Canadian stand-up legend and TV director David Steinberg made his comedy debut screening new documentary profiling his remarkable career.
“It was interesting to see an audience response to it… and to hear laughs. The worst thing that can happen to a comedian is to do a documentary on your life and you’re watching it with an audience and there’s not a laugh, ” Steinberg said in an interview with CBC’s Q cultural affairs show.
“Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story” directed by Barry Avrich opened at Toronto's Hot Docs film festival.
The comedian appeared 140 times on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” began his career in 1966s at Chicago's Second City. He was called "a cross between Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce."
Steinberg became TV director, leaving his mark on shows like “Friends”, “Seinfeld”, “Weeds” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
Though funny even as a kid, Steinberg says he didn’t realize one could make comedy a career until he saw a Second City show in Chicago.
“There was a rule at Second City: don’t talk down to the audience,” Steinberg said. This is now his stand-up style.
“Here’s the rule that I set for myself, and I believe it — even on a show like “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: the more personal you are, the wider your audience.”
“When he is laughing at whatever it is we’re doing, those are genuine — you see in the documentary — he’s just genuinely laughing. And I went at him with his life and his divorces” Steinberg says about Carson.
Beside his filming career, Steinberg hosted “Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg” – an informal interview show with famous comedians and comic actors like Mike Myers, Larry David, George Lopez, Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Roseanne Barr, Jon Stewart, Garry Shandling and Ray Romano.