One of the biggest names that will grace Augusta during the Westobou Festival this year is comedian and actor Kevin Hart.
Hart broke onto the comedy scene when he quit his job as a shoe salesman after an electrifying performance at amateur night in a Philadelphia comedy club, according to a news release. He began performing full time at venues such as The Boston Comedy Club, Caroline’s, Stand-Up NY, The Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Since then, he has sold out arenas such as Madison Square Garden. And his first appearance at the “Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival” that led Hart into taking roles in feature films, according to the news release.
Just this year, Hart voiced a title character in the kids film “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” and he will close the year by appearing in the reboot of “Jumanji,” alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black. Also this year, Hart’s memoir “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons” debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. The audio book also topped records on Audible, selling more than 100,000 copies in just the first five weeks.
Kristi Jilson, executive director for Westobou, is excited to bring him on for two nights in Augusta during the festival. She said a connection at local venues helped bring the comedian on.
“Our board chair is Chris Bird, who is the general manager of the James Brown Arena and the Bell Auditorium,” Jilson said. “So he had a great opportunity come across his desk, and we’re very lucky that the stars aligned in that way, and we worked together collaboratively to have this event Augusta.”
She said every year, the festival tries to bring at least one big name that is widely recognized in the community, more so than other names featured in the festival.
“He has the pop culture appeal, but he also is a comedian, and we celebrate words, so as a comedian, he is a writer, a creative person, but then he’s also an actor, so it was sort of like he filled a few of our dots. Each dot in our logo represents one of the different genres that we celebrate,” Jilson said. “For us, he filled two of those dots, and we think he resonates with our community in a very strong way. … I think his topics in his comedy I think are funny and relatable, and I think that’s something that I think makes him appealing to a broad section to our community.”
The Bell Auditorium
7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, and Sunday, Oct. 8