Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Memphis Comedy Scene Gains National Exposure With Hart Of The City

Photos: Nathan Spencer and Sebastian Carson

Kevin Hart shows he’s “all heart” by filming an episode for the next season of his Comedy Central show in Memphis.

With hit movies releasing every summer, performing on sell-out tour after sell-out tour, and having a New York Times bestseller to his name, Kevin Hart‘s star power and influence continues to build across the world. However, none of his success was given. It was earned. Now, he wants to help other unknown comedians get a shot in the comedy world. His show, Hart of the City, on Comedy Central is dedicated to this goal.

Each episode is dedicated to exploring the comedy scene in an individual city. Once a city has been selected, comedians with no television credits to their name have an opportunity to submit an audition tape showcasing their material. This is a huge moment for each city and their talent. Last Saturday, an episode for Season 2 of Hart of the City was filmed in Memphis.

However, Memphis comedy would not have been highlighted in this way if it were not for the efforts of established comedian Memphis Will. He talked to one of the shows producers and friend of Kevin’s, Joey Wells, about bringing the show to Memphis and the rest is history.

According to Will, the ultimate goal of filming an episode in the 901 is, “to let casting directors know that we have talent here. You don’t have to just hold auditions in Atlanta or Los Angeles, you can audition here and we have the talent, and charisma to get the part. We have what it takes to win and that’s what separates us from other cities. With our comedians performing so well, these directors will see Memphis talent on national television.”

Several comedians based in Memphis were filmed in front of a live audience at High Cotton Brewing Co. with Kevin Hart himself in attendance. Daran Howard, Mo Alexander, Latoya Polk, Jonny Bratsveen, and Cleatis Allen, Jr. all brought their A-game and had everyone in stitches from the first joke to the last.

We asked Memphis legend Al Kapone, also in attendance, on what this meant to Memphis as a whole. The rapper and host of the weekday Vibe at 5 on 98.9 FM stated, “It’s a great look for the city. There’s a lot of young talent finally getting their time to shine on national television.”

When asked about the importance of this event, one of the featured comics, Jonny Bratsveen, said, “It (this event) just shows that the comedy in Memphis is A1,”.

It is not often that the 901’s underground talent gets highlighted on a national platform. With the most recognizable comedian in the world promoting our culture and comedy scene, the future is bright. As stated by Cleatis Allen Jr., “He (Kevin) has the right last name because he showed he has a heart (Hart) for the very city known for all heart.”

The Memphis episode on Hart of the City will air on Comedy Central sometime in late October/early November. We will be sure to let you know when the official date is announced.

You can support the local comedy scene by going to shows, which you can find by clicking here.

Learn more about Hart of the City here.

Catch Season 1 of Hart of the City on Comedy Central’s website here.

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