Kevin Hart Looks Small Throwing Maher Under Bus

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson truly seem like twins. And it has nothing to do with their size or skin color.

Both are smart, talented performers with charisma to burn. And, more importantly in our divided times, each boasts a similar social media footprint.

Supportive. Positive. Cheerful. And, most importantly, apolitical.

It’s one reason they repeatedly crush the box office competition. They rarely, if ever, give movie goers a reason to avoid their product.

How novel.

Yet Johnson flashed an uncharacteristic flaw in his otherwise sunny side recently. After every other critic pounded his weak-tea comedy “Baywatch” he defended the movie on Twitter this way:

We’ll let that slide. He’s unfailingly hopeful and rarely lashes out like that. Heck, everyone has an off day.

Take Hart, for example.

The “Captain Underpants” star got quizzed this week about the Bill Maher “n-word” kerfuffle. On June 2, Maher used the toxic phrase during a segment on his HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

RELATED: Media Memory Holes Bill Maher’s GOP Hate

He didn’t call a black person that corrosive term. The host referred to himself in a cheeky fashion as a “house n-word” in a chat with Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. It was neither funny nor appropriate. It was live TV, though, and Maher remains a comedian searching for laugh lines.

Growing outrage over Bill Maher's racial slur on live television

Yet Hart threw him under the bus in a way his fans probably didn’t expect. The superstar checked in with “The Breakfast Club” radio show June 6 and the Maher imbroglio came up.

Hart said he didn’t think Maher was a racist based on that one phrase, noting he had personally seen Maher defend black people in the past. That didn’t get Maher off the hook for those comments, though.

“That’s a bad judgment. Granted, I don’t think Bill Maher is a racist, but that’s a bad judgment…It’s inappropriate and it’s not right,” he added. “To say that and to say it the way you said it as comfortable as you said it in a joking form, you’re wrong. Granted, you can issue all the apologies you want … you know he says it around friends. It’s not something that he’s not going to say anymore. But for you to say it on your platform, that’s tacky.”

Tacky? Sure, Inappropriate? Certainly.

“You know he says it around friends?”

The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round. Lookout, Bill!

That’s quite a leap, frankly. And it doesn’t sound like the Hart we’ve come to know and cheer. It’s right in line with what we see too often in our culture, though. A person says something inappropriate and we immediately judge him/her in the worst way possible.

That’s what Hart just did, even if he has proof that says Maher’s heart isn’t racist.

Like with Johnson’s recent tweet, this is a hiccup in Hart’s otherwise sterling public persona. But as a comic who repeatedly dances near the cultural edge for laughs, Hart should have given Maher more credit.

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