David Steinberg

David Steinberg CM (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 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.[1] Steinberg directed several films and episodes of television situation comedies, including Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Golden Girls, and Designing Women.

Since 2012, Steinberg has hosted the interview program Inside Comedy on the Showtime network.

David Steinberg
David Steinberg 2009 portrait
Steinberg in 2009
BornAugust 9, 1942 (age 76)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Mediumstand-up, television, film, books
Years active1964–present
GenresObservational comedy, Satire
Subject(s)religion, self-deprecation, everyday life
SpouseJudy (Marcione) Steinberg (1973–97; divorced)
Robyn (Todd) Steinberg (2005–present)

Early life

Born the son of Yasha, a strict, Romanian-born rabbi, and Ruth Steinberg in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, David initially studied theology in Israel.[1][2] Later, while studying English Literature at the University of Chicago, he decided to become a comedian after seeing Lenny Bruce perform.[1] He finished school and was discovered by one of the founders of The Second City in Chicago, which he joined in 1964. There he performed with Robert Klein, Fred Willard, Peter Boyle, and Joe Flaherty. He remained with the group for six years.[1] In 1972, Steinberg was best man at the wedding of his friend, the gangster Crazy Joe Gallo.[3]


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.[4] 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.[5] 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 was never aired by CBS.[6]

Steinberg appeared in two Broadway flops, Little Murders and Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, which both closed within one week in 1967 and 1968, respectively.

Steinberg was the most frequent host of the pop and rock music ABC television show, The Music Scene, 1969–1970. The show featured performances by Joe Cocker and CSN&Y. In 1972, Steinberg wrote and starred in The David Steinberg Show in the United States as a five-week summer replacement sketch comedy show.[7] Around the same time, TV Guide labelled Steinberg "offbeat, racy, outrageous, and establishment-baiting – all of which makes him a particular favorite among the young and disenchanted."[1]

In 1975 Steinberg hosted Noonday, a short-lived half-hour midday talk show on NBC.

In 1976, Steinberg returned to Canada to produce a second show called The David Steinberg Show. This series was a hybrid sitcom/variety show, modelled loosely on The Jack Benny Program in that the plots centred on the star (Steinberg) and his cast trying to put together another instalment of their variety show. Amongst the regular cast were future SCTV stars Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Dave Thomas, and Martin Short. SCTV's Andrea Martin also appeared on the show, but not as a regular. SCTV premiered the same week as The David Steinberg Show, and ran for six seasons; The David Steinberg Show lasted only one season.

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 also hosted the 1977 Juno Awards show.[8] He was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2003.[9]

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.[10] 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 an audience at UCLA.[11]

His first book, The Book of David (ISBN 0743272323), was published in June 2007 by Simon & Schuster.

In 2010, he directed and produced the Canadian cable comedy series Living in Your Car.[12]

The David Steinberg Show

The first iteration of The David Steinberg Show ran on CBS television in the United States for five weeks in the summer of 1972. This series was an hour-long sketch comedy show, in which Steinberg was the only regular. Other sketch roles were played by the two or three guest stars Steinberg would introduce each week.[13]

Four years later, Steinberg starred in a comedy/variety series also called The David Steinberg Show, which was produced in Canada for the CTV Network and was seen in the US in syndication. This series was partly modelled on The Jack Benny Program, in that it was largely about the behind-the-scenes adventures of the cast of a variety show and their friends. Each episode included material from the "variety show" that was being produced, as well as backstage segments.[14]

The series ran during 1976/77 television season, and lasted 26 episodes. The supporting cast featured a number of people who would go on to greater fame on SCTV, and many Steinberg cast members were, in fact, simultaneously working on the first season of SCTV, which debuted the same week as The David Steinberg Show. SCTV cast members doing "double duty" on Steinberg included Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas and John Candy, with Candy actually doing "triple duty" as he was also a cast member on the CBC sitcom Coming Up Rosie during this period. Martin Short, also a Steinberg regular, would later become a cast member of SCTV, but not until 1982. (Amusingly, after he joined SCTV, Short would actually end up portraying Steinberg in an SCTV sketch.)[15]

SCTV stalwart Andrea Martin also appeared in a few episodes of The David Steinberg Show, but not as a regular.

The cast of the 1976/77 edition of The David Steinberg Show included:

  • David Steinberg as himself, the genial but beleaguered host of a variety show.
  • Bill Saluga as Vinnie DeMilo and as Ray J. Johnson. Vinnie is the owner of the nearby "Hello Deli", and David's chief confidante. The cigar-chomping Ray J. Johnson, a separate character, occasionally drops by the show (but never the deli) to interrupt David's monologues with his own rambling observations.
  • Trudy Young as Margie, the friendly Hello Deli waitress.
  • John Candy as Spider Reichman, the wide-eyed, hippie-ish bandleader. Candy also provided the voice of Vinnie's cook, who is frequently heard in the offstage Hello Deli kitchen, but is never seen onscreen.
  • Joe Flaherty as Kirk Dirkman, a deliveryman who rather improbably becomes a network executive overseeing David's show.
  • Martin Short as Johnny Del Bravo, David's obnoxious, narcissistic, talent-free cousin who is the "featured singer" on the show.
  • Dave Thomas as James MacGregor, the show's excitable Scottish security guard.
  • Blue as Bambi Markowitz, David's ditzy, incompetent secretary/assistant.

Personal life

Steinberg has been married twice. He married Judy Marcione in 1973 and they had two daughters. They divorced in 1997 after 24 years of marriage.[16] Steinberg then married Robyn Todd.[17]


  • The Incredible Shrinking God (UNI LP, UNI-73013, 1968)
  • Disguised As A Normal Person (Elektra Records LP, EKS-74065, 1970).
  • Booga, Booga' (Columbia LP, 1974)
  • Goodbye to the '70s (Columbia LP, PC 33399, 1975)


Steinberg has received five Emmy Award nominations, winning two as one of the writers of Academy Awards programs in 1991 and 1992. He received a CableACE Award in 1992 for his stand up comedy Cats, Cops and Stuff. He has been nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award (for Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series) twice: first in 1991 for the Seinfeld episode, The Tape, and again in 1996 for the Mad About You episode, The Finale: Parts II and III, and has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award (2000) and a Gemini (2001), as well.[18] His parody of the novel Ragtime won him a Playboy Humor Award.[1] In 2003, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

In December 2016, Steinberg was named a Member of the Order of Canada.[19]


Year Title Director Writer Producer Actor Role Notes
1967 Fearless Frank Yes The Rat
1969 The Lost Man Yes Photographer
1978 The End Yes Marty Lieberman
1979 Something Short of Paradise Yes Harris Sloane
1980 Nothing Personal Yes Talk Show Host
1981 Paternity Yes
1983 Going Berserk Yes Yes
1996 Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy Yes
1997 The Wrong Guy Yes Yes Outpatient in Neck Brace
1999 Judgment Day: The Ellie Nesler Story Yes
2000 The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave Yes Yes
2003 This Thing of Ours Yes
2005 The Greatest Game Ever Played Yes


Year Title Director Writer Producer Actor Role Notes
1968–1969 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Yes Yes Himself
1968–1992 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Himself / Guest host
1969 NBC Experiment in Television Yes Episode: "This Is Sholom Aleichem"
1969–1970 The Music Scene Yes Host 14 episodes
1970 The Return of the Smothers Brothers Yes Yes Himself Television special
1971 The Odd Couple Yes Himself Episode: "The Odd Couple Meet Their Host"
1972–1977 The David Steinberg Show Yes Host 26 episodes
1973 ABC's Wide World of Entertainment Yes Paul Episode: "Night Train to Terror"
1975 The Smothers Brothers Show Yes Himself Episode: "A Boarding House Is Not A Home"
1985 The Twilight Zone Yes Segment: "The Uncle Devil Show"
1986 The Young Comedians All-Star Reunion Yes Television special
1986 Robin Williams: Live at the Met Yes Stand-up special
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Yes Episode: "Casey at the Bat"
1986 Billy Crystal: Don't Get Me Started Yes Television special
1986 The Ellen Burstyn Show Yes Episode: "Reading Between the Lines"
1986 The Golden Girls Yes Episode: "Big Daddy's Little Lady"
1986–1987 One Big Family Yes 5 episodes
1986–1990 Newhart Yes 15 episodes
1987 The Popcorn Kid Yes 2 episodes
1987 Duet Yes 3 episodes
1987–1991 Designing Women Yes Yes Yes
1988 Eisenhower and Lutz Yes Episode: "Bud Junior, Junior: Part 1"
1988 Family Man Yes 5 episodes
1988 CBS Summer Playhouse Yes Episode: "Baby on Board"
1989 Billy Crystal: Midnight Train To Moscow Yes Television special
1989 I, Martin Short, Goes Home Yes Television special
1988 Annie McGuire Yes 6 episodes
1989 It's Garry Shandling's Show Yes 2 episodes
1990 The Earth Day Special Yes Television special
1990 The Fanelli Boys Yes Episode: "Pursued"
1990 Get a Life Yes Episode: "The Sitting"
1990–1991 Good Grief Yes 13 episodes
1990–1991 Evening Shade Yes Yes 8 episodes
1991 63rd Academy Awards Yes Television special
1991–1998 Seinfeld Yes 3 episodes
1992 64th Academy Awards Yes Television special
1993 Rick Reynolds: Only the Truth Is Funny Yes Television special
1993 65th Academy Awards Yes Television special
1993 It Had to Be You Yes Yes 4 episodes
1993 Daddy Dearest Yes 2 episodes
1994–1999 Mad About You Yes Yes Director / Bad Eulogizer 50 episodes
1995–1996 The Parent 'Hood Yes 5 episodes
1996 Carver's Gate Yes Television film
1997 Lost on Earth Yes 6 episodes
1997 69th Academy Awards Yes Television special
1997 Ink Yes Episode: "Logan's Run"
1998 Friends Yes Episode: "The One with Phoebe's Uterus"
1998 70th Academy Awards Yes Television special
1998 Living in Captivity Yes 2 episodes
1999 The Wonderful World of Disney Yes Episode: "Switching Goals"
2000 72nd Academy Awards Yes Television special
2000–2001 Big Sound Yes Yes Yes Yes Gabe Moss Also creator
2000–2001 Even Stevens Yes 2 episodes
2000–2017 Curb Your Enthusiasm Yes 8 episodes
2002 Robin Williams: Live on Broadway Yes Stand-up special
2004 Good Girls Don't Yes Episode: "The Big O"
2004 76th Academy Awards Yes Television special
2005 Wild Card Yes Episode: "A Whisper from Zoe's Sister"
2005 The Comeback Yes 2 episodes
2005–2007 Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg Yes Yes Host Also creator
2006 Carlos Mencia: No Strings Attached Yes Stand-up special
2006 Campus Ladies Yes 3 episodes
2006 Sons & Daughters Yes 2 episodes
2006 Help Me Help You Yes Episode: "Perseverance"
2007 Jim Norton: Monster Rain Yes Stand-up special
2008 Weeds Yes Episode: "The Whole Blah Damn Thing"
2008 Down and Dirty with Jim Norton Yes 4 episodes
2008 Little Britain USA Yes 6 episodes
2009 Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction Yes Stand-up special
2010 Living in Your Car Yes Yes 4 episodes
2011 Norm Macdonald: Me Doing Stand-Up Yes Stand-up special
2011 Single White Spenny Yes Episode: "Circumcision"
2012 84th Academy Awards Yes Television special
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Yes Party Guest Episode: "Wonderland Story"
2012–2015 Inside Comedy Yes Yes Host 36 episodes
2015 The Comedians Yes Billy's Agent (voice) Episode: "Go for Gad"


  1. ^ a b c d e f "David Steinberg – Northern Stars". 2002. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  2. ^ "David Steinberg Biography". Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  3. ^ Book of David, Page 175
  4. ^ Bianculli, David (December 1, 2009). Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". Touchstone. ISBN 1-4391-0116-7.
  5. ^ "David Steinberg Just Wants to Talk Comedy". CBSNews.com. March 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  6. ^ "The Book of David: Paging Mr. Steinberg". npr.org. August 20, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  7. ^ "The David Steinberg Show at IMDb". Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  8. ^ Martin Melhuish (23 April 1977). Juno 1977. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 76–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  9. ^ "Canada's Walk of Fame: David Steinberg: actor, comedian, director". 2003. Archived from the original on February 3, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  10. ^ "Sit Down with David Steinberg". Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  11. ^ "Sit Down Comedy With David Steinberg (2007)". 2007. Archived from the original on January 15, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  12. ^ "HBO Canada presents Living in Your Car, one man's karmic fall from the high life to the highway". Canada NewsWire, April 6, 2010.
  13. ^ Brooks, Tim and Earle Marsh: The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-present, 8th edition, Ballantine Books, 2003
  14. ^ Hicks, Wesseley: Unique David Steinberg Show, Ottawa Citizen, June 5, 1976.
  15. ^ http://www.sctvguide.ca/episodes/sctv_s54.htm
  16. ^ http://judysteinberg.com/content/author.asp
  17. ^ http://robyntodd.net/book_01.html Archived May 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Awards for David Steinberg. IMDb. Retrieved on 2007-07-07.
  19. ^ "Order of Canada's newest appointees include Paralympian, Supreme Court judge and astrophysicist". CBC News, December 30, 2016.

External links

David Steinberg (crossword editor)

David Steinberg (born in 1996) is a crossword constructor and editor. At 14, he became the then second-youngest person to publish a crossword in The New York Times during Will Shortz's editorship. At 15, he became the youngest published constructor in the Los Angeles Times and the youngest known crossword editor ever for a major newspaper (Orange County Register).

David Steinberg (disambiguation)

David Steinberg (born 1942) is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer, director, and author.

David Steinberg may also refer to:

David Steinberg (crossword editor) (born 1996), crossword constructor and editor

David A. Steinberg (born 1970), American businessman

David H. Steinberg, screenwriter

David J. Steinberg (1965–2010), American actor

Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series

The Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series is one of the annual Directors Guild of America Awards given by the Directors Guild of America. It was first presented at the 24th Directors Guild of America Awards in 1972. The current eligibility period is the calendar year.

Elizabeth Klinck

Elizabeth Klinck is a visual researcher and clearance specialist in the Canadian and international documentary film industry. Some of the notable projects she has worked on include Werner Herzog's Into the Inferno, Thorsten Schütte's Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words, Barry Arvich's Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story, Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell, Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir's Innsaei and Neil Diamond's Reel Injun.She was nominated for an Emmy Award in the craft of research, and three times for Best Visual Researcher at the FOCAL Awards in the United Kingdom. She has also won the 2014, 2015 and 2017 Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research from the Canadian Screen Awards. In 2015 she won a Prix Gemeaux for her work on Apocalypse World One and in 2010 she won a Gemini for Best Visual Research for her work on Reel Injun. She has also won a Yorkton Golden Sheaf award and was honored with the FOCAL International Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She is the founding chairperson of the Visual Researchers' Society of Canada.

Going Berserk

Going Berserk is a 1983 comedy film starring John Candy, Joe Flaherty, and Eugene Levy and directed by David Steinberg.

Inside Comedy

Inside Comedy is an American television interview program on Showtime hosted and directed by David Steinberg. During each episode, Steinberg interviews popular comedians from the worlds of stand-up, television, and film, showing clips from their careers. The show's first season ran from January 26 to March 29, 2012. Its second season premiered on February 11, 2013, and ended on April 15, 2013. The third season aired from February 3 to April 7, 2014. The first three seasons each consisted of 10 episodes. The fourth season had six episodes, premiering May 5, 2015, and ending June 9.

Juno Awards of 1977

The Juno Awards of 1977, representing Canadian music industry achievements of the previous year, were awarded on 16 March 1977 in Toronto at a ceremony hosted by David Steinberg at the Royal York Hotel. The ceremonies were broadcast on a 2-hour CBC Television special.

Classical and jazz categories were introduced this year.

Juno Awards of 1978

The Juno Awards of 1978, representing Canadian music industry achievements of the previous year, were awarded on 29 March 1978 in Toronto at a ceremony hosted for a second consecutive year by David Steinberg at the Harbour Castle Hilton Convention Centre. A 2-hour broadcast of the ceremonies was available nationally on CBC Television. 1500 people were present at the ceremonies.

At a news conference following the awards, on 31 March 1978, Stompin' Tom Connors announced he would return his Juno trophies to awards organiser CARAS as a protest against rewarding "Juno jumpers" or artists who do not maintain a residence or presence in Canada. Connors earlier withdrew his nomination as Country Male Vocalist of the Year.

New World Coming

"New World Coming" is a pop song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. It became a hit for Cass Elliot in early 1970, and was the first release from her fourth solo album. On December 1, 1969, she performed the song live on the ABC-TV series The Music Scene with host David Steinberg, just before the release of the single.

Paternity (film)

Paternity is a 1981 American comedy film directed by David Steinberg, and starring Burt Reynolds, Beverly D'Angelo, Paul Dooley, Elizabeth Ashley and Lauren Hutton.

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series is presented to the best directing of a television comedy series.

Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg

Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg is an informal interview-style show on the cable channel TV Land in which comedian David Steinberg talks with famous comedians and comic actors. Each show features Steinberg and one guest.

Something Short of Paradise

Something Short of Paradise is a 1979 romantic comedy film directed by David Helpern from a screenplay by Fred Barron. It stars Susan Sarandon and David Steinberg.

Switching Goals

Switching Goals is a 1999 television film directed by David Steinberg and starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

The End (1978 film)

The End is a 1978 American black comedy film directed by and starring Burt Reynolds, written by Jerry Belson, and with music composed by Paul Williams. The film also stars Dom DeLuise along with Sally Field, Strother Martin, David Steinberg, Joanne Woodward, Norman Fell, Myrna Loy, Kristy McNichol, Pat O'Brien, Robby Benson and Carl Reiner.

Reynolds later said he "loved" the film. "Nobody wanted to do it. They allowed me to do The End if I did Hooper, which made a fortune for Warner Brothers. But The End eventually made $40 million."

The Tape

"The Tape" is the 25th episode of Seinfeld. It is the eighth episode of the show's third season. It first aired on November 13, 1991.

The episode was written by Larry David and Don McEnery and Bob Shaw and was directed by David Steinberg.

The Truth (Seinfeld)

"The Truth" is the 19th episode of Seinfeld. It is the second episode of the show's third season, first airing on September 25, 1991. Directed by David Steinberg, this is the first episode of the show (other than the pilot) not directed by Tom Cherones.

The Wrong Guy

The Wrong Guy is a 1997 Canadian comedy film directed by David Steinberg. It was co-written by Dave Foley of The Kids in the Hall and Newsradio fame, along with David Anthony Higgins and Jay Kogen (the latter of The Simpsons writing fame). Foley also stars in the picture, along with David Anthony Higgins, Jennifer Tilly, Colm Feore and Joe Flaherty.

The script was originally inspired by a sketch Foley himself wrote back during his days with The Kids in the Hall.

Ziggy Steinberg

Ziggy Steinberg was in college when he wrote stand-up comedy material for David Steinberg (no relation), George Carlin and Debbie Reynolds.His first script for television was the "Neighbors" episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1974. He then went on to write The Bob Newhart Show, The David Steinberg Show, The American Music Awards (from 1976 through 1980), It's Garry Shandling's Show, several Lily Tomlin specials for CBS, including Lily: Sold Out for which he won an Emmy Award in the category of Best Musical or Variety Show.

In addition, he authored many short stories and humor pieces for various magazines, including Gagtime, a parody of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, which he co-wrote with David Steinberg. Gagtime received a Playboy Editorial Award for Humor in 1976.

Steinberg produced and wrote the screenplay for The Jerk, Too, the sequel to Steve Martin's The Jerk as well as Porky's Revenge, the sequel to Porky's. He then wrote and directed The Boss' Wife for Tri-Star Pictures. In 1991, he wrote and produced Another You, which was the last time Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor co-starred in a motion picture. It was Richard Pryor's final starring role.

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