An energized crowd filled the street outside of the Regal Cinemas in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night, awaiting the arrival of comedy’s newest dynamic duo, Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. The carpet at L.A. Live was transformed with back to school vibes, including lockers, a trophy case and the essence of a high school hallway, setting the stage for the premiere of “Night School.”
In “Night School,” Hart needs to get his GED to keep his life on track, and finds Haddish as the no-nonsense teacher determined to make him earn it.
The high energy ensemble cast assured it was non-stop laughs throughout production, but the combination of Hart and Haddish was pure magic to film with.
For executive producer James Lopez, it was his fifth project with Hart and his second project with Haddish, coming off of last summer’s smash hit “Girls Trip.” He was quick to point the friendship between the two stars as the core of “Night School.”
“Their chemistry is amazing on screen and it’s because of their personal relationship,” Lopez told Variety. “They came up as comics together, in the scene. No one improvises like they do.”
“It is truly the funniest people working right now,” said Taran Killam. “It felt more like camp than like work.”
For Killam, the “SNL” alum who stars in the upcoming TV series “Single Parents,” it was director Malcolm D. Lee (“Girls Trip”) who had his hands full. “I’ll give Malcolm all the credit,” Killam said. “He did a really masterful job containing, but not strangle-holding the cast.”
“For me, my goal, you gotta cast really funny people and that way everyone can elevate their game,” Lee told Variety. “It definitely gets competitive. We want that though.”
“Ensemble comedies are very tough, and nowadays especially, nobody’s coming out of their house to go see one,” he added. “So I wanted to make sure we had a lot of options in the editing room.”
When it came on set antics and who would get the last laugh, it was Haddish who took the crown.
“We had our ‘Night School’ crew, but then of course, our teacher is Tiffany Haddish,” Mary Lynn Rajskub (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Girlfriend Experience”) said. “She comes in and kind of just blows the lid off. She’s not messing around. You cannot mess with her and you cannot take your eyes off her.”
For Anne Winters (“13 Reasons Why”), it was entire cast that kept raising the stakes. “You can sense some people tried to one up each other with their jokes,” she admitted. “You just go with it.”
After the screening, the cast and crew ventured to an after party that was equal parts senior prom and graduation night. On hand for the festivities were DJ Khaled, Fat Joe and Jalen Rose. Hart and Haddish held court for champagne toasts and school dance photo booth opps.