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Kevin Hart & Dwayne Johnson Microagression Dynamics

Pulling from the microaggression lesson in PU and this thread, I'll be breaking down this situation as well:

Kevin: (hands on his hips, eyebrows furrowed with a serious facial expression, looks authoritative) "What are we doing today?"

Director: "Alright, so, you're gonna start back behind these two trees...(turns, opens body up, and points using the "show them the way/make them follow your lead" power move)".

Kevin: (Kevin turns his head without fully turning his body, seemingly choosing not to fully follow the director's lead to maintain his joke of being one of the "big dogs"/leaders here) "Yeah."

Director: "'re going to run about twenty feet...".

Kevin: "Yeah" (now, with this second "yeah", he seems to be verbally following the director's lead saying, "Yea, I'm understanding, I'm listening, I get it, I get it" to not come across too dominant)

Director: "'re gonna take off at this mark...".

Stunt Double: (begins mimicking the director's behavior, following his lead almost comically)

Director: "...and you're going to soar across this ravine...(gestures toward ravine/long jump)".

Kevin: (orders the camerman) "Show the people, show the people where I'm jumping across."

Camerman: (follows Kevin's orders and lead, showing the ravine to the viewers)

Kevin: (starts his joke) "Ayy, you know what? The funny thing is that a lot of people...".

Stunt Double: (cuts off Kevin, stuttering his initial words) "Wai...through the po—,through the power lines...(voice submissively trails off at the end of his sentence)?"

Kevin: (seemingly a bit annoyed, as if to say "were you not paying attention this entire time?") "I'm going through the power lines (downard tonality inflection)."

Director: "Through the power lines."

Stunt Double: (uses a lot of confirming attention signals/head-nodding followed by an exaggerated, purposeful "overrreaction" facial expression as if to say "Whoa, that's a long jump, I don't know how anybody could do that")

Kevin: "Yeah, (tries to pick up from where he left off on his joke) you know...".

Director: "The second line."

Kevin: (uses director's second comment as an opportunity to move the braggart joke forward) "Easy."

Director: "Yeah."

Kevin: (begins speaking louder as a way of picking up on his joke while also seemingly saying, "OK, I'm going to talk now, so be quiet until I finish") "Easy. You know the only people that uuhh, that they task with stunts like this are the, are the real deals. Me, Tom Cruise, uuhh, Harrison Ford, that's just to name a few. You know, the rest of those guys are pussies."

Stunt Double: (overreacts with a surprised facial expression, eyes wide, as if to say, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe he just said that.")

Director: (nodding his head "yes", not wanting to contradict the lead actor he needs to finish this movie)

Kevin: "They don't do it themselves."

Director: (now, visibly changing his mind, almost seemingly realizing that agreeing here is a bad idea, nods his head slightly "no" a couple of times)

Kevin: (a fake, braggart laugh to keep the joke going while amplifying the joke) "Ahaha, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (begins physically nudging the director as if to say, "Of course, you're on my side on this, right"?), if they only knew right?"

Director: (submissively looks down to avoid the socially difficult situation while still agreeing to avoid breaking rapport, saying, "yea, yea")

Stunt Double: (more overreactions, as if to say, "Wow, he really called The Rock out like that!")

Kevin: "What a bitch. Eheheh."

Director: (clams up with his eyes wide and tightens his lips as if to say, "I'm not touching that one")

Stunt Double: (bursts out laughing)

Director: (looks at the stunt double with a serious facial expression that says, "You're not helping here")

Kevin: "It's just us man."

Director: (agrees, seemingly in an efforrt to quickly move the conversation past this difficult situation)"Yeah, yeah (puts hands on hips in an effort to regain compsure and control, but still often looking down submissively)."

Stunt Double: (more overreacting: slaps Kevin on the shoulders twice while still laughing with a big smile as if to say, "Man, you're really the greatest of all time, what a pleasure, what an awesome moment I get to have with this great guy...")

Kevin: "Uuuhh, I'm ready! (seemingly dictates the end of this socially difficult situation and the start of when everyone gets back to work, looks powerful from his constant state of control and social comfort in the joke among other factors)I'm ready to fuckin' jump."


Yea, he's doing his usual thing here. Nothing too surprising in terms of his behavior.

He goes for a joke based around bragging, a way of social climbing by status inflating. Except, his social currencies marketing is poor in that he's not only bragging (an annoying form of marketing that overdoes your self-promotion), but he uses other actors as social pegs (actors that aren't tasked with doing their own stunts as well as Dwayne Johnson). And, it seems that was his goal. To come across as the "I'm so good" ass-hole type for fun.

I think he cared less about making others laugh and more about just having a good time. This is a style of dominance he enjoys because it maximizes his freedom to do and say what he wants, something we can guess is important to him from some of his stand-up and his past situations (not wanting to apologize to the gay community for saying an old "homophobic" joke he told years prior).

That's a note that means you don't have to laugh and agree with Kevin if you don't want to. In all likelihood, he's telling this joke to enjoy his life, not because he's looking for your approval that he's funny.


The stunt double put himself into the low-power, high-warmth bracket with his behavior and antics. He made himself someone who's forgettable because he didn't make himself stand out as one of the leaders or one who commands respect. He instead turned himself into a cheap, inauthentic version of Kevin himself. And, I say that with empathy and understanding.

His intention was similar to what would have been my own, to advance my career by being a value-adding individual to those around me. The only difference is that he chose to try and add value by amplifying Kevin's jokes. And, that made him come across like someone suffering from "guilt & idealization" in "How submissiveness looks — Low Self-Esteem". He looked like he wanted to be Kevin Hart, not add value to him. And, as a result, he ended up as someone more value-taking (and annoying) than value-adding.

Unluckily, a missed opportunity to advance his career given that this video was shown to tens of millions of people. Another reason to be grateful for the learner's mindset.


The last thing I want to do here is make assumptions. I don't want to go so far as to jump to conclusions on why the director chose not to "reel it in" like the host did here and even followed Kevin's lead despite being the one in charge. I will say that one concern any director has is being able to finish their production. And, that is unachievable if you lose your lead actor.

So, it could be that the director was looking to keep rapport and the relationship smooth by avoiding ruining Kevin's joke in front of his Instagram viewers. There is, after all, the added social pressure of over 100M Instagram followers reacting to how you treat and deal with Kevin in this situation. Yet, that's all the more reason to act as high-quality as possible.


The stunt double could have been himself. That's a way to separate yourself from Kevin since he put himself into Kevin's shadow with his behavior.

Both the director and the stunt double could have followed the rules of dealing with Jesters:

  1. Don't kiss up to them
  2. Only laugh if you feel like it
  3. Don't be take yourself too seriously

*Note: I might be missing one, refer back to PU or the TPM blog for more details on the Jester style of dominance.

And, both would have maintained some of their power as a result.

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Lucio Buffalmano