Steve Harvey Talks About the ‘Redeeming Quality’ of His T-Mobile Super Bowl 50 Ad Poking Fun of Miss Universe Mistake

(Photo: Courtesy of T-Mobile)
(Photo: Courtesy of T-Mobile)

Steve Harvey poked fun at himself over his Miss Universe mistake during an ad for T-Mobile that ran during the Super Bowl. But the comedian told USA TODAY it was no laughing matter at first.

T-Mobile approached Harvey about the commercial, but when a rep wanted to discuss, “‘this really funny thing that happened to you at Miss Universe,’ I stopped him right there,” Harvey says. “I said, ‘first of all it wasn’t funny at all. It was far from funny.’”

As host of the Miss Universe pageant, Harvey had mistakenly announced that Miss Colombia was the winner when the crown belonged to Miss Philippines. After the bungle, he said he received death threats. Paparazzi surrounded his house. His kids starting calling him the “Social Media King” because he couldn’t turn on his computer without seeing some mention of the Miss Universe snafu.

So in deciding whether to do the commercial or not, Harvey says he told T-Mobile that “I’m not going to look like an idiot, I’ve already felt bad enough about this. But if there were some kind of redeeming quality to it I’d like to see the idea. And that’s how I got started.”

The T-Mobile ad is not the first time Harvey has publicly laughed about the incident. On Christmas Day, he tweeted a photo of himself with the message, “Merry Easter, y’all.”

Meantime, the Super Bowl spot, in which T-Mobile targets Verizon, has gone viral. During the game, “Steve Harvey” trended on Twitter in either the number two or number three position, T-Mobile says.

T-Mobile’s own tweet of the ad—“It takes balls to admit you’re wrong—so we called in‪@IAmSteveHarvey to school ‪@Verizon‪#BALLOGIZE” — has been retweeted more than 19,400 times, and has generated more than 27,000 “likes.” The commercial has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube.

Harvey himself says he’s received about 60 texts from people. “`Man, great commercial, way to turn it around.’ `Hey man that’s the way to make lemonade out of lemons.’ `Wow, what a great way to cash in a huge mistake.’”

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