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Kevin Hart

  • Alliant Energy Center 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way Madison, WI, 53713 United States (map)

To understand Kevin Hart's place in the comedy firmament, one has to consider the record-breaking year the Philadelphia-born had in 2015. It's easy enough to sum up with this single, large factoid: On his What Now? tour, he became the first stand-up to headline an NFL stadium for a sold-out crowd. What's perhaps even more staggering and impressive to reconcile about his expansive success is how versatile he still remains, equally comfortable playing the stone-faced straight man to Conan O'Brien on absurdist remote pieces as he is making Saturday Night Live cast members crack. It's remarkable how little Hart has compromised or self-censored in his ascent. If anything, it's likely due to his career-long explorations of how life, celebrity, and Kevin Hart is ridiculous. The BET parody reality show Real Husbands Of Hollywood, which ended in 2016, is another example of this, a show that's shot through with Hart and loads of other comedians and celebrities playing exaggerated versions of themselves as they try—and fail—to climb Hollywood's many social ladders. Hart's latest album, 2017's What Now? (with material culled from the tour of the same name), is full of his characteristic rapid-fire delivery, but what's starting to bleed into his material are ruminations on maturity. Yes, his jokes are about his family, kids, and new life as a movie star, but are more about deflating himself over these milestones than puffing his chest out. —David Wolinsky