart was in the rare form as reeled off hilarious bits about his family life, growing older, his mishaps as an “activist”, the danger of traveling with cannabis in your luggage, and much more. Hart proved that when it comes to stand-up comedy, he remains one of the best in the business as the audience approved with non-stop laughter.
At the end of his set, Hart told the crowd that Hartbeat Weekend was a celebration of his birthday and the culmination of his meteoric rise from a struggling comic to an A-list celebrity with several blockbuster films to his credit. Filled with emotion, he reflected on his journey and how far he’s come from the streets of North Philly.
“This weekend was a celebration of love, life, and laughter,” Hart said. “This is my birthday weekend and the last stop on my comedy tour. I’m so glad and grateful to share this time with all of you.”