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Fond, emotional farewell for Steve Harvey standup finale

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Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 1:15 pm

Before a single punchline had been delivered, “King of Comedy” Steve Harvey was met with a standing ovation. He was taking the stage at the Chaifetz Arena Friday night for one of his final performances in the lane that made him a household name.

He stood before the crowd as a best-selling author, nationally syndicated radio host, sitcom star or game show host. But on this night he was traveling back to his roots. Harvey was down the comedy road for what he says is the last time in a select-city mini-tour to give his fans one last dose of laughter.

“When I decided to do this, I knew I had to come here,” Harvey said to the packed arena. “I’m in St. Louis because of Joe Torry – and because of my main man Cedric. Without Cedric The Entertainer I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Nearly overcome with emotion as he thanked Cedric and God for blessing him with a 27-year career in comedy, it was hard to tell what was to come as far as the actual act.

His bottom lip trembled, he fought back tears and he praised God. But once he composed himself he jumped right into a routine fit for a King of Comedy.

Harvey left the kind of impression one could only hope for as he hangs up the microphone – one that warranted nonstop laughter and praise.

He wrestled between hilarious bits and bouts with raw emotion as he constantly reflected on his nearly three decades in stand-up game – and the idea of not performing any more.

“The closer I get to the end, the harder it gets,” Harvey confessed. “It’s been an incredible ride – and I thank y’all. Hollywood expected ‘Think Like a Man to do $31 Million total. But Think Like a Man did $33 million its first week and $91 million and counting because of y’all. God is on one y’all.”

But in between praise reports was a profanity laced laugh fest that had fans all but buckled over as he talked about everything from the Waffle House, church, miracles, the Department of Motor Vehicles to childhood memories as a poor skinny boy from Cleveland nicknamed potato chip living in a crammed two-family flat with big dreams of being on the small screen.

His set was as much a memoir laced narrative as it was a traditional comedy routine.

And as a confessed “new Christian,” infused messages of hope and inspiration were authentically woven into his profanity laced presentation – and it absolutely worked.

“Support your kids,” Harvey said. “Because you have no idea who you’ve given birth to.”

His own childhood and his father’s encouragement of a then 10-year-old Steve Harvey’s all but implausible desire to be on television

“Because of what my daddy said to me back then, you can turn on the TV and see me today,” Harvey said, while choking up.

The show was equal parts light and heavy, and as he told his jokes – or as Harvey said ‘reported the news’ one couldn’t help but feel inspired and grateful as he took one of his last bows in St. Louis.

“Thank y’all for all of the years and thank you for Cedric,” Harvey said as if he were talking to the entire city of St. Louis. “When I chose to do the Steve Harvey Show picking Cedric made all of the difference in the world.”

The crowd erupted.

“I have two dates left and every time I get up here towards the end it gets tougher and tougher,” Harvey said. “But I’m so glad that I can walk away while y’all are still clapping.”

Harvey could barely contain himself as he received special recognition from Alderwoman Marlene Davis and delivered an acceptance speech that could have served as a mini-sermon.

“Put God first,” Harvey said. “Trust in his will. If you obey him with a little bit of your time he will give you more than you can imagine. I am a living witness of what can happen if you accept God’s will. His will is more than anything you can dream of for yourself.”

Before a single punch line had been delivered, “King of Comedy” Steve Harvey was met with a standing ovation. He was taking the stage at the Chaifetz Arena Friday night for one of his final performances in the lane that made him a household name.

He stood before the crowd as a best-selling author, nationally syndicated radio host, sitcom star or game show host. But on this night he was traveling back to his roots. Harvey was down the comedy road for what he says is the last time in a select-city mini-tour to give his fans one last dose of laughter.

“When I decided to do this, I knew I had to come here,” Harvey said to the packed arena. “I’m in St. Louis because of Joe Torry – and because of my main man Cedric. Without Cedric The Entertainer I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Nearly overcome with emotion as he thanked Cedric and God for blessing him with a 27-year career in comedy, it was hard to tell what was to come as far as the actual act.

His bottom lip trembled, he fought back tears and he praised God. But once he composed himself he jumped right into a routine fit for a King of Comedy.

Harvey left the kind of impression one could only hope for as he hangs up the microphone – one that warranted nonstop laughter and praise.

He wrestled between hilarious bits and bouts with raw emotion as he constantly reflected on his nearly three decades in stand-up game – and the idea of not performing any more.

“The closer I get to the end, the harder it gets,” Harvey confessed. “It’s been an incredible ride – and I thank y’all. Hollywood expected ‘Think Like a Man to do $31 Million total. But Think Like a Man did $33 million its first week and $91 million and counting because of y’all. God is on one y’all.”

But in between praise reports was a profanity laced laugh fest that had fans all but buckled over. He talked about everything from the Waffle House, church, miracles, the Department of Motor Vehicles to childhood memories as a poor skinny boy from Cleveland nicknamed potato chip living in a crammed two-family flat with big dreams of being on the small screen.

He even took a dig at St. Louis when fans balked at the idea of him growing up with more than a dozen family members in one apartment – with one bathroom.

“I’ve been riding through this raggedy [expletive],” Harvey said. “And you better not be from East St. Louis, because East St. Louis look like Beirut – it ain’t a building over there that ain’t boarded up.”

He made no apologies for the adult content either.

“This here is the real me,” Harvey said. “What you see on ‘Family Feud’ is that other money.”

His set was as much a memoir laced narrative as it was a traditional comedy routine.

And as a confessed “new Christian,” infused messages of hope and inspiration were authentically woven into his profanity laced presentation – and it absolutely worked.

“Support your kids,” Harvey said. “Because you have no idea who you’ve given birth to.”

His own childhood and his father’s encouragement of a then 10-year-old Steve Harvey’s all but implausible desire to be on television

“Because of what my daddy said to me back then, you can turn on the TV and see me today,” Harvey said, while choking up.

The show was equal parts light and heavy, and as he told his jokes – or as Harvey said ‘reported the news’ - one couldn’t help but feel inspired and grateful as he took one of his last bows in St. Louis.

“Thank y’all for all of the years and thank you for Cedric,” Harvey said as if he were talking to the entire city of St. Louis. “When I chose to do the Steve Harvey Show picking Cedric made all of the difference in the world.”

The crowd erupted.

“I have two dates left and every time I get up here towards the end it gets tougher and tougher,” Harvey said. “But I’m so glad that I can walk away while y’all are still clapping.”

Harvey could barely contain himself as he received special recognition from Alderwoman Marlene Davis and delivered an acceptance speech that could have served as a mini-sermon.

“Put God first,” Harvey said. “Trust in his will. If you obey him with a little bit of your time he will give you more than you can imagine. I am a living witness of what can happen if you accept God’s will. His will is more than anything you can dream of for yourself.”

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