In March 2023, comedian and actor Kevin Hart found himself at the center of a meme craze that swept across social media. Unlike most memes that draw from the content produced by specific celebrities, Kevin Hart memes found inspiration in a plethora of random Getty images depicting Hart in various serious, yet somehow humorous, poses.
These poses included thoughtful stances to prayerful demeanors—gestures that seemed primed to receive the meme treatment. Adding to its mystery, this trend started out of nowhere, with no specific incident sparking it. As the comedian mentioned in an Instagram post, even Hart found the trend amusing.
me after he tells me stop being weird pic.twitter.com/T4hqvL3MN2— I AM SHE (@meigotti) February 26, 2023
Kevin Hart’s rise to fame
Born on July 6, 1979, Kevin Darnell Hart started his career in the the world of stand-up comedy competitions. His breakthrough role came with the 2001 movie, “Undeclared,” directed by Judd Apatow. Hart has since been featured in numerous films and stand-up specials, and he even earned a spot on Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015.
Before he became a meme, Kevin Hart’s humor and relatability, as seen in his stand-up specials “What Now?” and “Laugh at My Pain,” significantly contributed to his widespread recognition and appeal. However, the comedian also experienced his share of controversy after he found himself in hot water for homophobic tweets that eventually got him pulled as host of the 2019 Academy Awards.
kevin hart reaction memes might be my new favorite thing pic.twitter.com/SqOOQD1DGX— Reece (@WannaBeReece) February 23, 2023
The oddly unstoppable meme trend
Although the origin of the trend is unclear, the use of Kevin Hart’s images in memes started in early 2023 with various photographs of Hart being used as reaction images.
The photographs used in these memes were often professional shots, and they portrayed Hart in a a more serious light than that of his usual comedic persona. This unexpected meme movement showcased the comedian’s ubiquity and the internet’s creative use of his image.
This is so fucking true…I have no idea what’s going on 😂😂😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/c605TKilDg— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) February 27, 2023
The psychology behind the trend
The sudden popularity of these memes could partly be attributed to Hart’s established comedic persona. Emotional intelligence expert Dr. Jack Brown told Rolling Stone a comedian’s exaggerated body language primes fans for laughter and creates a sense of empathy and familiarity.
This phenomenon likely contributed to the relatability and virality of Kevin Hart memes. Hart’s extensive public appearances and photoshoots provided a rich source for meme creators, offering a wide range of expressions and contexts that resonated with audiences.
kevin hart looking to see who started this trend of him pic.twitter.com/HDzAdEns6o— MK (@adoreanise) February 27, 2023
The impact of the Kevin Hart memes
Kevin Hart memes reinforced Hart’s status as a cultural icon. The diverse images used in the memes underscored his continued influence in the entertainment world.
Me thinking about all the shit i let slide pic.twitter.com/BwQPLV8xSI— heav (@1heavyx) February 27, 2023
Even Hart weighed in and said that he didn’t understand the trend or why it started, but his bemused response resonated with the public, and further endeared him to his audience.
running into someone but we both go the same way pic.twitter.com/KtbKoaz9oV— mi$$ leø (@kinebrionne) February 27, 2023
Kevin Hart memes highlight the internet’s unpredictable nature and demonstrate how a public figure’s image can be repurposed for widespread entertainment. The phenomenon also underscores the power of humor and relatability in connecting with audiences, proving that sometimes fame can manifest in unexpected ways.