David Steinberg

David Steinberg
Full name
David Steinberg
Country
Canada

David Steinberg (born August 9, 1942) is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer, director, and author. At the height of his popularity, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was one of the best-known stand-up comics in the United States. He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more than 130 times (second only to Bob Hope in number of appearances) and served as guest host 12 times, the youngest person ever to guest-host. Steinberg directed several films and episodes of many of the most successful television situation comedies of the last twenty years, including Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more than 35 episodes of Designing Women. Since 2012, Steinberg has hosted the interview program Inside Comedy on the Showtime network. One of Steinberg's most notorious performances was in October 1968 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where he gave satirical sermons. The sketch caused CBS to receive a record number of complaints, and, as a result, the network instituted a policy of providing local stations with a closed-circuit telecast of each episode ahead of time so they could choose whether or not to air it. The Smothers Brothers were told by the network that they could have Steinberg on the show again on the condition that he would not repeat the sermons. Nevertheless, Tommy Smothers asked Steinberg to do it again, and he gave a sermon in which he said "The Old Testament scholars say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The Gentiles, the New Testament scholars say, 'Hold it, Jews, no.' They literally grabbed the Jews by the Old Testament." This incident contributed to the cancellation of the show. The Jonah sketch never aired. Steinberg was the most frequent host of the pop and rock music ABC television show, The Music Scene, 1969-1970. In 1972, Steinberg wrote and starred in The David Steinberg Show in the United States. In a review, TV Guide labelled him "offbeat, racy, outrageous, and establishment-baiting – all of which makes him a particular favorite among the young and disenchanted." Nearly identical in format to Garry Shandling's later effort, The Larry Sanders Show, the series went behind-the-scenes of a fictional TV talk show. A new version of the show was produced in Canada in 1976 and featured Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Dave Thomas, Andrea Martin, and Martin Short. In 1975 Steinberg hosted Noonday, a short-lived half-hour midday talk show on NBC. Steinberg performed some notable stand-up comedy during the 1970s as well, including "The Incredible Shrinking God" (LP MCA 73013, 1968), which contains ten of his comedic sermons and mini-sermons recorded live during his stand-up routine at Second City. He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2003. More recently (2005–2007), Steinberg hosted Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, an informal, interview-style show in which he talks with famous comedians and comic actors, for two seasons on TV Land in the U.S. The first season featured Mike Myers, Larry David, Jon Lovitz, Martin Short, Bob Newhart, and George Lopez. The second season featured Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Roseanne Barr, Jon Stewart, Garry Shandling and Ray Romano. The program was filmed before a live audience at UCLA. His first book, The Book of David (ISBN 0743272323), was published in June 2007 by Simon and Schuster. In 2010, he directed and produced the Canadian cable comedy series Living in Your Car.