Weeks after a controversy in which the resurfacing of old anti-gay jokes cost him a gig hosting this year’s Academy Awards, Kevin Hart is set to make a TV appearance — with America’s most prominent gay talk show host.
Hart will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, January 7, Matt Wilstein of the Daily Beast reported via Twitter on Friday.
Presumably, Hart will be promoting his new movie The Upside, which was filmed more than two years ago. The film has sat on the shelf for a long period of time due to the implosion of The Weinstein Company in late 2017.
Hart was named by the Academy Awards as host of the 2019 Oscars on December 4, but within hours, a controversy emerged over old jokes made by Hart — both in his standup comedy and on his Twitter feed — in which he expressed fear that his young son would end up being gay. While he mused on the subject in an Instagram post, Hart did not immediately apologize. By December 6, he was officially out as Oscar host. After that, Hart did apologize to the LGBTQ community.
“I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” Hart said in a social media post, per the Wrap. His Ellen DeGeneres Show appearance will give Hart a further opportunity either to apologize, or to explain himself.
Hart’s hiring was much later than usual for an Oscars host. And now — nearly a month after Hart stepped down, and with the ceremony less than two months away — the Academy Awards have not yet named a new host. Reports following Hart’s departure suggested that the show might go with a hostless format, but there’s been no official announcement about that, either.
Ellen DeGeneres, of course, has been openly gay ever since both she and her character — on her older sitcom with an eponymous title — came out in 1997. She addresses the subject in her new Netflix special, Relatable.
The Ellen appearance, and his new movie, will mark a test as to whether the Oscars controversy has any effect on Hart’s career going forward. In addition to The Upside, Hart is scheduled to appear this year in sequels to The Secret Life of Pets and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. The comedian has several other projects in development, including a third Ride Along movie. Hart doesn’t appear to have lost any movie gigs as a result of the controversy, and he has also continued his career as one of the most successful working stand-up comedians.
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