On this day in comedy on January 17, 1957, Comedian, Radio Personality, Author, TV Host, Broderick Stephen “Steve” Harvey was born in Welch, West Virginia
For Steve Harvey it was comedy or bust. After stints as a boxer, mailman, autoworker, insurance salesman and carpet cleaner, Harvey got into standup in 1985 at Hilarities in Cleveland, Ohio. It wasn’t overnight stardom. He was homeless for years; sleeping in his car when a gig didn’t provide a hotel room for the night and showering at gas stations.
Harvey got a break in 1990 when he became a finalist in the Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search. That got him his job as host of It’s Showtime at the Apollo. That televised showcase got him his deal to do his first sitcom, Me and the Boys in 1994 on ABC. His second sitcom was on the WB, The Steve Harvey Show aired from 1996 to 2002 and was a top show in black households.
Steve Harvey’s popularity translated when he toured as one-fourth of The Original Kings of Comedy. The quartet of Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, Harvey and D L Hughley (Guy Torry was the fourth member and host before leaving to do a TV show and was replaced by Hughley) toured; packing in history-making crowds and setting off a trend that hit other subgroups in comedy, such as The Queens of Comedy, The Original Latin Kings of Comedy, The Latin Divas of Comedy, The Kims of Comedy, Blue Collar Comedy Tour, etc. The pinnacle is when the foursome was recorded by Spike Lee for his concert film in 2000.
The former boxer was out for a knockout. Harvey had his own syndicated radio show. He released his comedy DVD, Don’t Trip, He Ain’t Through With Me Yet and a hip hop and R&B CD. He authored books: Steve Harvey’s Big Time (also the name of a variety show Harvey hosted on the WB from 2003-2005), Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man and Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find and Keep a Man. He’s hosted award ceremonies (including Miss Universe), appeared in films, launched a clothing line, launched a dating website, hosted Family Feud, hosted a self-titled daytime talk show and co-founded The Hoodie Awards (a show recognizing deserving businesses in the black community) along with partner, Rushion McDonald.
Steve Harvey is an 11-time NAACP Image Award winner, a 3-time Daytime Emmy Award winner and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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