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The actor Kevin Hart is launching an all-digital streaming comedy service. The Laugh Out Loud Network is the latest entry in a crowded market. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.
ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Kevin Hart is super active on social media. Between his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, he's got more than 100 million followers.
(SOUNDBITE OF COMEDY SPECIAL, "I'M A GROWN LITTLE MAN")
KEVIN HART: You got to know who you are as an individual. If you're not a fighter, understand that you're not a fighter. I know I'm not a fighter. That's why I carry a whistle.
HART: I'll blow the [expletive] out of a whistle...
BLAIR: In partnership with Lionsgate, Hart and his team are scouting for all kinds of comedy, says his marketing head, Thai Randolph.
THAI RANDOLPH: So you'll see sketches and clips. You'll see previews of some of the short films that we might be carrying. And then you'll also see a lot of stand-up.
BLAIR: Including old-school stand-up. The LOL Network will stream the Def Comedy Jam archives, the 1990s TV show that helped launch the careers of, among other comedians, Bernie Mac and Chris Tucker.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DEF COMEDY JAM")
CHRIS TUCKER: You ever had a neighbor that borrow your [expletive]...
TUCKER: ...And keep it so long...
TUCKER: ...You have to borrow it back?
BLAIR: The LOL Network will have plenty of neighbors to contend with - Comedy Central, Netflix, HBO, Funny or Die, Adult Swim. It's crowded out there. NBCUniversal's comedy platform Seeso is having a hard time. Staff members have left. Shows are in limbo. Ron Funches is keeping an eye on what Kevin Hart's doing. He likes that this new network is being driven by a fellow comedian.
RON FUNCHES: I am excited about it. It's just fun to have people take control of the machine aspect of it.
BLAIR: Funches doesn't know yet if he'll get involved with the LOL Network. He says he might like to start his own thing. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.
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