Interview with Steve Harvey of "Showtime at the Apollo" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Steve Harvey

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.

Final Transcript
FBC PUBLICITY: Showtime at the Apollo Ė Steve Harvey
April 30, 2018/2:00 p.m. PDT

Steve Harvey
Alex Gillespie


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 recorded.

Iíll now turn the conference over to Alex Gillespie.

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

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.

Operator 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 numbers.

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.

Iíve never 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.

Mike 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.

They asked 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 Your line is open.

Ny Thank 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 Harlem crowd.

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?

Steve 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 crumbles.

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 being controversial.

Ny Right on. Thank you, sir.

Moderator Weíll go to Lupe Haas with CineMovie. Please go ahead.

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?

Steve 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.

As 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.

Lupe So 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 Shots.

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 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.

Axel Okay, 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 States?

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.

Axel 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 appreciate you.

Moderator Weíll go to Meghan Giannotta with AM New York. Please go ahead.

Meghan 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?

Steve No. 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.

Steve 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 think so.

Meghan Thank you, Steve.

Moderator Weíll go to Jerry Nunn with Windy City Times. Please go ahead.

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.

Everybody 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. Itís okay.

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.

Moderator Weíll go to Shauna Stockman with Hip Hop Weekly. Please go ahead.

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?

Steve 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.

Shauna Itís the great Steve Harvey. Iím nervous.

Steve That 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.

And 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.

Alex We have time for one last question.

Moderator That will be from the line of Corey Tate from Comedy Hype. Please go ahead.

Corey Hi, Steve. First, I just wanted to say congrats on the daytime Emmy. I just read the news about that.

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.

Corey 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, brother.

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, everyone.

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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