Why are they all over Twitter? – Rolling Stone

Illustration photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“My name is Kevin Hart and I work hard!!!” reads comedian Kevin Hart’s Twitter bio. You can’t deny the rush: Hart is consistently among the highest-paid comedians, collaborates with big names on high-profile film projects, and maintains a dizzying array of partnerships and development deals through his two separate production companies. Oh, and last year he launched a brand of tequila.

The result of all this work is that Hart is more than famous – he is ubiquitous, perhaps one of the most recognizable faces in American culture today. Which helps explain how he became a meme.

There are now almost as many tweets from people expressing their bewilderment at Kevin Hart’s reactions as there are pictures of the man himself. Still, the Kevins keep coming back. “There’s no way Kevin Hart got that many pics,” one Twitter user commented in late February. This month another tweeted that “these are like the new age stock photos.” A third commented that “there’s a picture of him doing everything?”

Anyone who complains that the concept isn’t funny can expect to be bombarded with Hart images in their replies. Verily there is no escape. Even Hart himself was at a loss to explain his virality.

“Can anyone tell me why I’m trending,” he asked on Instagram. “I’ve had endless memes sent to my fucking phone from a bunch of my stupid friends.” He shared some of his favorites in this post. In a separate tweet, he confirmed that he “has no idea what’s going on.” The internet simply decided this was his moment after finding out the vast Kevin Hart archive reveals a man for all seasons.

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How to explain this sudden burst of Kevin Hart content — or more specifically, this dig of so many portraits that have quietly amassed over the course of his massive career? The frenzy appears to have started back in December, with a picture of Hart raising his hands to the camera as if to say, “Don’t blame me” or “Take it easy.” It’s a useful answer to have in your back pocket if you’re keen on getting a little hotter online, but it also lends itself to reinterpretation, a quality inherent in any great meme. Editors Favorites

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This picture brought me to tears, I just had to post it

— cindy ✯ (@RUNYOMONEY) December 28, 2022

According to Dr. Jack Brown, body language and emotional intelligence expert, to do with our pre-existing relationship with comics like Hart. “A comedian uses melodramatic/hyperbolic body language to encourage his fans’ inclination to laugh,” he tells Rolling Stone. This can “amplify our tendency to feel what they’re feeling,” which in turn makes us feel like what they’re doing and saying is funnier.

“This has the added effect of being self-deprecating (hence endearing), building relationships, and generating empathy,” Brown says, “which will make us feel like we know Hart personally — when we really don’t.” This false one Intimacy is key to his success on stage, and it also seems to characterize our response to these photos.

As the hands-raised pose became familiar (it had certainly made the rounds in years past), a curiosity about other permutations of Hart was piqued. If adaptability is crucial to a meme’s life, then relationability is just as important: we want it to capture a feeling, a mood that’s distinctive and potentially universal. And since, as Brown points out, comedy works when the audience’s attitude mirrors that of the performer, we’re already inclined to see Hart’s attitude as a reflection of ours.

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Plus, Hart’s hard work over the past few decades has resulted in countless photoshoots, each requiring slightly different styles, poses, and facial expressions. Whatever he needed to promote at any given moment, he really was selling himself: high quality clothing and accessories, piercing looks and gestures that made him seem deep in thought. It all adds up to a carefully curated picture of who Hart really is, a major player in the Hollywood machine who’s made it to the top by telling jokes but is dead serious about business, a showbiz mogul to be. Most of the images have the polish and poise of a glossy magazine spread, presenting him as possessed of a certain wisdom. Related

While the depth of this visual treasure trove speaks to Hart’s busy schedule (one wonders if he sits down for a photographer every day), he also conveys the importance of being seen and constantly anchoring yourself in the public consciousness to keep the to maintain A-list status. It makes perfect sense that Hart is everywhere because he’s strived to be just that kind of presence. The only difference now is that his audience is spamming his image on social media, both as a continuation of that effort and as a tongue-in-cheek comment on it. This is fame as a self-reinforcing fact, detached from any context. Hart doesn’t perform here in the usual sense, but is a manifestation of his own grind.

Though Hart’s publicity team didn’t respond to a request for comment, the confused delight he’s already expressed is the perfect response, as it aligns with what everyone else is saying – we’re in the midst of a phenomenon that’s probably more entertaining , if you do. Don’t try too hard to understand. And according to Brown, the advantage to Hart is significant. “The greater variety/scenarios of these images,” he says, “increases the likelihood that everyone who sees them will share common life experiences and worldviews, and increases Hart’s liking.”

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Maybe that’s how you know you really have made it into one of the most popular comedians in the world: people only enjoy themselves when they’re reminded of you.