I admire artists for one reason. Through their creative minds and craft, artists offer humanity elixirs that mends our brokenness and rejuvenates our souls. I have noticed in my own life that when when art by way of pictures, music, and laughter is missing from my life, my spirit tends to withers like a plant rooted in the desert. It’s when art is bountiful that my life is full of abundance. I have written many times about musicians and painters, but I have not given full credit to another form of art that is equally important. The art I’m alluding to is the ability to make people laugh and the art that comedians create through jokes.
It was a random conversation with a good friend Chris Garret that prodded me to write this article. Chris told me that Steve Harvey was a source of both laughter and inspiration during his darkest moments. Chris and I are roommates at this sanctuary called Harvest Farm in Wellington, Colorado—both of us came here in dire straights hoping to find redemption and forge a new life. Chris and I share two traits even though we could not be any more different. Chris is a “white guy” from Tennessee with a southern accent to boot; I’m a guy from Ethiopia who was raised in the DC Metro area. Yet we found a common bond through music and the comedians we both appreciate. In a lot of ways, it was music and comedy that healed us during our broken moments.
Chris told me that Steve Harvey was a man he deeply admired because he stayed humble even as he became wealthy and famous. He told me of the ways that Steve Harvey always leads with a prayer that was masked in an inspirational quote and how those words of encouragement gave Chris hope.
“Teddy, if you could only hear how Steve Harvey talks about his wife and the level of admiration and love he has for her,” Chris shared with me. “You can tell that he is a man who has humility deep in his heart.”
When we are born from humble beginnings and choose to remain humble in our spirits, we can be blessed abundantly as we pursue our gifts. Steve Harvey is a testimony of this fact. Born in poverty riddled Welch, West Virginia to a father who was a coal miner and a mother who was a stay at home wife, Steve knew on an intimate basis the struggles of trying to make ends meet and true meaning of hope sandwiches. This is why comedians are so funny; they face hardship early in life and chose to rise above their circumstances through laughter. They realized at an early age that the opposite of laughter in the face of tribulation is a life mired in tears and ennui.
Steve chose defiance by smiling in the face of hardship and found ways to make others laugh in the process. This is a trait that is a common denominator in a lot of comedians; look at their formative years and you will uncover struggles that would have buried millions. The hard times followed Steve Harvey into adulthood as he faced countless bouts of homelessness and hopelessness way before he found the path towards fame. This is what many of us don’t understand in the stars we either adore or scorn from a distance; we see their lives and wish we had it but few of us are willing to walk the pavements full of thorns and thistles that many walked on alone on before being discovered.
Steve Harvey walked on many sidewalks of hardship before serendipity kissed him. His first stand-up comedy was performed back in 1985 at the Hilarities Comedy Club in Cleveland, Ohio. We have choices in life when we find our calling and purpose; we can turn towards pragmatism and refuse to take chances or we can chase our passions and go through the billows and furrows in order to claim our destinies. Steve Harvey chose the latter and boy did he go through endless sacrifices to attain success; he went state to state performing at comedy clubs, many a time his pillows were steering wheels and back seats of a Ford was his mattress. At night he made people laugh; during the days he struggled to find the next meal.
Perseverance and tenacity, Steve Harvey had both in spades in ways that few can muster. Through the rough seas and challenges, Steve Harvey rose above the struggles—in time fame and fortunes came knocking. I have written many times against the rich and powerful who bleed this world but let me make this clear, my beef is not against all who find wealth. There are those who take as they receive and then there are those who give back as they are blessed. Steve Harvey is the latter and it’s for that reason I write this article about him. He remembers the mind bending travels and travails of being homeless and the struggles that it brings. This is why he stayed humble even as his headrest went from steering wheels to goose feather pillows.As I pay homage to Steve Harvey, I’m really paying respects to all the greats in the past and the comedians in the present who continue to make us laugh. Laughter is needed the most in a world that seems to be devolving into the pits of antipathy and animus. Perhaps the answer lies in sharing music, eating, and laughing together. This is what comedians have been providing for as long as humans gained the cognition to conjugate sentences. Comedians like Redd Foxx, Gilda Radner, Robin Williams, Lucille Ball, George Carlin, Robin Harris and Bernie Mac to name heal us with laughter even when they are no longer with us. As past greats graced us with comedy, comedians of this era like Kevin Hart, Adele Givens, D.L. Hughley, Dave Chappelle, CL Lewis and Margret Cho continue to give us laughter as they find hilarity in the things that would otherwise give us sorrow.
This is a thank you note especially to Steve Harvey, who by the way belongs in the same fraternity that I once pledged. But this is beyond fraternity; what I write about is humanity and our need to find inspiration during times of distress. Just like my roommate Chris Garret, I too used to listen to Steve Harvey during my dark days and continue to do so when I need laughter the most. A king of comedy is one who is able to make us roar in laughter one minute then the next give us a nugget of wisdom that can give us hope for a better tomorrow. Steve Harvey does both, and for that he has my deepest respect. #SteveHarveyTestimony
“I’m not a doctor. I just have a tremendous amount of common sense.” ~ Steve Harvey
If you liked this article and appreciate Steve Harvey’s ability to make us laugh and impart inspiration as well, share this article on social media using #SteveHarveyTestimony. While you are at it, tweet this article to @IAmSteveHarvey and tell him #Tadias and thank you for the laughter.
First, let’s get to the inspirational side of Steve Harvey, a video suggested by Chris Garrett
Check out one of Steve Harvey’s stand up comedies from back in the day
Check out the Steve Harvey each weekday, click on the picture below or HERE to find out about the Steve Harvey Morning Show.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
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