Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Steve Harvey Says He’s ‘Seriously Thinking About’ Returning to Stand-Up

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*Steve Harvey believes that he probably has “a better idea about what viewers like than most of the people who make the decisions out here.”

From a talk show to five unscripted series, The Hollywood Reporter’s Unscripted TV Player of the Year is eyeing an ever-wider (and more lucrative) range of programs and Products, the publication reports. 

But just how big can Harvey’s brand get, and will he ever return to stand-up comedy?

“I don’t know that there’s anything that I want to do anymore,” says Harvey. “I want to produce to give other people some shots.”

As noted by THR, the talk show host is the only person in Hollywood starring on shows on three of the big four broadcast networks — game show “Big Shots” and spinoff “Forever Young” on NBC, ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud,” and “Showtime at the Apollo” at Fox — while syndicated mainstay “Family Feud” averages more than 10 million viewers daily.

Check out a few excerpts from Harvey’s conversation with The Hollywood Reporter below. 

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What’s the show where you feel most yourself?

Showtime at the Apollo. That was the first place I was on national TV, as a stand-up, and I eventually became the longest-running host. Nothing would make me walk away from the Apollo. It’s a special place. It requires the greatest skill set, [with] the Apollo audience, to maintain some civility in that room.

Does an outlet like the Apollo scratch the stand-up itch since you retired in 2012 — or do you think about getting back out there?

I’m gonna be honest with you, man. I’ve been really seriously thinking about it. I got a special in me that’s so funny. It’s just about my life, the stuff that I’ve been quiet about on social media. I’ve been quiet about the beating I took about my divorce, which was in 2005 and has been ongoing in social media because somebody just won’t let it go. I’ve been quiet about the visit to [Donald] Trump. I kept my mouth shut about the Miss Universe thing [Harvey mistakenly announced the wrong winner at the 2015 pageant]. I kept my mouth shut about the memo that got out in Chicago. I just kept it all. Well, I may have kept it long enough. But I’m only looking for business opportunities now. I don’t need a one-off. I probably want to do what Rodney Dangerfield did, introduce a lot of really, really tough comedians that I know around the country.

These Netflix deals for stand-up specials are huge. Would you be able to even make that over a year of touring?

It would be hard to make that in a year. I was selling out, but I wasn’t selling out $40 million. The Kings of Comedy made that kind of money, but it was four of us [Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac]. We was doin’ $58 to $62 mil a year. The Kings was huge. But you know how many times we had to go out to get that? [Jerry] Seinfeld, [Chris] Rock, [Dave] Chappelle all got big deals, and I’m very happy for them, but I don’t know, man, if I want to do a one-off. And I gotta spend that three hours before the show feeling like I’m fit to vomit. I don’t miss that part of it. Then, I’ve got to go out there and sweat like a mule from the neck down to my drawers — ’cause that’s where I sweat — and, for an hour and a half, dump myself into this audience. When I walk off the stage, I’m completely done. There’s nothing left in me except to go to my hotel room, take a shower and go to bed.

What’s the last thing that really made you laugh?

Dave Chappelle’s special on Netflix [The Bird Revelation]. I was screaming. I was sitting in my house, throwing stuff at the TV. (Laughs.) Dave, you can’t do that. You can’t apologize to people and make it worse. That’s not an apology. But he knows that. He is a brilliant guy. We were all standin’ in the White House — Chappelle, Rock and me — when Obama was doing his last party there. But we had to leave our cameras downstairs. And we were sitting there going, “I need this picture. When am I gonna see y’all again?” They took our fucking cameras.

When people are so easily offended now, does it make comedy harder?

That’s the one hesitancy I have with going back to stand-up. I’m in a sponsor-driven business, and they keep moving the line of political correctness. It keeps getting closer and closer to where you can’t open your mouth negatively. Throw away freedom of speech. That’s out the window now. The Ku Klux Klan and the skinheads can get a permit to walk down the street to bash Jews, gays, blacks, immigrants, anybody. But if I tell a joke, Procter & Gamble pulls. Once Procter & Gamble pulls, Mercedes gotta pull. Then Kool-Aid. That’s an ugly place to be in. But you can get a permit and put a hood on your head to walk down the street. Really? Regardless as to what our president said, there’s not good people on both sides.

Read the full article at THR.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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