by Kia Miakka Natisse
In the opening of BET’s new series, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Kevin Hart lounges in the backseat of his luxury car, basking in his own success, and reveals: “Before my daddy got on drugs, he once told me that for every boss there’s a hundred wannabe bosses. I had no idea that those wannabe bosses would be my boys.”
What unfolds in the 30 minutes following Hart’s ‘revelation’ may be one of the best shows BET has ever done.
The premise of the show is simple, and has actually been done before: a spoof on the wildly popular Real Housewives of… reality shows, featuring a group of seemingly successful men, slightly overshadowed by their more successful Hollywood wives.
Hart debuted his version of the concept as a series of interstitial shorts during the 2011 BET Awards. Yet there was actually another husbands show back in 2009, and I won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it. The dismal Househusbands of Hollywood aired just 10 times on the Fox Reality Channel.
It’s doubtful that Hart’s take on the concept will suffer the same fate. Calling on major star power co-stars like Boris Kodjoe, Nick Cannon, Robin Thicke, Dwayne Martin and J.B. Smoove, the group of friends playfully depreciate themselves and each other, which gives the audience an insider feel to the comedy the show is commanding.
The show’s cast is called upon to poke fun at their public reputation: Kodjoe, billed as the “pretty a** motherf**ker,” Cannon, who gamely sports an “I Heart Mimi” apron, Dwayne Martin as the Hollywood Hustler of the crew, and Hart amping up his small dog with the big bark act that has made him famous.
In episode one of The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Hart sets himself up to be biggest star of the show, which may be true in the real world, but on his fake reality show, it’s just a delusion. He arrives to a party at Cannon’s house with two scantily-clad women in tow, only to realize that its a kid’s party.
He later gets jumped by one of these kids over a baking dispute (yes, there are fists over pies), which results in a falling out with Cannon and a show down with Robin Thicke. It’s unexpected and funny, with all the characters/celebrities buying in to this alternate reality that Hart has created.
The show’s winning formula is that it feels genuine, never forced. A mix of scripted comedy and improv, the show takes its cues (and a producer), from HBO’s hit series Curb Your Enthusiasm, and delivers it an a relatable package for black audiences.
While seeing a bunch of celebrities hang out on camera will certainly draw in viewers, their fame is less interesting than the friendships that they share, which is either a credit to their acting skills or a testament to these actors’ real life bond off camera.
Plus, there’s Kevin Hart. The comic’s been unstoppable for the past few years, and The Real Husbands of Hollywood can only work to extend his brand and star power. A good move for BET to partner with the comedic genius — Hart knows how to hit audiences’ funny bone.
Here’s to hoping BET invests in more great talent: hopefully the incredibly funny Husbands of Hollywood is a sign of more good things to come from the network.