Monday started off better than most. One of the original kings of comedy, Steve Harvey, was at the Saxon Hotel in Sandton, where he hosted a media junket to promote his latest endeavour, Family Feud Africa.
The show is a resounding success in the US as well as in 50 other territories, which have taken to this franchise game show.
Now the last thing we need is another African imprint of an international show. This one won’t differ much, other than that it will have a longer running time.
I was quite excited to meet a comedian whose work I’ve taken in since childhood. The interview session was shared between myself and another journalist.
The interview was free-flowing with both of us taking turns but Mr Harvey, as we were instructed to call him, had that look. As a straight man, you know very well when other men are perhaps taking a liking to a woman.
He had this look of, for lack of a better phrase, wild thirst in his eyes when addressing her. At the end of a lengthy conversation in a boardroom with Harvey and his sons, he asked the other journalist a few penetrating questions about her age and relationship status. This resulted in an awkward silence around the room before she responded.
This feeling lingered in the room a little longer before Harvey stated that he was simply enquiring as it turns out his son is of the same age as her. Sure Malume Steve.
He’s been in Africa since August 14, visiting Ghana and Botswana on business. Harvey has been hosting Family Feud since 2010 – a show that he claims is the biggest in the US.
The idea for the African version came to him in November last year when he was in Botswana for a De Beers Diamond conference, a conference for women that he was invited to speak at, given that he’s spent so much time creating material in which he instructs women on how to make themselves better for men.
“I’ve had Africa on my vision board for nine years. I’ve been trying to come home man, for nine years. I thought how cool would it be to do a show on the African continent with African families playing against African families and I hosted it.”
He claimed to be comfortable here and that Africa belongs to him and he belongs to Africa.
“We fought to be called African-American. Look, I have been around for a long time. When we was just n*****s, I’ve been coloured, I’ve been a Negro, black and we fought so hard to be African-Americans.”
He’s looking to invest in African content and talent. The animated funnyman said: “A lot of African-Americans are coming back [home] this year to mark the 400th year since the first slave ship left Africa.”
This was coincidence as Harvey says he came to cultivate content.
“I wanted to be the first celebrity with some kind of star power attached to his name, to come home and create content here for Africans with Africans. Everything don’t have to come from America. Why can’t this be a Mecca for entertainment? You have the talent here, the people, the voices. You should produce and get paid on the scale that Hollywood does,” he said.
Expect the African imprint of Family Feud some time early next year. The show will be shot in Johannesburg and Harvey will be working on that and his radio show from the City of Gold.