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Kevin Hart, Essence Music Festival 2012: Comedian Gets Big Laughs, Despite Showing Up Late

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Kevin Hart was late to the Essence Music Festival stage in New Orleans Saturday night (July 7), and no one in the audience seemed to care in the least. As the lone comedian playing the festival’s main stage this weekend, Hart had to have known that it was imperative that he come with his best. There were strict orders for the crowd not to text, tweet or film during his set, and as soon as he began, the reason was clear. Hart was running through an hour of new material.

The North Philadelphia native fittingly walked out to Meek Mill‘s “I’ma Boss,” and thousands of attendees hollered in anticipation. In a white Louis Vuitton tee and monogrammed belt, Hart paced the stage telling stories of his incompetent staff, including the bodyguard who told him to “play dead” when the two were confronted with a physical threat at a nightclub. He claims to have responded, “This your last day.”

He spoke on his affinity to lie habitually about the smallest indiscretions — from being late for work to cheating on his neurotic girlfriend. He imitated his girlfriend’s reaction to his unfaithfulness and the arena erupted in laughter.

“Any woman who gets in a three-point stance to argue is a fucking psychopath,” he said. “Where are you going?”

Hart doesn’t just tell jokes: He constructs entire stories building on a single idea, and five minutes into his set, festival attendees forgot all about his tardiness and began making plans to see him on tour.

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