Steve Harvey, comedian/actor/writer/radio and TV host will take the stage at the Liacouras Center on Saturday, Nov. 5. But be on notice: Harvey, one of the “Original Kings of Comedy” — alongside Cedric The Entertainer, the late Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley — says this will be his last comedy tour.
“I want to leave while people still want to see me,” he says. “I’m 54 years old and I’ve been doing comedy exactly one-half of my life, and I always wanted to go out on top. I don’t want to wind up back in comedy clubs trying to hang in there. I really like doing the Liacouras Center and other places like that, but right now I’ve decided to spend my time on other things.”
Some of those other things include his nationally syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show,” preparing for his upcoming NBC TV talk show set for 2012, his mentoring program and, of course, his stint as host for TV’s widely popular “Family Feud.” Harvey has served as host for the past two seasons and is now beginning his third.
After many years on the air, Harvey thinks the show remains so popular because anybody can play along. “It’s not like “Jeopardy,” which is a great show, but I can sit and watch that show for two weeks and never get one right answer. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a Harvard graduate to play ‘Family Feud.’ The whole family can play it together.”
Additionally he says, “I think I’m good on the show because I like dealing with ordinary people,” Harvey says. “Appealing to everyday people is how I made the bulk of my living. I’m great at observing. That’s my comedy style. I deal with observational humor, observing everyday people and writing jokes about them. So this show is really good for me because I’m a down to earth kind of a guy anyway.”
Harvey insists “it’s easy for me to relate to ordinary people because I’ve been a working man most of my life and had so many different jobs. I also like to meet people who get so excited about winning $20,000. I get that. People who’ve wanted to be on TV their whole life. I get that, too. I’m able to use all my God-given talent and apply it to the show. And it’s worked out so far.”
In fact, after a slow start, success does seem to have worked out well for Harvey. Born in West Virginia, Harvey’s family later moved to Cleveland. After attending West Virginia University, Harvey spent his early twenties working at a number of jobs including insurance salesman, postman, even wannabe professional boxer, without managing to find his true calling — until he got on stage and did stand-up for the first time in 1985. Several years later, he came close to hitting the big time by making it to the finals of the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search.
But his big break came in 1993 when he took over as the host of “Showtime at the Apollo.” His hosting duties lasted until 2000, but he did other things as well. In 1996, he got his own sitcom, “The Steve Harvey Show,” which gained a mostly African-American audience and stayed on the air until 2002. In 2000, he launched a daily talk radio show, did some TV and film work, and also became a best selling author of relationship advice books, including “Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man,” which is being made into a feature film.
“And the topic of relationships will be the topic of my new talk show,” Harvey explains. “It’s not that I’m an expert on the topic of relationships. In fact, I’m still trying to figure my wife out. Instead, my show will be about empowering women, delving into the positive side of kids, marriage and so on. And it will not be celebrity-driven but deal with regular people who never cancel on you. I never had a family cancel on ’Family Feud,’ but celebrities cancel all the time, and I can’t be sitting around here hoping they show up.”
For times and ticket information, call (215) 204-2400.
The comedians rule this week on “Live! With Kelly,” with D.L Hughley, one of the Original Kings of Comedy, co-hosting, and Philly native Kevin Hart stopping by to wreak havoc while promoting his upcoming feature film “Think Like a Man,” inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling “self-help” book.
On Tuesday, April 17, Hughley joins host Kelly Ripa for a chat with actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and iconic anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall, who stops by to talk about the new DisneyNature film, “Chimpanzee.”
Then, on Wednesday, April 18, Ripa and co-host Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” welcome actress Olivia Wilde as well as Hart, whom according to Steve Harvey, was the first male cast in the highly anticipated “Think Like a Man,” which opens nationwide Friday.
“He’s a genius,” Harvey said during a recent visit for the Philadelphia premiere of “Think Like a Man.” “He’s going to be funny. He’s going to be irritating, but he’s going to be funny,” “I’ve been doing this professionally 27 years. I’ve been the dude that was the funny man all the time. I figured it out. Slow down, wait ‘til they cut you a check, be funny then, and you’ll be a lot less irritating. Kev don’t give a damn! He’s young, he’s feelin’ it. This is how he makes his money, and it’s cool.”
“Live! With Kelly” airs at 9 a.m. weekdays on 6abc.