Steve Harvey says 2015 Miss Universe gaffe was the ‘worst week’ of his career: ‘It was painful’

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Julius Young
·4 min read
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Steve Harvey is opening up about his infamous gaffe at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant when he announced the wrong winner’s name.

The viral moment dominated worldwide headlines at the time -- and nearly six years later, the "Family Feud" host said the blunder and what transpired still haunts him.

"It was a painful a-- night there, dog. I didn't know the pain I was in," Harvey, 64, told Kevin Hart, 41, on the premiere episode of "Comedy Gold Minds," which airs Wednesday on Hart’s SiriusXM Laugh Out Loud Radio.

At the end of the December 2015 competition, Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, as the winner – before returning to the stage minutes later to correct the mix-up and correctly handing the crown to the actual winner, Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach.

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One of the original "Kings of Comedy," Harvey said the winner-reveal wasn’t supposed to go down the way it had.

"I went to rehearsal and we only rehearsed two names," Harvey recalled. "They bought the pageant from Donald Trump. So they decided that instead of going "the second runner up is, and the first runner up is," and then "Miss Universe is" – well that's anticlimactic after you say "the first runner up," because now we know who they are. So when they bought the pageant, they cut it off."

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The "Showtime at the Apollo" host said he and pageant producers had agreed Harvey would announce the second runner up, "and then we'll have standing there the first runner up, and Miss Universe, and we'll do it that way."

According to Harvey, it was in the ninth hour that "the lady that did the show when Trump owned it" had "decided on the night of, after two days of rehearsal, I'm putting the third name on there, and they printed it on the card."

Harvey then channeled his inner Ron Burgundy and said he simply read exactly what was displayed on the teleprompter as any host would.

"After I announced the second runner up, the teleprompter said, ‘and the new 2015 Miss Universe is...’ The dude in my ear, said, ‘read the next name on the card, Steve. Hold, hold, hold.’ I looked at the next card. I said, ‘Miss Colombia!’"

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Harvey claimed he was then told, "Good job, Steve, go to the back" and that’s when things took a hard left when he was informed by one of his handlers that he had said the wrong name live on international television.

"I said, ‘’man, the f--k you talking about? I didn't say the wrong name, I read the name that was on the f--king card,’" Harvey recalled of the moment. "He said, ‘man, they put a third name on the card.’ I said, ‘B---h, ain't nobody told me!’"

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The funnyman told Hart he was irate at the situation because he had to go back out and fix it but showrunners instead wanted to "straighten it out tomorrow morning in the newspaper."

"I said, ‘that's bulls--t. This lady deserves her crown,’" Harvey recollected, adding, "I took my stupid a-- back out there. I should have let them announce it the next day in the newspaper. I wouldn’t have caught none of the hell I caught."

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The master of ceremony went on to explain that when he woke up the next morning, his gaffe "was everywhere."

"It was the headline in every country. And it was the worst week of my life in show business," he lamented. "I mean, them boys was driving by my house. I lived in Atlanta, had a little gate in front of my house. They was throwing rocks over the gate with notes on it. You know, it was calling me names. I don't know Spanish, but I know ‘p--a,’ they call you ‘p--a’ a lot of times. I know that ain't good because it was ‘p--a’ in all the notes and all the texts."

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As self-deprecating as Harvey has been on the colossal mistake, the fumble hasn’t appeared to derail any part of his career as a host, author and stand-up comedian as he still remains one of the most tapped professionals in the business.