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Interview with Steve Harvey of "Showtime
at the Apollo" on FOX 4/30/18
Steve Harvey seems to be everywhere.
Just how many shows does he have? I don't know how to even
count that. At least 5 that I can think of. I wasn't able to
make this call, but it sure is fun to read.
Showtime at the Apollo Ė Steve Harvey
April 30, 2018/2:00
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen,
thank you for standing by and welcome to the Steve Harvey of
Showtime at the Apollo conference call. At this time, all
telephone participants are in a listen-only mode. [Operator
instructions]. As a reminder, the conference is being
Iíll now turn the conference over to Alex
Alex Good morning and thank you, everyone,
for joining us today for the conference call with Steve
Harvey, who as you know is the host of Showtime at the
Apollo. A reminder that Showtime at the Apollo airs on
Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on Fox. Also,
for clips and photos of the show you can go to the Fox Press
website at foxflash.com.
Without further ado, I know
weíre running a little behind so Iím going to turn the call
over to Mr. Harvey and weíre going to start right with
questions and answers.
Steve Okay. Sorry about being
a little bit late folks, but Iíve got a bunch of jobs; they
overlap sometimes, my apologies. Iím ready.
Great. Ladies and gentlemen, once again as a reminder, if
you would like to queue up for a question, youíll press star
then one on the phone keypad. If youíre using a
speakerphone, please pick up the handset before pressing the
Weíll go to Mike Hughes with TV America.
And itís been requested that if you can limit yourself to
one question and one follow-up question. If you do have
additional questions, youíll need to queue up again. Please
go ahead, Mike Hughes.
Mike Okay. Thanks. Just real
briefly, before my question, Steve, when you talk about when
youíve got a bunch of jobs, thatís such an overstatement. Do
you ever think, boy, Iíve got way too many jobs? Whatís it
like to be as busy as you are?
Steve Well, I think
that all the time when I realize that my friends go play
golf twice a week. They do all this other stuff. Theyíre
actually at home barbequing in the middle of the week. Itís
sort of crazy for me.
I just decided that I wanted
to do something exceptional, and the only think I know is
work. Iíve slowly been turning my brand into a global
entrepreneur. It takes work to make dreams come true. I
donít know any other way to do it.
I think itís a
bit overwhelming at times. It is. Itís a lot. There are a
lot of days that I wish I was off, but I canít be. But also
at the same time, Iím really grateful and proud of the fact
that I donít missóIíve been on Family Feud 200 episodes.
This is the ninth year. Iíve never missed a dayónever missed
a show. Iíve been on talk showóthis is the end of the sixth
year. Iíve never missed a show. Never missed Showtime at the
Apollo. Never missed an episode of Little Big Shots, Little
Big Shots: Forever Young, Funderdome.
missed an episode of television, except one episode of
television back in the 90sóThe Steve Harvey Showómy mom
passed. Other than that, Iíve never missed a day. Iím very
grateful for being healthy to be able to work.
Okay, thanks. What I was going to ask is just, real briefly,
to reflect on the very first time you were in the Apollo. I
canít recall if that was as a contestant or as a host but
just reflect on what that was like.
Steve It was
actually my first television appearance as a stand-up. I
met, that night, some guy named Jamie Foxx, who was there
that night. We introduced ourselves to each other; this was
Ď91, I think, Ď90, Ď91. We were both not famous at all.
We sat there and performed that night. It was probably
one of the scariest night Iíve ever had. Itís such a tough
place to play. I went out, got a standing ovation and my
television career was born at Showtime at the Apollo. That
was my very first television appearance.
me to come back a few weeks later. I went back again, did
okay again, and the next time they asked me was, ďMan, you
get such a great reaction, would you sit in for Mark Curry?
Heís going to miss a tape day because heís doing Mr.
Cooper.Ē So, I went back and did it. And after that, they
offered me the job full-time and that began my television
career. So, itís a very, very special place to me.
Mike Thanks a lot.
Moderator Thank you. Weíll go to
Ny MaGee with EURWeb.com. Your line is open.
you. Mr. Harvey, Ny MaGee with EURWeb. Thank you, sir, for
taking our calls today. My first question, speaking of this
very special time and very special place that the show being
at the Showtime at the Apollo is for you, Iím wondering, can
you talk a little bit about the ways youíre inspired by the
talent on the show.
Steve Well, I guess more so than
inspired by them, I just recognize the opportunity that it
is for so many people because it was such an opportunity for
me. And I also can relate to directly to how they must be
feeling, because beforeówhen you rub that log as a
contestant on Showtime at the Apollo, youíre at the mercy of
one of the toughest crowds on planet Earth. I mean, itís
really, really a tough crowd.
And even though Harlem
has changedóyou go during the week when we do the show,
Thursday and Friday mornings, itís like 50-50 black-white.
That was never the case back in the Ď90s. It was 100%
African-Americans sitting in there, when an occasional two
or three people would come but the city has changed so much.
Itís 50-50, until it gets to those late-night shows on
Saturday and Sunday. Then you get more of the authentic
But the crowds are taught really,
really quickly how to act, and so when youíre an act and you
walk out there, itís still a very, very tough place to play.
I try to say something calming to them before they start, as
contestants, but nothing I can say can relax you. Nothing.
Ny Very good. My really quick follow-up question, if you
donít mind, today I was reading an interview you gave with
the Hollywood Reporter, and you mentioned how hosting Apollo
has made you consider getting back into stand-up. And you
talk about a funny special about your life that you hope to
put together, or that youíre thinking about. And Iím
wondering if you can talk a little bit about that. Is that
something that your fans might seeóthis specialówithin the
next year or so, hopefully, fingers crossed?
Well, itís just been a thought of mine. Whatís crazy, man, I
havenít decided yet because itís so politically correct out
here now. Itís so PC. Chapelleís special broke a lot of the
rules, and so did Rock but theyíre not television stars.
And, Iím connected to a radio show and TV thatís very much
sponsor driven. If I had said anything that those two guys
said, and somebody wrote in as a sponsor talking about, I
canít believe he said that, then my whole television empire
So, Iím really scared at this point; Iím
really leery about because itís just so politically correct
out there. And itís unfair for comedy to be that way. Itís
just unfair. What joke can you tell thatís going to make
everyone happy? The joke has to be about somebody. And I
donít know how to write a joke about nobody. I just donít.
Itís got to be something.
So, Iím just thinking
about it. I donít know how to write a joke without saying
something controversial. You canít write comedy without
Ny Right on. Thank you, sir.
Moderator Weíll go to Lupe Haas with CineMovie. Please
Lupe Hi, good morning, Mr. Harvey. I wanted
to know, are you part of the audition process, or do you see
them for the first time on stage? And how do you think
talent has evolved since you were on early on?
Well, no, Iím not involved in picking the talent at all.
Thatís the first time I see them. I may run into them in the
hallway, because they line them up, and I have to go past
them. I may see them in the hallway and give them some words
of encouragement, but thatís as far as it goes.
far as the talentóitís the same. Itís the same. Somebody is
going to come out and sing a song and they nail it. Somebody
is going to come out and sing a song and not understand the
rules of the Apollo. For example, there are some people that
you canít do at the Apollo unless you do it exact. You canít
do Whitney Houston. They do not allow it. You canít do
Michael Jackson. They donít allow it. You canít do Luther
Vandross and you canít do Prince. If you donít nail these
peopleóthey are held at such high esteem. Those are the four
that you cannot come and redo.
You better be on
point. If you miss a note, we know it, and youíre gone. You
canít do Mariah Carey. No one does Chaka Kahn. No one. Donít
even attempt Chaka Kahn. Those are the rules. They come out
there, and itís the same. Itís a tough place to play, but
the talent has been pretty good this year.
your reactions are pretty much genuine when youíre seeing it
the first time as the audience.
Steve Oh, yeah.
Thatís how I do it. Thatís how I do all my shows. I donít
meet the families on Family Feud. I donít come to rehearsals
at Little Big Shots. I donít meet the kids at Little Big
The thing that attracts people to me is my
authenticity. Iím authentic. I just want to be how I really
am without rehearsal. Thatís what makes me work. I want you
to see what Iím thinking on my face, and I donít really try
to hide it.
Lupe Alright. Thank you very much.
Moderator And weíll go to Axel Perez with AxelPerez.us.
Axel, your line is open.
Axel Hello, Mr. Harvey, how
are you doing?
Steve Well I was drinking something
when you asked me, and I didnít want to spit it all over the
phone, so I had to give you the u-huh.
okay. Thank you, and congratulations on Showtime at the
Apollo and all the shows you have done you are still doing
and the work you give to your audience and your fans. Have
you ever thought about going back to the big screen?
Steve The big screen is not for me, really, to tell you the
truth. All of the movies Iíve been inófive or six of
themóthey ask me to come play a certain role. Iíve never
read for a movie. I got it figured out a long time ago; Iím
a TV star. I know that. I make my money on the small screen.
I donít look good. If you blow my face up 25-feet
high, it doesnít look good. Youíve got to keep me out of
theaters. If I looked like Denzel or [indiscernible] or Will
Smith or somebody pretty, you might do that for me. But my
face 25-feet tall, itís scary.
Axel Okay. If you say
so, I believe you. Anything on TV you havenít done that you
would like to do? Youíve been doing almost everything, but
is there still anything that you would like to do?
Steve I think where Iím at right now is my production
company, East 112th Street, I hired this wonderful woman
named Terry Kennedy to head my production company, and what
Iím doing right now is looking for people who have
television ideas, who have special ideas, who have movie
ideas. Because, I want to help as many people as I can with
my power of persuasion and promotion to put out really good
TV and good projects and good specials and become a media
content mogul for everybody, and thatís my goal right now.
Not so much of what else I want to do, but so much of
helping people get good quality TV out there, and I have a
lot of influence, so I might as well take advantage of it.
Axel Right, right. Well itís good to know. Talking
about helping, as a motivational speaker, are you thinking
to do or write another book or tour around the United
Steve Well, Iíve been doing some
motivational speaking, and I have a couple of motivational
books, but I donít like writing books. You have to hire a
writer and then I have to explain to them what I really said
because I speak with a lot of bad grammar and then when the
person writes it, itís not what I said. So the writing
process, I donít enjoy it at all.
But at the same
time, you never know. I could, but no books. Motivational
speaking, I still do it. I do it at my ranch; I do it at
Disney. I was at Villanova recently, last year, for some
people. Iíve spoken at the SALT Convention. Iíve done the
FMI Convention. So, if somebody wants me to be there as a
motivational speaker, Iíd take a look at it.
Well, Mr. Harvey, thank you very much. I wish you all the
best, and of course Iíll be watching you Thursdays at 9 p.m.
on Fox. Thank you very much.
Steve Thank you. I
Moderator Weíll go to Meghan
Giannotta with AM New York. Please go ahead.
Hi, Steve. Like you mentioned, this audience at the Apollo
is notoriously tough. Do you think thatís rooted in the fact
that we have these performers in front of a group of New
Yorkers or that weíre in New York City, which is notoriously
known for being a rough place to make it?
Itís Harlem. Itís Harlem. This is not a Brooklyn. This is
not Queens. This isnít Long Island. This is none of that.
This is Harlem. Harlem is home of the world famous,
legendary Apollo Theater. Itís where dreams are made.
If you consider yourself a great act, and you havenít
been at the Apollo, then you havenít been at the ultimate
proving ground. Bruno Mars, the hottest act out there right
now, he did his last special on CBS at the Apollo Theater
because his father told him, hey look, kid, you can say what
you want to say, but until you do it at the Apollo, I donít
know what to tell you. And his father is an old school
musician, and he knew that.
So, itís just Harlem.
Itís a proving ground. Itís a tradition, over 80 years old,
80 years this building has been up doing it like this. Itís
crazy. Itís a tough place to be.
Meghan Are there any
performers this season that stood out in your mind the most?
Steve There have been some good ones. There has been
some funny stuff. When people donít make the cut, thatís the
show. Weíre letting you know, you really need to stay with
your day job. You donít have a future at this, and weíre
here so you donít waste a lot of peopleís time. But then at
the same time, we love to see somebody hit it over the wall.
A lady came and did a Whitney Houston song and hit it over
the wall, which is so hard to do. So, there are a lot of
great moments; I donít really have one favorite.
Meghan I donít know if you remember, but there was an
orthodontist, Matthew Hashimoto, from New York City, who
came on, and you were really impressed by it.
He blew it out of the water. This cat could sing, for real.
He has one of the best voices Iíve heard. This dude was
incredible, incredible. I think I had him on my talk show, I
Meghan Thank you, Steve.
Weíll go to Jerry Nunn with Windy City Times. Please go
Jerry Hi, Steve. I was wondering what your
opinion was on the diversity that was on this season. We had
the first lesbian contestant and quite a variety. What did
you think of them?
Steve Itís really great because
thatís the world we live in. Weíre in a diverse world.
Because people have ignorant thoughts, we canít allow those
ignorant thoughts to prevail anymore. This world is of a
diverse climate. Weíve got to get with it.
is amongst each other. I donít care if youíre Republican,
you can quit all this stuff aboutóitís amazing how political
this world is. It kind of makes me sick a little bit. Weíre
the Conservative Party, we donít believe in abortion, we
donít believe in a womanís rights, we donít believe in gay
marriage. Stop. Stop. Republicans have abortions.
Republicans are gay. What are we talking about here?
This is crazy. Itís a diverse world. Letís get with it.
Letís learn to accept one another because people arenít
going anywhere. Iím going to be black until I die. Iím here.
Itís okay. If you talk to me, you donít have to be black.
Jerry We miss you in Chicago. Is there
anything that you really miss about being in Chicago now?
Steve The food and the audiences were really, really
good. The audiences in Chicago were really good and the food
was amazing. I do not miss six below zero. Iíll tell you
what drove me out of Chicago was year before last, they
invented a new cold and itís called the vortex. When they
did that, I said, okay, you all win.
Jerry Well come
back and visit. Thank you so much, Steve.
Weíll go to Shauna Stockman with Hip Hop Weekly. Please go
Shauna Hi, Steve. One of the things that has
impressed me most with you is that it is very, very hard to
find family friendly programming in 2018. You are probably
one of the only people that consistently fosters inclusive
family programming. Is that on purpose?
Conscientious decision, and who am I to correct anybody how
to talk. Thatís amazing. Iíve never known a word that
anybody else didnít know, so congratulations.
Itís the great Steve Harvey. Iím nervous.
was the first time that I knew a word that someone else
didnít. Thank you for allowing me to show a little bit of
intelligence that I have left.
It is a conscious
decision because as I saw what was happening in television
about nine years ago, I said, you ought to just go outside
of where everything is going because I saw this reality
stuff coming and I saw it getting a little bit more raunchy
and a little bit more raunchy. And I just decided when I did
Family Feud that was going to be the beginning.
I get offered everything. Somebody told me one timeósomebody
said, ďWow, Steve, it seems like everything you touch turns
to gold. I said, ďNo. I just donít touch everything.Ē Thatís
what I learned to do. Bishop Jakes [ph] taught me that. So,
I started watching very carefully.
So, I can do
Family Feud. I can do Celebrity Family Feud. I can do a talk
show daytime. I can do Showtime at the Apollo. I can do Big
Shots: Forever Young. I can do Funderdome. And I can make it
work because, guess what, how many times have I heard people
say, Iím so glad that I can just sit down with my family and
watch something. And so thatís the niche, and I have to
always remember that about me.
Shauna Well, that is
one of the things that really sticks out in my mind about
you. The second thing that sticks out about you is your
sense of style, sir.
Steve Yeah, blue cheese.
Shauna Now, do you dress yourself, or do you have a stylist?
Steve Well, I have a stylist because I have to dress up
so much but I pick out all the fabrics for my suits when I
have them made. Now, I have a guy that goes shopping for me.
He knows what I like. His name is Will Phoenix, and he buys
shirts and ties for me when I donít get the shirts made. But
thatís really what I do. Heís a great guy; heís smart, and
he knows how I dress. Thatís how I got the nickname Blue
Cheese. They call me Blue Cheese because I be dressing.
Oh yeah. I know that threw a lot of you. Put it on
paper: I be dressing.
Shauna Thank you.
We have time for one last question.
will be from the line of Corey Tate from Comedy Hype. Please
Corey Hi, Steve. First, I just wanted to
say congrats on the daytime Emmy. I just read the news about
Steve Hey, did you see my daughter went up and
got it for me?
Corey Oh yeah. You werenít available
to go get your award?
Steve No, itís not that Iím not
available. My wife and daughter said you canít go to anymore
award shows because when you donít win, you donít know how
to fix your face. So, I sent my daughter instead.
Corey Thatís a great tactic. I wanted to jump into the
reason you won the Emmy for hosting your daytime show. Now,
youíve been doing a lot of hostingóFamily Feud, you say
youíve done 200 episodes, youíve never missed a show; youíve
done Little Big Shots, youíve never missed a show and now
youíre back at Showtime at the Apollo. You started in
stand-up, but was hosting something that youíve always
wanted to do with your career?
Steve What a lot of
people donít know is I started a comedy room in Dallas in
1988, Ď89 called Voocoo Ray [ph], and I hosted it. And then
I had my own comedy club that I opened in Dallas in Ď91,
called Steve Harveyís Comedy House, and I hosted it. And I
learned that hosting is a specialized talent because you
have to be gracious. Most people are not successful hosts
because they make the show about them. Itís really about the
other person. You have to be gracious when people are
succeeding. Now if theyíre losing, you can do your thing.
But Iíve always hosted.
Then when I became host of
Showtime at the Apollo, I had so much experience bringing up
acts at this one-nighter club that I had in Dallas and my
own comedy club, I became good at it. Thatís why when we
went to the Kings of Comedy, we were actually struggling
with the order of the show because the first year it was
just me, Sid, and Bernie, and then when we added DL Hughley
we needed to get a host, and I volunteered to host the Kings
of Comedy because I knew as the host, of the guys with the
skillset, I probably had the better skillset and most people
donít want to host because it takes away from their length
of time on the stage, because youíre up there in spots and
spurts. That doesnít bother me.
Corey Right. Now,
jumping back into Kings of Comedy, there were talks of an
original Kings of Comedy biopic floating around. Is that
something that you would be interested in doing?
Steve Yeah, in a way, but they would have to include Bernie
some kind of way. It was ten years after we stopped touring
that Bernie passed. We had just started talking about it,
maybe doing a big reunion, but when Bernie passed, that
killed it. None of us, me, Sid or DL, wants to ever do the
Kings of Comedy without Bernie. That was our guy. He was our
dude. Without him, itís just not the same.
Right. Well, Steve, thank you so much for your time. I
really appreciate you taking the time for our call here at
Comedy Hype and thank you so much.
Steve Thank you,
Alex Thank you to Mr. Steve Harvey for
taking the time to do the conference call for Showtime at
the Apollo, which airs on Thursday nights. Thank you so
much. That concludes our conference call today. Thank you,
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, this
concludes the teleconference. We thank you for using AT&T
Executive TeleConference Service. You may now disconnect.
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