For a short stint in 2001, Kevin Hart was roommates with Jason Segel. Judd Apatow had cast the pair in a never-to-air sitcom called North Hollywood, about aspiring actors cohabitating, and he made them bunk up for real. "I hung out with them a lot," recalls Seth Rogen, who did scriptwriting for the pilot. "I think Kevin was entertained by the fact that we did nothing but smoke weed all day." Today, Hart is a stand-up titan. His 2010 special Seriously Funny was Comedy Central's highest-rated special that year. He routinely sells out theaters. And he's starring opposite Rogen in an upcoming movie about the first-ever black-white buddy-cop duo, who are assigned to go undercover in a jazzworld drug ring – a proto-Lethal Weapon spoof. Hart, a 33-year-old, five-foot-four former sneaker salesman from North Philly, loves mocking his height in his act. "When you talk about your flaws, people gravitate to you," he says. "I'm just not that manly-man." In 2011, Hart took his onstage-confessional mode deeper, wringing laughs from the recent death of his mother and memories of his coke-addicted dad (Hart lingers, raucously, on the image of his father's dick swinging beneath sweatpants during an elementary-school spelling bee). "His comedy comes from such a real place," Rogen says. "And he's funny as hell."
This story is from Rolling Stone's Big Issue, May 31st, 2012.