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Comedian Steve Harvey is a radio and TV show host who has also written relationship advice books.
Actress-Director Rain Pryor talks about how her father Richard Pryor was a comedy pioneer with his raw stand-up performances and honest critiques of race.
Actress-Director Rain Pryor talks about her father Richard Pryor's comedic influences including Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Gleason and Bill Cosby and the comedians who have been inspired by him like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Steve Harvey.
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Steve Harvey got his start in stand-up comedy, which led to TV roles such as host of Showtime at the Apollo and the star of a WB sitcom. He was one of the four comedians featured in the Spike Lee Film The Original Kings of Comedy. He now hosts a syndicated radio show and the TV game show Family Feud.
Comedian, actor, radio host, writer. Born Broderick Steven Harvey in Welch, West Virginia, on January 17, 1957. Steve Harvey was the youngest of five children born to Eloise and Jesse Harvey, a coal miner who passed away in 2000 of black lung disease.
When Steve Harvey was young, his family moved to Cleveland, where he graduated from Glenville High School in 1974 before heading back to his home state to attend West Virginia University. After finishing school, Harvey spent his early twenties working at a number of jobs— insurance salesman, postman, even wannabe professional boxer — without finding anything that really seemed like his true calling. Harvey eventually found that on the stage, performing standup comedy for the first time in 1985. After honing his act through several years of performances in small clubs, he came close to hitting the big time by the end of the decade, making it to the finals of the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search in 1989.
From there, Harvey's career really took off. In 1993, he took over as the host of Showtime at the Apollo, the famed syndicated variety show filmed at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater. Harvey would stay on Showtime at the Apollo until 2000, but his hosting duties on the iconic show were far from the only thing on his plate.
In 1996, he got his own sitcom, The Steve Harvey Show, on the fledgling WB network. One of the few programs to gain any traction at all on the WB before the emergence of Dawson's Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Steve Harvey Show gained a devoted following among a mostly African-American audience and stayed on the air until 2002. The show also proved notable for launching a productive professional partnership between Harvey and a younger comic named Cedric the Entertainer, who played Harvey's best friend on the show and would later join him on a groundbreaking national standup tour.
On that tour, called The Kings of Comedy, Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer joined Bernie Mac and D.L. Hughley on a four-man barnstorming road show that became a surprise nationwide hit. In 1999, The Kings of Comedy became the highest-grossing comedy tour ever to date in the United States, raking in more than $19 million. Harvey and his three sidekicks became national celebrities, a status only heightened by the release of Spike Lee's 2000 documentary, The Original Kings of Comedy, which captured the highlights of a two-night show in North Carolina before a hugely enthusiastic audience. Fans who saw the show on screen felt the same way; the film, which cost only $3 million to make, eventually earned more than $38 million at the box office.
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From the early comedy of Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby to the contemporary routines of Steve Harvey, Mo'Nique, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle, black comedians have often used their wit to become the voice and face of the African-American experience. These legendary comedians have also set a very high bar—not only for African Americans, but for all comics trying to make it in show business. Learn more about these famous jokesters, from their early days to their comic beginnings, to their side-splitting performances and more.
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