Kevin Hart is providing a platform for comedians with his new digital network. The 38-year-old comedian officially launched Laugh Out Loud, a subscription streaming outlet in partnership with Lionsgate, on Thursday (Aug. 3).
Hart and his wife, Eniko Parrish, celebrated the launch at a Beverly Hills soiree alongside a star-studded guest list that included Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Chris Paul, Ashley Tisdale, Estelle, Angela Johnson, Derek Hough, Brooklyn Beckham, Niecy Nash, Damien Dante Wayans, and talent from Laugh Out Loud’s slate of shows.
Laugh Out Loud’s content caters to a multicultural audience, featuring stand-up legends and globally-recognized digital superstars like King Bach, DC Young Fly, Draya Michelle, David So, Timothy DeLaGhetto and Anjelah Johnson (MADtv, viral sensation Bon Qui Qui).
The platform also produces original scripted and unscripted series, stand-up specials, live broadcasts and special events, along with licensed content including Eddie Murphy’s The PJs the exclusive digital debut of all seven seasons of Def Jam Comedy.
The new venture, which expands Hart’s already impressive digital reach (he boasts over 100 million followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) was a no-brainer for Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, who described the Philly native as a “force of nature.”
“We got into business together on Let Me Explain, ” Feltheimer said of Hart’s 2013 stand-up film. “He’s the perfect partner because he’s not just an amazing talent, he has an amazing social media network. And in today’s [digitally driven] world, that’s what we need.”
The official kickoff of Hart’s streaming platform has been two years in the making. “The vision was having a place where any and everybody can feel comfortable with coming to laugh,” Hart explained. “I think I’ve been a representation as a person that can travel the world and make the world laugh because I don’t see any differences in people. How do I transfer that same energy into the internet?”
With so many options on the web, Hart leans on his Laugh Out Loud team to help curate the content. “You can’t do anything by yourself,” he explained. “You need a team that understands that concept, that can grasp the vision that you have and can help execute it.
“There’s an abundance of content creators. It’s not about saying ‘no’ it’s about giving people the opportunities to say ‘I eventually can.’ At one point in time that ‘I eventually can’ didn’t exist. You think about comedy specials [on] HBO, Comedy Central, those were very few and far between.
“Some people gave up hope that that could happen,” he continued. “We’re creating opportunities.”
In developing Laugh Out Loud, Hart took notes from other digital companies, including Tidal. “The relationships that I have are key relationships,” he said. “I look at Tidal, and my relationship with Jay Z. I would be a fool not to get information. Not to ask ‘why’ and ‘what’ and ‘how?’”
Hov’s advice for Hart was to be fearless.
“Your biggest hurdle is getting people to see and understand that [visions],” Hart pointed out. “[Feltheimer] came to me with ‘I want to be in business with you.’ When you get that, that’s half the battle. Now all I have to do is do what I love, which is doing the work.”
The Laugh Out Loud app is now available for free at LaughOutLoud.com, on iOS and Android. For a $2.99 monthly fee, users can also upgrade to an ad-free viewing experience and access to binge watch all episodes of current seasons.
Hit the gallery for photos from the Laugh Out Loud launch party.
– Vibe Magazine