Kevin Hart joked about gender roles in parenting on ‘SNL’ and, it didn’t go so wellOn December 17, 2017 by Maybell
Kevin Hart is a funny man, but his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live this week felt like it came a few years too late.
Hart, who just had his third child, used his 6-minute opening monologue to fire off joke after joke about parenthood. It was all going fine, too, until the comedian veered into gender roles. Women, he said, are not fun, whereas fathers shoulder “all of the fun responsibility.”
It could have been a lot worse. Hart made the mistake of painting what may be his own personal experiences as a parent with too broad a brush. It’s not that he was openly offensive; more that the bit just rang as a bit too tone-deaf, especially given the current emphasis on unraveling the systemic gender imbalance in our culture.
In other words: Hart’s take on parenthood felt dated. This bit would have killed in the 1990s, maybe even the early Aughts; but if you’re going build jokes on top of gender stereotypes in 2017, you’re going to take some heat for it.
And that’s exactly what happened. Cue the internet.
Hart had his defenders, too. As many pointed out, the monologue was “just comedy” and the outraged portion of the audience would do well to “lighten up.”
Then again, Hart is also an admitted adulterer. Context matters, and many felt that his tone-deaf gender humor was an especially bad look given the personal history.
Where the line falls between funny and offensive is a call every comedian needs to make for herself or himself. Similarly, whether or not you think Hart chose poorly, that’s also a choice for every viewer to make on their own.
Personally, I think Hart’s take on parenthood felt antiquated and out of sync with the complex family structures that are increasingly prevalent in modern life. I also think he probably could have chosen his targets better, given his September apology.
At the same time, are tired jokes like these even worth getting offended over? I’m not so sure. But if you have a platform like Hart does and you say something a portion of people don’t like, you can sure as hell bet that you’re going to hear about it in this age of social media.