‘Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History review’: an admirable piece of edu-tainment

Fun and engaging: While not the most knowledgable of Hart's catalog, I think his special on "Black History" is totally worth watching. Pictured is Kevin Hart narrating one of the stories covered in the hour long runtime.

If you thought Kevin Hart didn’t have enough content to his name, you thought wrong. A small hour-ish piece of an edu-tainment comedy special, “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” narrated by Hart, is a sort of drunk history-esque special that puts the spotlight on lesser known, yet crucial players in their history with actors portraying and reenacting what they were known for. 

The basic setup is that Kevin is teaching his daughter black history, in a “Princess Bride” sort of way, while also breaking the fourth wall a couple times. There are a few fun guests to shake things up like Lil Rel. Covering people such as Boxer Joe Louis (who boxed Nazi puppet Max Schmeling), Mae Jemison (the first African-American woman to travel to space), Henry Brown, a slave who escaped by hiding in a cargo box, and even the story of the guy who invented potato chips, George Crum. They go all over the place, having a sketch mocking Hitler, which was really funny, and one mocking Mussolini. 

That being said, the most important thing in a comedy special is the comedy, and I’ll admit I am not the biggest fan of Hart’s brand of comedy, but it actually got quite a few laughs out of me, a vast improvement over last year’s “Night School.” It’s more of the vignettes with the actors than Hart actually showing his face, but his undeniable likability and charismatic nature still oozes through. There were definitely jokes that didn’t land. Some were just okay, a few made me groan, but it is admirable that it actually had multiple well done and funny moments. That being said, “Drunk History” is much more consistently funny, but the comedy isn’t necessarily the most important aspect for this show. 

While I definitely admire the short length, as it never overstayed its welcome, one complaint I have is that the special never touched on anybody outside the U.S. The worldwide importance and the sadly-permanent topical nature of the ongoing maligning of a people for which a country is known for should never be forgotten and cannot be understated, but I wish it ventured outside the borders of North America.

While I do think the jokes are inconsistent, and there are some things they could have definitely talked about, the strength lies in how watchable it is. It is not even close to being some coma-inducing slog of a documentary buried deep in the bowels of Amazon Prime. It is legitimately educational in an engaging way, and having such a well-loved and household name like Kevin Hart, alongside Tiffany Haddish and Weird Al, being at the forefront makes perfect sense. 

Its subject matter is something that will always be prevalent in society, and having a well done reminder of how far America has come, and far it has to go, is always a welcome addition in my book, and in my opinion, if you’re looking to just chill out and watch while learning history, I would recommend this special.