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Some biting reality check as Kevin Hart ‘no phone’ shows stun South Africans

From several ticketholders being kicked out of Kevin Hart's no device stand-up shows for sneaking in cellphones, to having him gifted with a Springbok jersey on the opening night of his 'Reality Check' leg in Cape Town, and surprisingly having Trevor Noah introduce him on stage in Gauteng (Pretoria), the famous US comedian, now affectionately known to Mzansi as Mpho Hart, had South Africa shaking with excitement, but not without some biting reality check.

There was palpable excitement in the air as Kevin Hart returned to South Africa for his sold-out ‘Reality Check’ SA tour this past week and it’s easy to understand why.

The entertainer, the hottest thing in comedy right now, kicked off the first of two shows in Cape Town on Wednesday (February 15 and 16) at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, followed by two more in Gauteng, Pretoria Sun Bet Arena on Friday and Saturday.

As exciting as it was for many to finally get to witness their favourite stand-up comic serenade them with good doses of razor-sharp wit on home soil, it was a bitter-sweet moment for many as they were subjected to some serious protocol of having their phones forcefully tucked away.

Mpho Hart, as Mr Hart demanded we call him, has had the ‘no smart device’ policy since the start of his shows in the US, UK and wherever he performs as early as 2018; understandably so as he performs and records new material at the same time, and doesn’t want it leaked.

Though this is a new thing that South Africans must content with, in order to avoid being embarrassed and kicked out of the show by heavily armed security, as it was the case for some cheeky lot who had some devices sneaked in, it’s something that was communicated prior by show organisers, Big Concert as seen here on its website. As stated, this was “a phone, smartwatch and recording device-free show”, and anyone caught using a device during the performances would be promptly evicted, with no refund whatsoever, and could even risk being jailed if they get combative with security.

Ticketholders were therefore provided with “individual Yondr pouches” to secure all devices, which could only be opened at the end of the event. 

As hard as this maybe in this snap-happy digital era, with many fans upset and complaining on social media as highlighted in the Twitter thread below, protocols are protocols my good people … and they need to be respected. Otherwise, don’t bother attending!

What People Say

The ‘no smart gadget’ strategy was a success in the end, as there was hardly any phone seen bombing above the crowds during the shows, and those caught were escorted out.

Trevor Noah‘s surprise appearance, the cherry on top

Warm welcome … and happy crowds despite complaints over overly priced tickets!

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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