Comedian and TV host Steve Harvey is renowned for his effortless ability to interact with the general public. And he once again showed how much of a people’s person he really is in 2017 when he was asked to dance by a member of his studio audience. Here’s how the grandma in question gave Harvey more than he bargained for.
Born in the West Virginia city of Welch in 1957, Steve Harvey took the long way round to becoming one of America’s most popular family-friendly entertainers. Indeed, insurance salesman, mailman and autoworker were just a few of the jobs he held down following his university graduation. He also briefly competed as a boxer.
Harvey first began performing on the stand-up circuit at the relatively late age of 28. Sadly, the star was homeless for much of this early showbiz period. Indeed, he was often forced to spend the night in his 1976 Ford when accommodation hadn’t been provided by the comedy club that he was performing at.
However, things began to look up for Harvey when he reached the 1990 final of the Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search. The stand-up was subsequently appointed as the host of televised talent show It’s Showtime at the Apollo. And in 1994 he was cast as the lead in ABC sitcom Me and the Boys.
Two years later, Harvey landed his very own eponymous sitcom. Airing on The WB, The Steve Harvey Show saw the star play a high-school music teacher who had previously enjoyed fame in the 1970s as a funk musician. It lasted six seasons and a whopping 122 episodes before finishing its run in 2002.
Harvey still continued to pursue his stand-up career during this period. He was a regular on the Kings of Comedy tour, which Spike Lee documented for a popular movie. He also ventured into the music industry by forming his own record label and recording an album of R&B and hip-hop.
In 2003 Harvey returned to The WB for variety show Steve Harvey’s Big Time and appeared alongside Beyoncé and Cuba Gooding Jr. in rom-com The Fighting Temptations. He then added best-selling author to his list of talents with Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. The dating advice book inspired the big-screen comedy Think Like A Man.
And Harvey’s one-man empire didn’t end there. During the ’00s, he also hosted a self-titled syndicated morning radio show, founded his own clothing line and served as the host of Disney Dreamers Academy. This was an event designed to enrich the youth of America staged at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort. But it was when Harvey moved into daytime TV that he became something of a national treasure.
Indeed, in 2010 Harvey was appointed as the host of Family Feud. In the space of just two years, the comedian helped to push the game show to No.2 on the most-watched syndicated daytime TV list. Its success also inspired ABC network bosses to revive a celebrity version in 2015.
In 2012 Harvey said goodbye to the world of stand-up with a farewell show at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. He told the audience, “The road to this final show has been an amazing journey, doing stand-up for the past 27 years. And I can’t thank fans enough after reflecting on all those years on stage.”
Workaholic Harvey also landed his very own eponymous chat show in 2012, which largely focused on human interest stories. Following its cancelation, the comedian decided to concentrate more on comedy and showbiz for a new syndicated talk show, simply titled Steve. By this point, Harvey had also expanded his self-help empire with the launch of an online dating service named Delightful.
You were barely able to switch on your TV screens in the ’10s without seeing Steve Harvey’s face. Alongside his hosting duties on Family Feud and his chat shows, the comedian also presided over two Showtime at the Apollo revivals and a Fox New Year’s Eve special, which became the network’s most popular ever. And then there’s the Miss Universe presenting gig, which in 2015 left Harvey with a red face.
Indeed, in 2015 Harvey went viral for all the wrong reasons when he read out the wrong name as the Miss Universe winner. The star incorrectly stated that Miss Colombia had emerged victorious when in fact she had been placed second. After much confusion, Miss Philippines was crowned the rightful champion.
And Harvey’s personal life has been just as eventful as his professional. He’s been married on no less than three occasions and has a total of seven children. He first walked down the aisle with Marcia Harvey, the mother of his son Broderick and twin daughters Karli and Brandi. After their divorce, Harvey had son Wynton with his second wife Mary Shackelford.
But sadly it wasn’t a case of second time lucky, and the pair split in 2005. Harvey then entered into a relationship with the woman he credits with turning his life around: Marjorie Bridges. The star also became a stepfather to her three children, Jason, Lori and Morgan, when the pair wedded in 2007.
And no doubt that their first dance was a sight to behold. Indeed, Harvey certainly hasn’t been afraid to bust a few moves during his TV career. In 2014 he invited Derrion Simmons, a.k.a. Dlow, on to his chat show to showcase the dance craze that had swept Chicago. And, of course, the comedian couldn’t resist from getting in on the action too.
And Harvey didn’t waste the opportunity to dance with a professional during an episode of Celebrity Family Feud in 2015. Indeed, during a chat with Karina Smirnoff, the Dancing with the Stars regular enquired about the host’s “amazing moves.” Harvey then took Smirnoff for a twirl on the studio floor and subsequently received a 10 from the other contestants.
A few years later, Harvey was put through his paces by a young Irish dancer named Oscar while presenting talent show Little Big Shots. The member of the troupe known as Clearly Irish Dance insisted that the move he was teaching was only a beginner’s one. But much to the amusement of the studio audience, Harvey still found it hard to get to grips with.
And that’s not the only time Harvey has joined a Little Big Shots star on stage for a quick burst of choreography. He also gatecrashed ventriloquist and America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynne Farmer’s return to the show by throwing a few shapes. Impressively, he simultaneously made his puppet perform a silly dance too.
One of Harvey’s most memorable dance displays came on spin-off show Little Big Shots: Forever Young. Alongside Fred Garbo, a former Sesame Street actor from the Maine town of Norway, the comedian popped on an inflatable suit with hilarious results. Indeed, the pair had the audience in fits of laughter as they bounced around bumping both bellies and butts.
And Harvey isn’t averse to dancing with the odd audience member, either. Indeed, while filming an episode of his self-titled chat show in 2017, he got talking to an 80-something lady who gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. “I can still shake a leg and I would like you to show me some moves,” she told the host.
The lady in question, who was dressed in a bright yellow outfit, was then invited on to the stage by a slightly bewildered Harvey. And she didn’t waste any time getting to grips with her new younger dance partner. Indeed, from the second she hit the studio floor she grabbed Harvey’s waist and began boogieing.
As a burst of funk music began playing in the background, Harvey then gave into the rhythm too. Indeed, much to the studio’s delight, he started shaking hips and twirling his partner around in a manner that suggested they were partaking in a dance competition. And the octogenarian kept up with the host every step of the way.
In a slightly risky move, Harvey then slowly lowered the lady close to the ground while uttering the words, “Watch yourself, Mommy.” And judging by the whoops and hollers from the studio audience, this proved to be the most popular dance move of the night. Harvey’s new dancing partner also seemed to enjoy it too.
The clip in question has since racked up more than half a million YouTube plays. And its viewers have nothing but admiration for the dancing granny. One commenter posted, “I want to be like her when I grow up, and Steve got some mad swing moves. I love it.” Another user said, “Beautiful lady. She was holding her own with you Steve.”
Others were just as impressed with Steve’s ability to connect with his audience. One viewer posted, “The happiness this man spreads across the faces of everyone… makes me so happy myself. I respect Steve more and more each day for this very reason.” Another proclaimed, “Steve Harvey is a great gentleman.”
Of course, this wasn’t the last time that Harvey would dance on television with someone old enough to be his mother. In 2018 he was filming a special at Disney World when he began talking to 80-year-old audience member Mirna. The octogenarian began discussing her love of ballroom dancing and in particular the Argentine tango.
“Girl, that’s my dance, too,” replied the host. “I would like to have the honor of dancing the Argentine tango with you,” Mirna then revealed. As the audience chanted “Steve, Steve, Steve,” the elderly lady walked onto the studio floor, where she bowled over the host with her sparkly red dress and high-heel shoes.
Mirna then proved that she wasn’t exactly camera shy by stroking Harvey’s bald head and then leaning in for an embrace, ready to start the dance. The 80-year-old then displayed some fancy footwork as the host swayed his hips. The whole thing might not have been as smooth as Harvey’s funk dance, but he was certainly taking it just as seriously.
The pair spent roughly a minute gracefully gliding across the makeshift dancefloor in front of the Epcot’s famous Spaceship Earth sphere. And the audience appreciated every step, giving them a rapturous round of applause as they concluded their Argentine tango in style. In fact, most had risen to their feet when Mirna returned to join them.
And this apparently impromptu dance certainly had quite the effect on the host. “Ladies and gentleman, we are getting married on Saturday,” Harvey joked after sending Mirna back to the audience with a smile on her face. “I’m gonna call [his wife] Marjorie and tell her it’s over,” he added.
As the audience erupted in laughter, Harvey continued with his message to his wife of 11 years. He added, “I’ve met a cougar, and I’m leaving. Tell the kids I’m sorry.” The slightly perturbed host then joked, “Well, I’ll see you all,” as he pretended to make his exit from the stage.
And just as they were with Harvey’s previous dancing granny segment, YouTube viewers were mightily impressed with both parties. “That 80-year-old woman is a seductress. Watch young women, we can learn a lot from her,” one viewer commented. “If dancing Tango is going to make me look like that when I’m 80, I’ll do it!,” claimed another.
Harvey also earned an equal amount of praise for his moves on the dancefloor. “Steve you are a good sport, you’re off the chain,” posted one YouTube user. Another noted, “it’s a good thing that Steve grew up in an era when he learned to two-step, and that’s how he could flow. A younger brother wouldn’t have done so well.”
And then there’s the time on Little Big Shots: Forever Young when he was put through his paces by a burlesque dancer. But not just any old burlesque dancer. Indeed, 83 years old at the time, Penny Starr, Sr. had spent the past six decades perfecting the art form and as a result had earned a place in the Burlesque Hall of Fame.
“I’m not a stripper; I’m an exotic dancer,” Starr was keen to point out to Harvey as they chatted on the show’s famous sofa. The veteran dancer, who was crowned the Cotton Club’s Miss Bump-and-Grind way back in 1963, then taught the host a few moves. The most entertaining moment occurred when she demonstrated to Harvey how to “bump the apple, bump the orange and grind the coffee.”
Even when he’s on his quiz show duties, Harvey can’t stop asking ladies of a certain age to dance with him. On a 2015 episode of Family Feud, he invited the oldest member of one particular brood, Edna, to jive with him on the studio floor. And Edna proved that age ain’t nothing but a number by keeping up with the host toe to toe.
And it appears as though Harvey has passed on his love of dancing to his kids. In 2017 daughter Lori joined five other U.S. debutantes at Paris’ yearly Bal des Debutantes. The 20-year-old was escorted by her same-aged stepbrother Wynston at the event. And their proud dad later posted a picture of the pair on the dancefloor on his various social media accounts.
And in a 2019 interview with Variety, Harvey suggested that there should be plenty of opportunities to see him busting a move in the near future. Indeed, the star revealed that he’s interested in expanding his work through video-sharing platforms such as YouTube. And this was due to the sheer number of viewers that viral clips such as his granny dances can amass.
He told Variety, “That’s money right now. There’s no delayed gratification. That money shows up now and goes into your account. I’ve just got to figure out how to have a damn dance-off everyday.” Considering his obvious enthusiasm for cutting a rug on the small screen, that’s unlikely to be too much of a tall order.