Comedian and movie star Kevin Hart was in Birmingham last night to record a TV show for Comedy Central, looking for the next big star to break out of Alabama.
He produced a show on the main stage at Comedy Club Stardome in Hoover that featured Eunice Elliott as hosting comedian, with three comedians from Alabama performing.
“The Stardome was one of the biggest venues I sold out that let me know I could play bigger venues,” Hart said last night.
He said he is good friends with Stardome owner Bruce Ayers, who encouraged him to move on to bigger venues after he repeatedly sold out in Birmingham. “I said, ‘What? I’m killing this sh–!'”
Hart went on to play at arenas and star in movies including “Get Hard,” “Ride Along,” “The Wedding Ringer,” and “Central Intelligence.
Ayers, in an interview with AL.com before the show, said he knew Hart would hit the big time.
“I felt honored that he said this to me, that he felt like when he sold out the Stardome, he knew he made it,” Ayers said. “That’s what we’re hoping to find – the next big star.”
Ayers has helped launch many stars, including Sinbad, Steve Harvey and Ricky Smiley. “They would have made it without me, but I’m happy we played a role,” he said.
Now Hart is paying it forward, trying to help launch other careers.
“Kevin is looking for the next star,” Ayers said. “He’s going to the places that helped him make it.”
Birmingham was the finale of a tour of eight cities where Hart has recorded shows with his production company. Although the show was recorded for Comedy Central, there is no air date scheduled yet.
“I’ve got my producer’s hat on tonight,” Hart said. “I truly believe this is where stars are made. Clubs like this, they’re a launch pad.”
The Alabama comedians featured on Wednesday night were Trey Mack, Jermaine “Funny Maine” Johnson and Rocky Dale Davis, along with Elliott, a morning traffic reporter for WVTM-TV Channel 13.