Kevin Hart has said in past interviews that he won’t be doing any material related to President Donald Trump in his standup act to avoid alienating his audience, but to fellow comedian Kathy Griffin, that’s a little more than a cop-out “because he’s a black man.”
Griffin, who last year controversially posed with a mock severed head of Trump, addressed Philly native Hart’s lack of Trump material in an interview with USA Today this week. She began a nationwide tour on Thursday that she said is heavy on Trump jokes.
“Look, if you want to not hear about Trump at all, go see Kevin Hart. He doesn’t even mention Trump,” Griffin said. “I, personally, think that’s a p- move, because he’s a black man. But I guess he’s selling more tickets than I ever will.”
Griffin also addressed her photo with the Trump’s faux severed head, calling it “literally harmless.” The photo last year launched a Secret Service investigation and caused an uproar in the media, which Griffin said created a “mob mentality” that “broke” her and made her to fear for her career. Griffin was not charged with a crime as a result of the photo, and apologized for it as “too disturbing.”
“Every day that passes, more people realize not only was my photo literally harmless, but completely legal,” Griffin told USA Today this week. “The nice thing is that, after a year, several folks who were afraid to support me are [doing so] now, and that obviously signifies a real sea change.”
Hart has long been considered an apolitical comedian, and has not focused on political material in previous specials. In an interview with Variety last year, Hart said that he doesn’t “want to draw attention” to a topic he doesn’t have “nice things to say about,” which is why he avoids politics onstage.
“When you jump into that political realm, you’re alienating some of your audience,” he told Variety. “The world today, it’s really not a laughing matter. It’s serious.”
Hart also spoke on his lack of Trump material in October last year, telling reporter Nicholas Ballasy that he won’t “speak about a guy I have nothing good to say about.” As far as not addressing politics generally, Hart said that many of the “problems in our world today” are not “being addressed properly,” she he would rather “not speak on it at all.”
Hart did get slightly political on Twitter following Trump’s win in 2016, telling followers that “the negative can’t be changed.” Previously, Hart congratulated Trump in his on his presidential run in 2015, saying in a radio interview on K104’s Woodman in the Morning Show that he applauded the then-candidate for “following a dream.” Trump later called Hart’s comments “so nice” on Twitter.
Outside of elections, Hart has also gotten involved in Meek Mill’s push for criminal justice reform, telling reporters after a visit with the then-jailed rapper earlier this year that he hopes Mill’s case can help advance change in the justice system.
“Sometimes these bad things have to happen for good things to come out of it,” he said. “The good that can come out of this is really correcting the system.”
Hart’s apolitical approach to his comedy has been successful, at least financially. In 2016, Forbes named Hart the highest-paid comedian in the business at $87.5 million earned for the year. His “What Now?” tour, which launched in 2015, is considered the highest-grossing comedy tour of all time. Most recently, Jerry Seinfeld topped Forbes’ list with $69 million.
Griffin, meanwhile, will bring her current tour to Philadelphia’s Merriam Theatre on Oct. 6. The comedian is currently facing backlash online for her statement about Hart this week, with some Twitter users calling the incident racist:
Surprised @kathygriffin didn’t call @KevinHart4real an Uncle Tom. White feminist responds to patriarchy by exercising her privilege and racism to marginalize a brother for going off the plantation. Never forget Kathy’s ancestors made it illegal to educate Kevin’s ancestors.
— Chimpy McFister (@ChimpyMcFist) June 14, 2018
Kevinhart4real would have only been a **** if he let a lunatic liberal white woman order him to say what she wants …
— The Black Independent (@DLRondeau1) June 14, 2018
Kathy Griffin called Kevin Hart a pu^^y because he is a black man who won't call out Trump
Really bitch? pic.twitter.com/TUHs1cgNJv
— ToyaGotSarcasticAgain (@ToyaDee78) June 14, 2018
@kathygriffin let's be clear on one thing slavery ended a long time ago. So don't make the mistake and think your manly looking behind can call Kevin Hart out like he's a slave on your plantation. Trump hate ruined your career. Are you looking to end up on the Z-list now racist?
— AnniceMichelle📃 (@annicemichelle) June 13, 2018
What a racist pos! So if you're a black man, you better attack Trump or you're a pussy?! A white liberal woman defining what it means to be a real black man & the black community hasn't said a word about this? Guess it's ok 2 tap dance for white liberals
— Oak-Town ☢Unfiltered™ (@hrtablaze) June 14, 2018
First you hate on the president and now you come out as a racist to my boy Kevin Hart…. Kevin is a comedian, not an activist. He has no need to report on the great things transpiring in our community right now, like the lowest unemployment rate in history. Nobody likes you.
— pete barnes (@PeteBarnes40) June 14, 2018
Kathy Griffin called comedian Kevin Hart a “pussy” for not attacking President Trump, despite being a black man.
So, a white woman is telling a black man how he should think, what he should say, who he should support, & NOBODY on the Left is screaming racism?
— Educating Liberals (@Education4Libs) June 14, 2018
Anti-Trump comedian Kathy Griffin branded fellow comic Kevin Hart a “p—-” for not attacking President Donald Trump during his shows despite being “a black man.” I guess she believes that white people should tell black people how to think and how to vote.
— Howard Marsh (@HowardMarsh12) June 14, 2018
The way @kathygriffin emasculated Kevin Hart is a big insult to blk men. KH cares about his career no one needs to bring politics in everything. If KG cared about her career she would’ve never took that disgusting photo. Don’t try to drag someone down because your career failed.
— PAMMYCAKEFACE (@PAMMYCAKEFACE) June 14, 2018
Nope. Kevin Hart hasn't told ONE political joke in his career. Not his lane. Much like telling Black men what to do isn't Kathy Griffin's. https://t.co/LSOp2CcRoz
— Ra'sclat Al Ghul (@Felonious_munk) June 14, 2018