Despite being one of Forbes’ world’s highest-paid celebrities, comedian Kevin Hart continues to have a common touch and a heart for brothers of the craft.
This was made visibly clear after the Philadelphia comedian and the city’s big movie star — Will Smith being another — ripped down the Barclay Center, one of only five stops on the “Rock Hart: Only Headliners Allowed” comedy tour — a project he co-produced with fellow funny man Chris Rock— on Monday, July 25. Hart took some time to not only check out local amateur talent but to compensate one comic in particular for his gift.
According to Page Six, Hart was on his way to Sapphire 39, a Manhattan gentlemen’s club, when he stumbled across Julio, an unsheltered comedian who tells jokes on the street for cash, doing a set not far from the popular hangout. So impressed with his performance, Hart blessed him with $500, the price some fans would pay for one of his premium tickets.
A witness said, “He was telling jokes while Kevin was walking,” and killing so hard that the “DC League of Super-Pets” star dug in his pocket and gave him a wad of cash he had on him.
While this tip was generous, the act surely did not set the successful businessman back much, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which estimates the 43-year-old’s net worth at $450 million.
This isn’t the first time Hart has helped a homeless person. Fellow comic Tiffany Haddish found herself homeless and living out of her car early in her career. When Hart, who performed on the same comedy clubs as she did, learned about her situation he gave her $300 so she could stay in a motel. “I’m always living my best life, even in the worst conditions, but it was definitely quite helpful,” Haddish told USA Today.
Julio could become the next Steve Harvey, despite his current situation. Although his net worth is now an estimated $280 million, Harvey, too, was homeless at one point. And like Haddish, he was also living out of his car. Following his first divorce, Harvey was making just $50 a week at the beginning of his career in the early 1980s. He had to live in his car. But he told People, this was a turning point.
“Everybody has a moment when they turn back, when you say to yourself, ‘This is too much,’ I had it on several occasions,” said Harvey. “I sat down and started crying, but a voice said, ‘If you keep going, I’m going to take you places you’ve never been.’ It was like God said, ‘Don’t quit, you’re almost there.’”
Hart has been steadily building his career, especially over the last seven years. Hart has grossed on average approximately $63 million per year through touring, movies, merchandise, endorsements and more. However, the bulk of his wealth, inching him close to the half-a-billion mark, comes from his recent deal for his new media venture called HartBeat.
In May 2022, The Wall Street Journal reports, he and a private equity firm called Abry Partners raised a $100 million investment, a move that made his production company’s valuation skyrocket to $650 million. Hart, who started his career at Philly’s The Laff House and is now selling out major arenas like the Barclay and Madison Square Garden, has an 85 percent stake in the business for a $552 million payday.
As a minority investment partner, Abry Partners owns 15 percent of the brand. Hart is the chairman of the company, while Thai Randolph, the former chief operating officer of both Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat Productions, will be the new entity’s CEO.
Digging deeper, Hart is on the board of Comcast Corp, the owners of NBCUniversal. Through this relationship, Peacock, the streaming service of the brand, is now a HartBeat shareholder.
Hart owns and/or controls the majority of his brand’s intellectual property, including movies, television and other content appearing on various emerging media platforms (notwithstanding social media). These ventures, specifically Laugh Out Loud and HartBeat, exploded with online content over the pandemic and were early participants in the streaming boom connected to millions of people staying home during mandated COVID-19 lockdowns across the nation.
Outside of his slick business savvy and clear understanding of the importance of his brand, Hart gives way more than just the $500 to the underserved and needy. His Help from the Hart Foundation provides scholarships and both partners with and is “supported by forward-thinking companies, brands, nonprofits, and other notable organizations that address many of the challenges that our youth and underserved communities face on a daily basis,” according to its website.
Still, though one of the hardest-working men in Hollywood, he still likes to have fun. According to sources at the strip club afterparty, he was kicking back with his wife Eniko, Brooklyn rappers Fabolous and Maino, where they all rocked out to Young MC, who performed his 1989 hit song “Bust a Move.”
Even inside the club, the star was alleged to be über generous. A source said, he “spent over $10,000 throwing singles into the crowd and tipping the dancers,” leaving Sapphire’s after 4 a.m. the next morning.