Steve Harvey on Trump, Hollywood Diversity and More

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The comedy mogul dishes on the GOP’s presidential frontrunner, the diversity conversation in Hollywood, and much more.

Steve Harvey knows the power of entertainment value. The self-made comedian, actor, author, and TV personality was once homeless, as his modern media legend has it. Now? He’s worth a reported $100 million.

His book on dating advice was adapted into Screen Gems’ hit comedy Think Like A Man. Harvey, 59, even has his own line of Steve Harvey suits designed to reflect his own outré sense of style, in case you’d like to dress the part.

In the past month he even managed to squeeze broadcast lemonade out of one of the biggest gaffes in live television history by hosting Miss Universe winner Pia Wurtzbach and Colombia’s Ariadne Gutierrez, the runner-up he legendarily crowned by mistake—then uncrowned, as the world watched—on his Steve Harvey talk show.

The mustachioed showman scored record ratings from the stunt, of course, while his other TV gig on a little game show called Family Feud, whose stages he’s energized since 2010, also enjoyed a historic ratings bump—no doubt thanks, in part, to Harvey’s spike in notoriety.

Ringing The Daily Beast from Miami to chat up his endorsement of Green Dot, Harvey weighed in on a host of current events beyond December’s Miss Universe controversy—like, for example, the beauty pageant’s former head honcho-turned-presidential hopeful.

“Donald Trump—we’ve seen nothing like him in politics before,” said Harvey, who previously supported Obama’s run for the White House. “He’s very entertaining to me. I’ve got to tell you, I can’t take my eyes off of the man when he’s talking—mostly because I can’t believe he’s saying what he’s saying out loud.”

He continued, a mischievous laugh on the tip of his tongue. “But I like him, personally. I do! I think he’s exciting for politics. Politics haven’t been this exciting in a long time—or as confusing, ever, in the history of it. I think Donald Trump not being a politician is making a lot of people nervous who are politicians.”

Trump acts more like an envelope-pushing stand-up than a proper public servant, observed the onetime King of Comedy.

“He uses words that politicians aren’t supposed to use,” said Harvey. “He called everybody up there stupid the other day. ‘You’re stupid.’ I didn’t know you could say ‘stupid’ as a politician! As a comedian, it works just fine. I’m endorsing him for making this fun to watch, but I’m not endorsing Donald Trump.”

Harvey did volunteer last fall to run on the Kanye 2020 ticket—although of course, that was before ‘Ye name-checked Harvey’s Miss Universe flub in the same breath as Bill Cosby’s rape allegations in his new track “Facts.” As we chat, Harvey forgoes a running mate and declares his casual interest in the presidency.

“If Donald Trump becomes president, then I’m running,” said Harvey. “Because then obviously background checks have gone out the window. How do you let a dude who was on the cover of Playboy Magazine and has been married 18 times be your president? Now come on. Hell, then I qualify.”

He considered the potential. “Donald Trump gets in, I’m next.”

Decades of pounding the pavement as a stand-up helped lay the foundation for the media empire Harvey’s since amassed. The three-time Emmy winner considered Hollywood’s current debate over diversity in entertainment, voicing his bigger picture concerns over the roots of racial bias.

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Source: The Daily Beast | JEN YAMATO

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