Cleveland — Steve Harvey, the entertainer who made an embarrassing gaffe at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant by accidentally announcing the wrong winner, has been selected to announce the Republican presidential candidate at the party convention here in August.
Harvey said he is practicing already. “I know that if I don’t say `Trump’ there could be a riot. It’s been a tough year for me.”
A convert to Judaism, Harvey said he was fired after serving for five years as gabbai (sexton) at The Actors’ Synagogue in Times Square. He was abruptly dismissed from his post during last Saturday morning’s service after calling the wrong person to the Torah for an aliyah.
When Harvey announced Ben Stiller’s name, the famed actor ascended the bima and began to recite the Hebrew blessing. Suddenly, in the middle of the prayer, Harvey interrupted him.
“I have to apologize,” the gabbai said to the bewildered congregation. “This aliyah belongs to Ben Affleck, not Ben Stiller.”
Noting the look of dismay on the rabbi’s face, Harvey feebly tried to explain his error. “This is exactly what’s on the card,” he said. “Ben Affleck. I got my Bens mixed up. I take full responsibility for this. It was my mistake, and I promise it won’t happen again.”
That’s when Rabbi Shecky Yanu, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, yelled out, “You’re damn right it won’t happen again! Harvey, you’re fired!”
After congregants gave the rabbi a standing ovation, the chagrinned Harvey quietly removed his prayer shawl, stepped down from the bima, and walked out the back door.
“And don’t come back for kiddush!” Stiller yelled to him as he exited the building.
The synagogue’s board of directors said it will announce the name of their new gabbai at the Tony Awards on June 12th. Ironically, Harvey will emcee the show. “It’ll be good practice for Cleveland,” he said.