Entertainment Sunday: Kevin Hart- Hosting tonight’s MDA telethon is a ‘major level-up’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Hart says hosting a re-imagined online fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association is “a major level-up for me.”

“It’s different from anything that you’ve really seen me do. And there’s a great reason behind it,” said the comic and actor, who is leading the MDA Kevin Hart Kids Telethon online on Saturday.

It’s the first telethon in six years for the MDA, once known for its popular hours-long Labor Day broadcast hosted for decades by famed comic and actor Jerry Lewis. Lewis last hosted in 2010 and died in 2017.

Hart says he’s honored at the opportunity to fill Lewis’ shoes. “There’s no way not to acknowledge the works that he’s done,” he said. “What he’s done for so many and the money that he’s raised while doing it, is just astronomical.”

Joining Hart will be a star-studded group of friends including Gabrielle Union Wade, Usain Bolt and Jack Black. The 41-year-old comic, who suffered major back injuries in a car crash last year, says he hopes his charity work helps to “plant a flag of reason for my existence.”

“At this point in my life and my career, it’s finding other things to hold on to,” Hart said. “Entertainment and comedy — it’s been a thing, it’s been what I’m known for, and I’ve pushed hard to be successful at it. If I can match that energy and switch the gears and start to do things for others and bring awareness and a high level of positivity to the world and hopefully bring people together, put smiles on the faces, heal some, do for some, I will feel like I’ve done my job while here.”

The two-hour event will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Hart’s Help From the Hart Charity. It’ll be streamed on LOL Network platforms including YouTube and PlutoTV.