THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW – 10 Unforgettable Characters
“The funk hits the fan” when a former R&B singer becomes a high school music teacher in inner city Chicago in The Steve Harvey Show. Actor and comedian Steve Harvey starred in this hit comedy from creator Winifred Hervey (The Golden Girls) and producer/director Stan Lathan (Sanford And Son) which originally aired on The WB Network from 1996 until 2002.
Cedric The Entertainer — Harvey’s stand-up comedy partner in the wildly successful The Original Kings of Comedy — co-stars on The Steve Harvey Show along with Wendy Raquel Robinson and Terri J. Vaughn. The NAACP Image Award-winning series also pays tribute to African-American TV and film icons of the past, with guest stars like Isabel Sanford (All In The Family, The Jeffersons), Ja’Net DuBois (Good Times), Helen Martin (Good Times, Amen), Ernest Lee Thomas (What’s Happening), Kim Fields (The Facts Of Life), and more. There are also appearances by contemporary and classic music stars, including Snoop Dogg, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Ronald Isley who plays one of the members of Steve Hightower And The High Tops, Steve’s former R&B group.
With more than 120 episodes aired over six seasons, The Steve Harvey Show has tons of unforgettable characters. Here are ten to look for in this hilarious show.
1. Steve Hightower — Back To School (Season 1, Episode 1 — August 25, 1996)
The first episode of the series kicks off with Steve Hightower (Harvey) addressing the audience — they call that “breaking the fourth wall” in TV lingo — and filling us in on his character’s backstory. “Back in the day, we were the bomb,” he says of his former funk band. “We had so much money, we’d write a check and the bank would bounce.” Sadly for Steve (but happily for us), those days are over and he’s beginning his new life: as a high school music teacher and mentor to a crew of quirky kids.
2. Cedric Jackie Robinson — Back To School (Season 1, Episode 1 — August 25, 1996)
Cedric (Cedric The Entertainer) is the portly gym teacher at Booker T. Washington High School and Steve’s best friend since college. He’s also Steve’s roommate and the guy who got him the job at school. Ced was a High Tops roadie back in the day and is a wannabe member of the group when they reunite. He’s sort of Steve’s sidekick in season one but gets more focus — and a girlfriend — beginning in season two. In the years since, Cedric has starred in the Barbershop films and the popular sitcom The Soul Man (also directed by Stan Lathan)
3. Regina Grier — Back To School (Season 1, Episode 1 — August 25, 1996)
Regina (Wendy Raquel Robinson) is the principal, Steve’s new boss, and his former high school classmate. And that’s where it gets complicated. When they were kids, Steve used to mock Regina for her weight, nicknaming her “Blubber Butt,” “Fat Alberta,” and “Piggy.” Steve doesn’t recognize the new stylish, svelte Miss Grier when they meet again, but he discovers her true identity at the end of the first episode. Their relationship thaws and later heats up (despite the complication of her marrying someone else). Through it all, she’s always competitive with Steve, often yelling “Bam! In your face!” when she bests him at something. Since Steve Harvey ended in 2002, Robinson is best known for the long-running sitcom The Game. She also appears in the upcoming Grand Hotel.
4. Stanley “Bullethead” Kuznocki — Back To School (Season 1, Episode 1 — August 25, 1996)
The first kid Steve meets when he starts teaching is the goofy but good-natured Bullethead (William Lee Scott). Twenty years later, Scott and Harvey reunited on Harvey’s daytime talk show, where Scott thanked him for “changing his life.” He also revealed that he had married Charlene Bloom, the actress who played Bullethead’s girlfriend on the season four episode The Honeymooners. In recent years, Scott has appeared in The Magnificent Seven (2016) and CSI.
5. Romeo Santana — Back To School (Season 1, Episode 1 — August 25, 1996)
Romeo Santana (Merlin Santana) is the stylish, muscular ladies’ man at Booker T. Washington High School. He and Steve get off to a bad start, but the two eventually develop a father-son bond. Episodes often revolve around Romeo’s pursuit of female students, or their pursuit of him. He and Bullethead are also an inseparable team for the entire run of the series. Tragically, Santana died in 2002, a victim of gun violence.
6. Other Students — Various
While The Steve Harvey Show had two male students for the entire run, a succession of female students came and went from season to season. Feisty Sophia (Tracy Vilar) and self-involved Sara (Netfa Perry) bickered through season one, particularly in matters regarding Romeo (whom they both dated). Aisha (Aryan A. Johnson) joined the cast in season two. And Coretta Cox (The Lady Of Rage aka Robin Yvette Allen) was the longest lasting of these female supporting players, with 10 episodes spread over four seasons. Future Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson plays Junior in four episodes opposite his Kenan And Kel co-star Kel Mitchell.
7. Lydia Liza Gutman— Das Bootie (Season 3, Episode 1 — September 18, 1998)
Clean cut Lydia (Lori Beth Denberg) is the good girl of at Booker T. Washington High School, and Steve often uses her to set an example for the other kids. Denberg has perfect comic timing, developed in the Nickelodeon sketch comedy series All That and she often delivers the show’s biggest laughs. (Her performance in the graduation episode in season six is a standout.) After the series, Denberg appeared in Dodgeball (2004) and can be seen in the upcoming TV movie Goody, Goody (2018).
8. Lovita Alizay Jenkins — Whatever You Want (Season 2, Episode 1 — September 10, 1997)
Fan favorite Lovita (Terri J. Vaughn) is introduced in the first episode of season two when she gets a job at the school and immediately catches Cedric’s eye. They eventually (SPOILER ALERT) get married and have a baby. Since the series, Vaughn has appeared on All Of Us, Meet The Browns, and Greenleaf.
9. The High Tops — High Top Reunion (Season 1, Episode 10 — November 17, 1996)
Steve’s former funk band is introduced in a hilarious season one episode, when the group reunites for a local performance. Singer/hairdresser “Pretty Tony” is played by R&B legend Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers. T-Bone — still angry at Steve for talking too much in their Grammy speech — is T.K. Carter, probably best known to getTV viewers as J.J.’s buddy Head on Good Times. And Clyde the Slide is played by “gospel comedian” Jonathan Slocumb. In season five, Don “D.C.” Curry (Next Friday, Grace Under Fire) takes over as T-Bone for the group’s final appearance. In 2012, Harvey and Cedric The Entertainer reunited to perform the High Tops’ fictional hit “When The Funk Hits The Fan” on Harvey’s daytime talk show.
10. Mother Hightower —That’s My Mama (Season 1, Episode 11 — November 24, 1996)
TV legend Isabel Sanford guest stars in one episode as Mother Hightower, Steve’s meddling but well-meaning mom. When she tries to set her son up on a date, everyone in the cast hilariously ends up at the same 1970s-themed restaurant. The name “Mother Hightower” is an homage to George Jefferson’s mom on All In The Family and The Jeffersons, the TV classics in which Sanford co-starred as Louise. And the episode title is a reference to the African-American sitcom That’s My Mama (1974–75), which was directed by Steve Harvey’s groundbreaking producer/director Stan Lathan.
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