The lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel was packed with press eager and curious to spend 15 minutes in the service of Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, and their new R-rated comedy The Wedding Ringer. The two were in town recently, and the turnout for this press day was the biggest in memory.
It’s the public relations answer to speed-dating, two men shuttling from space to space, journalist to journalist trying (with ease) to make good impressions all the while wadding each electronic recording device with gads of spirited repartee as reps sat off to the side minding the minute hand. Judging by the post-interview buzz on the way out, no one left disappointed.
The two scattered enough overlapping dialogue to make Howard Hawks’s head collapse. For once I had no recourse but to sit back, relax, and let these two funnymen do the heavy lifting. I suggest you do the same.
Scott Marks: Before the screening, the dyslexic projectionist at the AMC put on the recorded segment where you tell the audience not to leave. You say, “My name is Josh Gad — G.A.D.” How many different ways are there to spell Gad? If anything, it should be Hart [spelling his name] because he’s missing the “e.”
Kevin Hart (Laughing): You did do that. You don’t remember?
Josh Gad: I did?
KH: I swear to you.
JG: A lot of people spell it with two “d’s” because of Steve Gadd, the drummer.
SM: Who do you two normally get mistaken for?
JG: People mistake me for Chris Tucker.
SM (Laughing): One face!
KH: I get D.L. Hughley, believe it or not. (Imitating fans) “Hey, D.L.! Man, I loved your show!” And I’ve gotten Tracy Morgan before.
JG: I get mistaken for anybody slightly overweight with black hair. Jonah Hill, Jack Black...
SM: They ever mistake you for me?
JG: I have. People came up to me today and were, like, “Scott! How’s your column going?”
SM: Does your agent have TMZ on speed-dial, Kevin? You’re on that show more than Harvey Levin.
KH: I love TMZ. I have a great relationship with those guys. If they want to talk to me, I always talk to them. I don’t want to be an enemy of TMZ.
JG: You got their back, they got yours.
KH: I don’t care how much of a rush I’m in, I stop. Whatever you need, guys!
SM: They asked if you would ever work for Sony again, and you never gave an answer.
KH: Never gave an answer. You stay PC. At the end of the day, I’m in the business. Opportunities come, opportunities go. So what opportunities are brought my way depends on the work that I’ll do. (To Gad.) You see that? I never really answered it.
SM: We share a mutual friend, Kevin. Alan Arkin, your Grudge Match co-star, lives in town. Do you have a message for him?
Interview with Kevin Hart and Josh Gad
KH: I am a friend and a huge fan. I can honestly say the chemistry you see with me and Josh, me and Alan had that same chemistry. I talked to him while we were off set, going to dinner, hearing his stories...I genuinely have nothing but love for Alan Arkin. He’s such a good guy. Funny! Naturally funny.
SM: You’re becoming quite the mover and shaker, Josh, when it comes to providing cartoon voices. How did that come about?
JG: I have what you would call a dulcet tone that puts people in a good mood. Frozen was such an unexpected surprise.
KH: It’s one of those good accidents that happen.
JG: Yeah. I had always had the dream of doing a voice in a Disney animated movie. It surpassed all of my wildest expectations.
SM: What brought the two of you together? Had you met before?
KH: No. I would never talk to Josh.
JG: If I saw Kevin, I’d run the other way.
SM: You’d call him D.L. Hugely and run.
JG: I was the guy yelling, “Hey, D.L. What happened to the show on CNN?"
SM: You hear a lot of talk about Los Angeles trying to bring filming back to the city. This was originally set to film in Chicago, and you received a $2.8 million California tax grant that brought you here.
JG: It’s important. It’s one of those things where it’s, like, you film more movies everywhere but Los Angeles. It’s about time that some of these films came home. It was really fun to shoot at home, to get in your car and go home and see your wife and kids.
KH: I could do without that part. Just being gone sometimes is okay.
SM: I’m a stickler for logic, and there is one point that escaped me while watching The Wedding Ringer. In real life you have a wife and two kids, but the character you play is a schlub. How is it that you can get Kaley Cuoco...what is it now, Sweeting? How long is that gonna last?
KH: She gets a hand-cramp signing autographs.
SM: So how can you wind up having her for your bride and not have a friend to act as best man?
JG: The conceit of that is this is a guy who provides her with a sense of protection. He’s an investment for her. He does well, he’s a caretaker, he desperately loves her, and she feels safe. As he says in the movie, he’s never had time to make friends. He’s always been going nonstop. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t really have...he’s never allowed himself to build a group of friends. With Kaley, it’s a happy accident, and the rest of his life wasn’t as lucky. I buy that completely. I’ve always bought that. The movie hinges on the fact that this girl fell in love with him...we really don’t know if she’s in love with him. But she settled for him because he’s a safe bet. And that’s not necessarily the way it goes with friendships.