The Business of Being Kevin Hart: First Lesson, Always Build the Brand

Kevin Hart isn’t a fan of corporate speak. For Mr. Hart, one of the country’s most successful comedians, saying whatever he wants, however he wants, is part of the deal. A lack of filter can be tricky, though, as the empire he’s building increasingly brings him into boardrooms, where he’s negotiating screen projects, books, podcasts, and extending into brand endorsements around fitness, finance and more.

“It’s never a goal of mine to put me or any of us in a bad position through me and my mouth,” Mr. Hart says in a recent interview. “The actor and entertainer has a job to do, and that job sometimes comes with engaging, marketing or just pushing the needle a little bit.”

That philosophy can come with some risks (as it did in 2018 with the Oscars when he withdrew as host after old antigay jokes resurfaced). Yet today the actor is one of the most successful examples of an increasingly common Hollywood…

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