Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Hart are two of the funniest people in pop culture right now. Scroll through the former NBA center and Basketball Hall of Fame member’s Instagram and you’ll discover a gold mine of comedy. Then there’s Hart, the stand-up comedian and hilarious Hollywood hit at the box offices.
Needless to say, when O’Neal and Hart unite they send entire audiences on the floor dying of laughter. The same can be said when one impersonates the other. That’s especially true on a show like Saturday Night Live, which has produced timeless skits like the Peyton Manning United Way sketch, John Belushi Olympics bit and the ‘Hans and Franz’ weightlifting duo.
However, the peanut-sized Kevin Hart impersonating one of the tallest NBA players ever (and needing stilts to do so) is still one of the funniest skits the show has produced in recent memory.
Kevin Hart’s History of Making Fun of Shaq
Before diving into the SNL skit, it’s worth mentioning Hart and Shaq’s relationship.
Hart and the big fella appear to have been friends for quite some time and love joking with each other. The comedian once showed everyone in the audience — including Shaq and LeBron James — at his stand-up special how the Giant sequoia-sized Sasquatch looked when he fell during games.
The 15-time All-Star and former Los Angeles Lakers center seemed to love the joke judging by his reaction. Also, Hart’s depiction of the former LSU standout is spot-on.
Shaq Once Rocked Kevin Hart Like a Baby
Back in 2011, Shaq made a special guest appearance on the Jay Leno Show and made Justin Timberlake and Kevin Hart look like small children.
But the funniest part was when the 324-pound Shaq lifted the 141-pound Hart in the air and rocked him like a baby. Clearly, these two know how to have fun when they’re around each other.
Hart doesn’t appear to let his short stature get him down. Two years later, he posted a hilarious picture on Instagram of him standing next to Shaq, or at least half of the NBA star…
Kevin Hart’s SNL Shaq Impersonation
Comedian Kevin Hart hosted SNL in 2017, and one of his best bits was when he impersonated a man nearly two feet taller than he.
Hart plastered a (very obvious) bald cap on his head and made fun of Shaq’s intelligence and low voice while and poking fun at his Shaq-isms. Joined by Ernie Johnson (Alex Moffat), Kenny Smith (Chris Redd) and Charles Barkley (Kenan Thompson) as a recreation of TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Hart nailed his Shaq impersonation.
Shaq (Hart) and Barkley (Thompson) exchange insults and odd sayings. They discuss the Alabama senate race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore, during which Shaq (Hart) mistakes the word “senate” for the phrase “send it.”
Here are some of Hart’s best lines:
- “Happy holidays. Merry Christmas. Very merry. If you’re Jewish, happy harmonica.”
- “Every dog has its day, but it’s nighttime. No time for dogs. Dogs go to sleep. So it’s cat time. Cats come out at night. Freaks come out at night. Shaq a freak.”
- “I love the senate. I write a email. Hit the send button. Boom, send it.”
- “Because when you get a long, you go along. And when you go along, you tag along. And Shaq loves tag-a-longs. Best girl scout cookies: tag-a-longs. The Shaq of cookies. Ahhh.”
The whole skit was already funny before Hart challenges his co-host to a game of one-on-one basketball. When the 5-foot-4 comedian gets up out of his chair for the first time, it’s clear Hart is supported by stilts.
“Man, look at you,” Chuck (Thompson) said, “tall body with little arms? You look like the letter ‘F’ came to life!”
For the record, this looks entirely like something that would happen in real life on this show. Honestly, we could use more Kevin Hart impressions of NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL players.
The impression was hilarious to NBA fans and viewers at home, but Shaq Diesel also found it funny.
“You a fool for this one #laughatmypain #senseofhumor #laughatyourself,” Shaq wrote on Instagram.
Awesome stuff from both the tall person and small person.