HOLLYWOOD — Days before the release of “Jumanji: The Next Level,” actor/comedian Kevin Hart sank his hands and feet into cement Dec. 10 outside the famed TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
“The first thank you, of course, goes to God,” Hart told the crowd gathered for the event. “It’s an unbelievable blessing to be able to do the things that I do and experience the things that I experienced in life in this business. I also want to thank my wife, my beautiful wife, my kids for being a support system that I didn’t realize I needed, and once I got it, I realized the importance of it and I’m beyond thankful for it.”
Hart, who was seriously injured in a near-fatal Sept. 1 car crash in Calabasas, also hailed his various business partners and friends, as well as the people with whom he has shared the screen.
“To all of the cast members that aren’t here today but that I’ve been able to be side-by-side with, thank you guys for graciously sharing that screen time, allowing me to shine,” he said. “In return, I hope that you got that same shine back. And I can’t say this enough — you don’t get here by yourself. It’s through friendship, it’s through partnership, it’s through admiration and respect, and I’ll be damned if I don’t have all those things for everybody that’s in this room. Thank you all. I truly do love you. I truly do adore this moment.”
Comedian Will Ferrell and actor Dwayne Johnson — who co-starred with Hart in the “Jumanji” films and the comedy “Central Intelligence” — also spoke at the ceremony.
“I love Kevin so much,” Ferrell said. “He is not only one of the funniest guys on the planet but he is one of the rare breeds in Hollywood. He’s just a good guy.
“That’s what truly makes him a star is what’s inside here,” Ferrell said, pointing to his chest, “the fact that he’s still very humble and very gracious for what he’s got.”
Johnson said Hart is “as advertised,” saying the same person he is on stage and screen is the person he is in real life.
“He’s kind, he’s funny, he’s humble, he’s self-deprecating, he’s cool. He works his ass off,” Johnson said. “He’s all the things you want as a friend, as a husband, a father.”
Hart was working as a shoe salesman in his native Philadelphia when he quit his job to embark on a career as a comedian following an acclaimed performance at an amateur night at a local comedy club. He went on to perform in such venues as the Boston Comedy Club, Caroline’s on Broadway, Stand Up NY and Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store.
Hart’s first performance at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal led to his movie career. His first film role was as a rookie thief who is part of a crew of thieves who do small-time jobs in the 2002 urban crime comedy “Paper Soldiers.”
Hart’s other movie credits include “Scary Movie 3,” “Scary Movie 4,” “Soul Plane,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Little Fockers,” “Death at a Funeral,” “Fool’s Gold,” “The Wedding Ringer,” “Ride Along” and “Get Hard.” He also supplied the voice of Snowball, a white rabbit, in the animated comedy “The Secret Life of Pets.”