Final standup tour is bittersweet for Steve Harvey

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A king of comedy is taking his last bow on the stage in Augusta this weekend.

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Steve Harvey taped an HBO special in Augusta in 1996.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Steve Harvey taped an HBO special in Augusta in 1996.

Steve Harvey is bringing his Final Comedy Tour to James Brown Arena at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Tickets are $49.50, $46.50 and $39.50 from www.georgialinatix.com, (877) 4AUGTIX.

It will be a bittersweet performance, Harvey said during a telephone interview.

“I’ve learned in life that oftentimes to go to the next level, you have shed something. Usually, when you’re going to a much higher level, the thing that you shed is going to have to be something that you care very deeply about. The thing that I have to let go of at this point in my life is standup,” Harvey said.

Harvey, 55, said he started his professional standup career when he was 27. He’s been doing comedy for half of his adult life, he said.

“In order to go to the next level, to become a motivational speaker, to do a talk show, to move into the teaching portion of my life, I’ve got to let something go to make space. And the thing that I care about the most is standup. As hurtful as it is, that’s the thing I’ve discovered I have to let go of.”

Traveling and performing in comedy shows require entire weekends. Harvey said if he’s on the radio each weekday morning or taping a TV show five days a week, he needs a chance to rest and spend time with his family.

“It’s a bittersweet thing, especially coming to Augusta. Augusta has meant so much to me over the years. I did my first one-hour special in Augusta,” Harvey said.

HBO officials advised him not to tape the special in Augusta because they didn’t think he could fill the audience for two shows. But Harvey moved forward with the taping anyway in August 1996.

“I told them, they’ll come see me in Augusta. I filled up the Bell Auditorium twice. It was my first one-hour special, and it’s been one that I’ve been really, really proud of. Me and Augusta go way back,” he said.

Harvey said he has also filled a comedy theater on Washington Road with Augusta residents on many nights.

“It’s going to be a very hard night for me on the 24th at the James Brown (Arena) to say goodbye to them because they meant a lot to me,” he said.

AS A COMEDIAN, radio personality, author, TV host, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Harvey has been taking the media world by storm.

His new film, Think Like a Man, based on his first book, will be released nationwide April 20 by Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The book on which the film is based, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for 64 weeks. It has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 30 languages. The book has been re-released in paperback and is back on the New York Times Best Sellers List, according to W&W Public Relations Inc.

Since Harvey became the new host of Family Feud in September 2010, the show’s ratings have increased by more than 40 percent. This fall, Harvey will debut his new, syndicated talk show, a one-hour daytime show discussing relationships, parenting, the workplace and other topics. And there’s also his nationally syndicated radio show, Steve Harvey Morning Show, which airs in more than 60 markets and has approximately 7 million weekly listeners.

HARVEY SAID he never expected to achieve this level of success.

“I didn’t really see a lot of this coming. but my life operates on faith,” he said. “I just believe that God can do anything. My life is built on that. The faith that I have is that I’ll always be able to achieve the next level. Did I see the book coming? No. Did I see the book becoming a movie? No. Did I see a talk show happening? No. It’s all been such an amazing ride for me and such a blessing.”

Harvey said his new talk show will be “inspirational, motivational and funny.” The show isn’t celebrity-driven – it will be about everyday people, he said.

“And it’s going to come from a unique perspective. Not a lot of guys on daytime talk have an opinion about anything. I’m a very opinionated person, and I’ll be sharing that on a daily basis. You don’t have to agree with my opinions, but I have the right to say it,” he said.

Harvey stresses to his fans the importance of having faith.

“I want people to know that if you have faith, anything is possible. Because faith is merely the belief in things that you cannot see. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been believing in a whole lot of stuff I could not see. I never lost that belief. I never lost that faith. Faith is the key,” Harvey said.

COMEDY

WHO: Steve Harvey’s Final Comedy Tour

WHEN: 8 p.m. March 24; doors open at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: James Brown Arena

TICKETS: $49.50, $46.50 and $39.50; www.georgialinatix.com, 877-4AUGTIX. Patrons must be 18 years or older.


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