A heap of Hart knowledge.
Kevin Hart is widely known as an actor, comedian, rapper and producer, but throughout his life, he's also been a nationally competitive swimmer, a stripper-in-training and an aspiring NBA player. And no, that last one isn't a joke—Kevin even attended the same basketball camp as Kobe Bryant when the two were teenagers!
We learned all of this and more about the 41-year-old Philadelphia native on the latest episode of 10 Things You Don't Know, including the fact that an up-and-coming Kevin was once asked by a powerful comedy club booker if he did "anything else."
"Like, do I have another occupation," Kevin recalled in an interview. "And he looked me in the eyes and said, 'Well you should think about doing something else because this isn't for you.'"
Lucky for Kevin's fans, he didn't listen to the industry insider's advice, and today, he's one of the most successful comedians in the world.
Keep scrolling to find out even more about Kevin Hart!
1. Height Humor
Kevin is 5'4'' and proud! The Celebrity Game Face host is definitely not afraid to poke fun at himself, and in 2011, he even went as far as making his own iPhone app to do so.
"Little Jumpman" was described as a "vertically challenged game of skill [that] will make you laugh and cry with Kevin as he reaches for the sky."
Talk about a good sport!
2. Bugging Out
Kevin is deathly afraid of insects—even harmless bugs like butterflies and grasshoppers are off limits for the comedian—and filming Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in Hawaii forced him to constantly face his fears as there were bugs everywhere.
His co-star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson certainly didn't help alleviate his anxiety, and one time, he even threw a fake poisonous spider at Kevin!
"It was a good day," The Rock joked.
3. Stage Name Saga
Back when he began working the comedy circuit in Philadelphia, Kevin used to go by the stage name "Lil' Kev the Bastard." (He initially considered "Lil' Kev the Nugget.")
He ended up dropping the nickname at the recommendation of Keith Robinson, a comedy vet who took on the role of a mentor for Kevin.
Robinson also advised him to stop trying to imitate comedians like J. B. Smoove and Chris Tucker, and instead, just be himself.
"The material that's going to take you farther is the material that's drawn from you, that you're going to struggle with," Robinson said. "But it's better to struggle with your stuff than do the stuff everybody's doing."
4. Hoop Dreams
Kevin wanted to be an NBA player growing up, and while pursuing his dream, he wound up attending the same basketball camp as Kobe Bryant.
Though he didn't exactly make the impression that the Lakers legend did—at one point, Kobe used only his left hand to dominate the entire camp—Kevin technically did go on to play in the NBA by making a number of appearances at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Kevin even took home the MVP award four straight years in a row!
5. Dancing Days
Kevin almost became a stripper!
Apparently in need of cash for community college, a girl Kevin was dating suggested that he start dancing. He went as far as coming up with a routine—set to Ginuwine's "Pony," of course—and spending his last few dollars on a bow tie, G-string and baby oil.
However, the whole thing fell apart when Kevin's brother caught him practicing in his room, and he didn't want to come up with an excuse to justify what he was doing.
6. Avoided Advice
Early in his career, Kevin performed for talent booker and manager Lucian Hold, and it definitely didn't go as Kevin had hoped it would.
"I go do my audition. I'm killing it. The crowd's going crazy," Kevan recalled. "I get done, Lucian takes me in the back. He said, 'Do you do anything else?' Like, do I have another occupation. And he looked me in the eyes and said, 'Well you should think about doing something else because this isn't for you."
Oh how wrong he was!