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Two options: Kevin Hart didn’t know he was in Tacoma or he likes Seattle more

Comedian Kevin Hart stands outside the landmark Tacoma restaurant Southern Kitchen where he interviewed four up and coming local comics for his Comedy Central series "Hart of the City." Ironically, the episode was titled "Seattle."
Comedian Kevin Hart stands outside the landmark Tacoma restaurant Southern Kitchen where he interviewed four up and coming local comics for his Comedy Central series "Hart of the City." Ironically, the episode was titled "Seattle." Courtesy

Was that one long joke, Kevin Hart?

A funny story of mistaken identity, maybe? One where you don’t know the difference between Tacoma and Seattle.

You were just in Tacoma in August to film your Comedy Central series, “Hart of the City.” Your friend and our local comic star Nate Jackson invited you.

We love the show, where you travel the country, shining a light on up-and-coming stand-up comedians who have yet to make it big.

“To get to the top, you have start on the ground,” you say in the show’s promo.

So we were on the edge of our seats last weekend when the Tacoma episode finally aired.

Then we fell on our butts.

Kevin, you called the show the “Seattle” episode.

There was nothing Seattle about it.

Oh, sure, there was plenty of Seattle B roll: the big Ferris wheel, that poor fish that gets repeatedly tossed at Pike Place.

But Kevin, you were in Tacoma.

You know Tacoma, Kevin. We’re the city with that big upside-down bowl as our defining structure. Seattle has that pointy thing as its most famous landmark: the construction crane.

We had such high hopes about Tacoma’s debut on Comedy Central. We’d get bragging rights over Seattle.

And last weekend’s show started out so great.

“Kevin Hart here in Tacoma, Washington,” you said, standing in the parking lot of a Guy Fieri-approved restaurant. “I’m here at Southern Kitchen. I’m about to taste me some of this legendary peach cobbler that I’ve heard about.”

But that turned out to be the one and only reference to Tacoma in the show.

“What is Washington known for?” you asked your viewers. “24-hour Starbucks, Microsoft computer corporation and apples.”

Next we see you at a table in Southern Kitchen, with four local comedians.

Then we hear your voice.

“What’s going on people? Kevin Hart here in Seattle, Washington, at the legendary Southern Kitchen.”

Ouch.

You have a great interview style, Kevin. You asked each comedian about their history and what the local scene is like, beginning with Tacoma’s own Ralph Porter.

Porter told you he’s been working as a comic for 25 years. His eldest child is 30.

“I won’t even ask how old you are, brother,” you said to him. “What product is Ralph using?”

“Sweet tea and shea butter,” Porter said. For the record, Porter looks good.

The show then switches to Tacoma’s dueling piano bar, Keys on Main, where Jackson’s monthly “Super Funny Comedy Show” is held. The four comics performed monologues for a packed house.

Kenisha Buss told stories about her upbringing. She was born a month past her due date and her mother was known to take a drink or two during her pregnancy.

“People always ask me, ‘Why do you think you stayed in so long?’ ” Buss said. “Whenever have you left the party early if they were still serving free drinks?”

Comic Manny Martin holds a day job where he gets much of his comic inspiration.

The African-American comic had a series of anecdotal jokes he called, “Things I wish white people wouldn’t do to me in my cubicle.”

After a vacation, “Please don’t compare your skin tan to my skin tone,” Martin said.

Bo Johnson told the audience that a violent crime spree in his neighborhood gave him some concern. He’s not very intimidating in appearance.

“It’s like God went, ‘Hmmm … I know. Let’s throw a golden retriever into a Mormon’s body and he’ll be raised by two massage therapists,’ ” he told the crowd.

His mother’s advice: Wear a bicycle helmet when he’s out on the street.

“That is a horrible idea,” Johnson said. “They’re just going to think somebody already stole my bike.”

Kevin, we know your fans — you have 35 million Twitter followers — weren’t disappointed in the show. The comics were funny. And so were you.

You made use of Keys’ two pianos to film a skit where you delivered a jazz-themed spoken word performance. Using special effects magic, you played the poet as well as the two pianists.

“What did you think, man?” you asked one of your other selves when you were finished.

“Power to the people, baby,” your pianist self responded to your poet self.

Your comic friends Joey Wells and Harry Ratchford weren’t having it.

“It’s all you,” Wells said. “All three people are you.”

“You’re just a regular Professor Klump now,” Ratchford said, referring to the “Nutty Professor” film series where Eddie Murphy played multiple parts.

We have to admit, the whole show was pretty damn funny.

And you gave “special thanks” to Tacoma in the show’s credits along with Jackson, Keys on Main owner Jordan Stoneman and Southern Kitchen’s Gloria Martin.

Come back anytime, Kevin. We’ll save some peach cobbler for you as long as you call us “Tacoma” and not “Seattle.”

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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