Kevin Hart Still has a Cell Phone Ban in his Comedy Shows!
For the record, Kevin Hart still has a Cell Phone Ban! Kevin Hart isn’t fucking around when it comes to his phone ban, and quite a few people who attended (or at least tried to attend) his show in Manchester in the UK this week were unhappy with his strict policy. Despite being well documented (for several years) and warned repeatedly, people found using cell phones were ejected from the show.
Cell phone bans are nothing new to the world of comedy, both Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were two of the first comics to prohibit recording devices in shows. While some comedians use a “lock sock” to prevent people from using their phones during shows, team Hart employs a phone ban rule at his show. Phone holders were warned that this was a zero tolerance policy, and one that was strenuously enforced. A cell phone security team roamed the arena. Security escorted violators from the show, without a refund. Including people who were texting, some before Kevin Hart took the stage.
Wait, what? Yea, people were ejected before Kevin Hart’s performance even began.
Comedy Show Gripes
Media outlets report show-goers were pretty upset at what they perceived to be ‘overinforcement’ of the policy. Unhappy ejectees included three members of a group of six friends who were removed from the arena after being observed sending texts to babysitters prior to the show beginning. One of those friends wrote to Hart on Facebook, calling the incident “an absolute disgrace.” Noting security wasn’t very diplomatic about the ordeal. “Two of the 3 were ladies, left on the street alone in an unfamiliar city, not cool,” he wrote. “I understand the ticket said ‘no phones or recording’ but a text message?? Come on.” Among his complaints were mistreatment by Manchester Arena personnel, claiming aggressive and demeaning behavior by security. “I know Kevin himself has no control of what happens in the stands, but its his show.”
Texters Ejected from Comedy Show
Another fan describes being booted by several members of staff for a five word text to her mum. “Kevin Hart still has a cell phone ban and his security team should be shame of themselves!!!” one person says on Facebook. One woman voiced a safety concern saying a “MALE” told her to come with him without her boyfriend. “Hard to describe how angry and upset I am. Completely ruined my night. New outfit, hotel stay, and expensive tickets, what a waste of money. All for a 5 word text to my mum.”
Another Instagram commentor writes, “such a performer in touch with his fans, a real gent huh? Classic money obsessed celebrity. Its just a phone Kev, chill out. Jesus christ!” A third comment states, “What a con. Got the boot for checking a important text before Kevin’s Show. Security shit. Little idiots thinking they have power.”
Others wrote that there were plenty of warnings that any phone use would result in ejection from the arena, and didn’t seem bothered at all by the policy.
The Arena notes the policy was Kevin Hart’s decision, not a venue rule. They also acknowledge the security team belongs to Hart as well. Hart posted a photo from the show but didn’t address the complaints.
Does Cell Phone Videos Hurt Comedy?
We understand the value of a comics intellectual property, but there has to be a happy medium somewhere. As ticket prices skyrocket the show-going public has become older. As a result, most of the people in comedy show audiences have children, businesses or real responsibility, cell phones are a necessity in these cases. PLUS, has anyone really studied the effects of low-quality cell phone footage? The ‘audience cam’ shows we’ve seen on the internet aren’t very good and none come close to the ‘comedy show experience.’ People with the means and desire to visit a show will probably do so anyway. The people we polled don’t seem to care about hearing something they’ve already heard.
For example, we recently sat with John “Pops” Witherspoon and he says people LOVE hearing his infamous “Bang, Bang, Bang.” They love “anything that ends with the word coordinate” he continued. Both of these bits are 20+ years old but audiences eat it up. They actually pay to hear it again. Maybe we don’t give audiences enough credit, maybe those crude, out of focus and faraway videos help comedy. Perhaps the millions of social media mentions they create actually helps a comic (Not that Kevin Hart needs help). Well, unless the comic is just terrible. In that case we understand why a comedian wants to ban recording devices (not that Kevin is terrible).
It’s just comedy!
We know its hard to delineate texters from recorders, and we know people love to break rules, but a zero tolerance policy seems a bit extreme. At the end of the day Comedy is about fun and unifying people. We hope Kevin’s team finds a method that doesn’t separate family and friends, or disconnect mothers from children. In unrelated news, we also wish comedians weren’t so sensitive about things we post on theysofunny.com, get a grip. As the great poet Talent once said, “it’s just comedy!”