The comedian, actor, radio host, TV game show host, writer and philanthropist was born Broderick Steven Harvey in Welch, W.V., on January 17, 1957, the the youngest of five children born to Eloise and Jesse Harvey, a coal miner who passed away in 2000 of black lung disease.

Harvey’s destiny of lording over his own entertainment empire began humbly, sculpted on the hard-edged city of Cleveland where he was bred and where his personality was honed and harnessed. He graduated from Glenville High School in 1974 before heading back to his home state to attend West Virginia University. After finishing school, Harvey spent his early twenties working at a number of jobs (insurance salesman, postman, even wannabe professional boxer) without finding anything that really seemed like his true calling. Harvey, who had a flair for potent, acid-tongue jokes, met his destiny on the stage, performing standup comedy for the first time in 1985. After honing his act through several years of performances in small clubs, he opened his first club in Cuyahoga Falls near Akron, Ohio, He came close to hitting the big time by the end of the decade, making it to the finals of the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search in 1989.

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