Steve Harvey Talks About Comedy Clubs in the 1980s

(upbeat music) (audience applauding) – You see Jay Anthony Brown taught me how to do comedy. He was the first black
headliner I met in 1985. (woman yelling) He was the first road gig I ever had. He taught me how to do comedy. We’ve been friends ever since. He’s now a writer on this show. But he was a writer on Arsenio, Parenthood, Sister Sister. He’s been one of the top
writer’s on a lot of shows. He wrote all those years on Arsenio Hall. He wrote all his monologues, everything. He’s not gonna work with nobody. I can just save you that right there. “Cause we’re stand ups, we work by ourself. He taught me how to do comedy in ’85. (guest giggling) There were only, there was Byron Allen, George Wallace and Jay Anthony Brown. There were only three black headliners in the United States. You all don’t understand
how comedy used to be. If you went to a comedy club in the 80’s, you could not see two
African-American comedians at a white owned comedy club. They did not allow two blacks to perform on the same show in 1985, 86, 87, 88, 89. Because they didn’t want the similar acts on stage. So we had to deal with that. So if he was working at a club, I couldn’t work there. Even if they booked us, ’cause my name was Steve Harvey, very nondescript. I would show up, if another black was there and the club owner saw it, one of us had to go home and I was usually the newest act so I had to go home. But he ended up teaching
me how to do the business. I saw how much money he
was making as a headliner. (man laughing) This (bleeping) one night, (man laughing)
We was getting played at this place called, where was we at? – I think Nick’s or something like that.
– Nick’s in Bloomington, Indiana and at the end of the night, I was gettin $75.00. ‘Cause that’s what I was making. They paid him $1,800.00. (audience hooting) And they was counting his money out and the club owner told me he said, “You step out the room.” Jay said, “Naw, he can stay.” So he was paying Jay the money, the $1800. And about $1000.00 he counted, he said, “Man, I’m paying
you guys too much money.” He told the club owner, he said, “Hey man, I don’t wanna hear that.”
(beeping) He said, “Unless you
got 45 minutes of jokes your (bleeping) self, just hand me my money without all this (bleeping) conversation.” (audience applauding
(audience laughing) That’s what I said. That’s what (bleeping) I’m gonna be. And we’ve just remained friends over the years. And then when I got this talk show out here in L.A. I came out here and he was out here and he was the head writer on the show. So she knows you? – Oh her, hey, how you doing? (audience applauding) (upbeat music)

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