vegetables

Does Kevin Hart Know How an Onion Works? A Vulture Investigation

Kevin Hart. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Yesterday, Kevin Hart followed up his Good Morning America interview with a late-night appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and even though he told Michael Strahan yesterday that he’s “over it” when it comes to addressing his old homophobic tweets and questionable history of apologizing for them, Colbert didn’t let that get in the way of asking Hart about the controversy.

Hart told the host during the interview that he’s “over it” — so over it, in fact, that he repeated the phrase four separate times. When asked if he’d handle anything differently if he could go back in time to a month ago, Hart said no. And then he said this: “It’s an onion, so no matter how many times you keep peeling it, it’s just endless. If you keep peeling it, it just doesn’t stop. There is no end to it.”

People on Twitter — including writer, comedian, and famously nice guy Josh Gondelman — were quick to point out that Hart’s take on onions was … confusing:

No matter what you think about Hart’s history of homophobia and apologies thereof, I think we can all agree that Kevin Hart’s Eternal Onion Theory is fascinating. Setting aside the most controversial aspects of this whole story, I decided to put the comedian’s allium theory to the test.

To start, I headed to my local grocery store and purchased the largest onion available. I found a white onion that was notably bigger than all the others, so I grabbed it and headed home to begin peeling. The onion cost $2.37. Here’s the before photo, with a quarter for scale:

The onion, pre-peeling. Photo: Megh Wright

The layers were very thin until I got to the fourth one, which was followed by a thin membrane-type layer beneath it that I decided not to count as a separate layer:

Four layers in, with no end in sight … yet. Photo: Megh Wright

When I got past the sixth layer, it was starting to turn into a real mess. I had onion juice all over my hands, but thankfully, no tears in my eyes. But would this journey ever come to an end? Here we are six layers deep:

A total mess. Photo: Megh Wright

The seventh layer was when things started to get a little difficult. In the beginning I cut a slice down the length of the onion to make peeling easier, but by layer #7, I was now beyond the slice, and the layers had become too thick to peel off in big chunks. Finally I got past the tenth layer:

Almost there … or was I? Photo: Megh Wright

After I peeled off the 11th layer, things got a little interesting, because the onion then revealed to me that there were actually two smaller onions deep inside. I was able to peel one more layer off the smaller mini-onion, while the bigger mini-onion got peeled down three more layers. Here’s what my kitchen counter looked like when I got to the final onion level:

Inside the onion are two smaller onions you can also peel. Photo: Megh Wright

And here are the final mini-onion cores, again with a quarter for scale:

It’s possible — there is an end to this madness. Photo: Megh Wright

The whole ordeal took me about ten minutes and was actually pretty easy despite the smell, the mess, and the fact that I completely wasted a perfectly good root vegetable. But it was worth it for evidence that the Kevin Hart Eternal Onion Theory is, at least in the case of this particular onion, provably false. If we’re counting total layers — including the mini-onion that required the most rounds of peeling — this onion turned out to have 14 layers total. Fourteen is also the number of times Kevin Hart said “I’m over it” during his GMA interview on Wednesday, which I thought was a pretty spooky coincidence.