Comedian Steve Harvey Credits His Faith in God for Success in Hollywood

( [email protected] ) Jan 19, 2015 12:27 PM EST
Steve Harvey
Comedian Steve Harvey (Photo: Facebook)

Comedian Steve Harvey, 58, is a ubiquitous and bombastic presence on weekday U.S. daytime television, most notably the host of Daytime Emmy award-winning shows "Family Feud" and "The Steve Harvey Show." However, he faced many trials in getting there.

The comedian talked with James Brown in a CBS Sunday Morning segment that aired this week. Although he ultimately gave credit to God for his success in Hollywood, he also noted that his parents played a major role too.

"My father's one single role was to talk to me about manhood," Harvey said. "You work hard. You don't be lazy. My mother was a Sunday School teacher for 40 years. She taught me about God and faith and prayer. That combination has gotten me to where I am today, and I don't doubt that for one minute."

Brown noted that the two constant themes in Harvey's life included God and manhood. His life, according to Brown, had "a lot of ups and an equal amount of downs."

"He dropped out of college, and worked in a series of menial jobs, from assembly line worker to carpet cleaner, before he found his calling," Brown wrote in regards to Harvey.

Harvey explained why he eventually decided to pursue a career in standup comedy.

"I had, like, 11 jobs. I've been fired 11 times!" Harvey said with laughter. "I'm not cut for that. You know, I was a great employee, man. Everybody loved me coming to work -- I'm singing, telling jokes on the assembly line. I was miserable, man. I was dying. I was dying."

Although he won his first "amateur night" in comedy back in 1985, Brown reported that Harvey didn't become successful on the comedy circuit right away, despite the fact the comedian took a risk in quitting his job to pursue standup. Harvey lived out of his car as a homeless man for three years.

"When I look back on it, I couldn't believe it was three years," Harvey said. "I was so intent on getting out. I was working so hard to move forward."

However, at his lowest point, Brown noted that Harvey then remembered a promise he made to God while cleaning up in a hotel public bathroom.

"I told God if he let me make it, when I got there I'd tell everybody how I did it," Harvey said to Brown. "I just told Him, 'If you let me make it, when I get there I'm gonna tell everybody it was you.'"

God must have heard and answered him, because shortly after he made that promise, Brown reported that after having a few other jobs, which included standup roles, Harvey began hosting "Showtime at the Apollo" in New York.

Although Harvey's career in Hollywood was taking off in TV, radio and the comedy circuit, it began to sputter around 2000. It was then when Harvey realized that he also had a gift of providing "blunt relationship advice" to women; he told Brown that the advice came "from failure" in his life.

"God allows your greatest and most valuable lessons to be learned in failure," Harvey said. "I failed at relationships enough times to where -- as a man -- I know how we function and operate. So all I had to do was turn around and tell women that part."

He wrote down all the relationship advice he gave to women in a 2009 book entitled "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man." According to Brown, the book, which sold more than 3 million copies, was turned into a film in 2012 that grossed just under $100 million at the box office.

"Now, I do not know how women think," Harvey commented as a disclaimer. "Now, if I knew that, I'd be a billionaire!"

However, Brown reported that Harvey has faced criticism for "not being Christian enough." Harvey, a self-proclaimed Christian, admitted that while he occasionally used bad language, smoked cigars and drank alcohol, he urged his critics to look at the bigger picture of his life.

"'You supposed to be a Christian, I heard you cussing,'" Harvey said, citing his critics. "Look at me. Look at my life, look where I come from. Look where I am. Now, I don't know what scriptures you use to get where you at, but the one I use is working."

Brown noted that Harvey married his third wife, Marjorie Bridges, in 2007; they have a blended family of seven children together. According to Raphael Chestang of Entertainment Tonight, his family surprised him on his talk show, which celebrated his birthday that happened on Saturday.

"When I'm done, I want you all to just have remembered that somebody cared more about you than himself," Harvey said to his children. "I will defend your honor until I die. This is the greatest moment I've ever had. I'm very proud to be your father."

According to Entertainment Tonight, his hometown of Cleveland renamed East 112 St., the area where he grew up, as "Steve Harvey Way," leaving the comedian thankful to God.

"I learned everything I know about survival on that block," Harvey said. "If that's not God's grace at work, then tell me what is."

Tags : Hollywood, Steve Harvey, celebrity Christianity, celebrity Christian, Steve Harvey Christian, Steve Harvey Christian, faith in God, standup comedy, Family Feud, The Steve Harvey Show, Kings of Comedy, Showtime at the Apollo, self-proclaimed Christian, Christians in Hollywood