After a sold-out show at the Bell Centre during last year’s Just for Laughs, Kevin Hart returned to the festival with something a little different this year: a pitch presentation for his own Laugh Out Loud Network, a streaming comedy service he is launching in collaboration with Lion’s Gate.
Following an initial Q&A with Saba Hamedy of Mashable during which Hart discussed his massive online following and how he hopes to channel that audience into his new network, he heard ten 2-minute pitches from hopeful creators looking to feature their shows on Hart’s network.
The pitches ran the gamut from the comedy spectrum, including sketch-based shows, a drunk cooking competition, and an energetic take on a traditional dating show that Hart really responded to.
Following each presentation, Hart provided the creators with some encouragement and feedback, and seemed genuinely impressed with the pitches. So impressed in fact, that at the end of the presentations he promised to take on each of the 10 pitches and incorporate them into his network. While the details haven’t been revealed, every team that presented to Hart will be working with him to bring their ideas to reality on the LOL Network, which Hart revealed would be available in January or February 2017.
Apart from the initial pitches, the LOL Network will give Hart the opportunity to indulge in any ideas he wants to bring forward, side-stepping the usual gate-keepers artists generally have to contend with. One idea he discussed included a hidden-camera reality-show where Hart will disguise himself and try to get people to trash talk him. “I love people that talk shit,” he admitted, before work-shopping some creative ideas about how he might pull the prank-show off, including posing as a Lyft driver.
Fuelled by the fun he’s been having on recent action films like Central Intelligence and Ride Along, another potential show involves Hart starring in strictly action scenes, without the pesky plot and characters that a full-length movie requires. Hart promised a “Mini-series of pointless action scenes for no reason,” where elaborate fights would break out out of nowhere during mundane everyday activities.
While all of the potential projects seem promising, it was pointed out in the Q&A that of the ten groups presenting, none featured a woman. “Someone’s getting fired!” Hart promised, explaining that his goal is to have a well-rounded line-up for the network, which was generally represented in the diversity on display during the pitches.
Hart wrapped up the panel with an inspirational pat on the back to all the creators present, explaining that their work pushes him to never remain complacent, despite all of his accomplishments. It was a nice heartfelt moment from someone who clearly recognized himself in the ambitious young creators vying to work with him.
Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Network is set to launch in early 2017.