Actor and stand-up comedian Kevin Hart went on an expletive-filled rant against “cancel culture” during a new interview with the British Sunday Times, saying he‘s not the comic he used to be because of his fear of backlash over his jokes.
Mr. Hart, whose latest Netflix special was titled “Zero F—-s Given,” admitted that he isn’t as unfiltered now as when he broke out on the stand-up scene in the late 1990s.
“You’re thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the ass. I can’t be the comic today that I was when I got into this,” he said.
“It’s not necessarily about cancel culture,” he continued. “It’s backlash. It’s about the intent behind what you say — there’s an assumption it’s always bad and, somehow, we forgot comedians are going for the laugh. You’re not saying something to make people angry. That’s not why I’m on stage. I’m trying to make you laugh and if I did not make you laugh I failed. That’s my consequence.”
Despite admitting that backlash had shaped his comedic material over time, Mr. Hart said he isn’t fazed by “cancel culture” specifically.
“I mean, I personally don’t give a s—- about it,” he said. “If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached. But when you just talk about … nonsense? When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f—- up! What are you talking about?”
“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time?” he continued. “I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from f—-ing up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t f—-ed up or done some dumb s—-.
“I’ve been canceled, what, three or four times? Never bothered. If you allow it to have an effect on you, it will,” he added. “Personally? That’s not how I operate. I understand people are human. Everyone can change. It’s like jail. People get locked up so they can be taught a lesson. When they get out, they are supposed to be better. But if they come out and people go, ‘I’m not giving you a job because you were in jail’ — then what the f—- did I go to jail for? That was my punishment — how do you not give those people a shot? They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake? Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about? And who are you to make that decision?”
Mr. Hart came under fire in 2018 over resurfaced tweets that showed him repeatedly using a homophobic slur, which he apologized for previously. He later apologized again and resigned from hosting the Oscars over the controversy.