Steinberg, David 1942-

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Steinberg, David 1942-


Born August 9, 1942, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; son of Jacob (a rabbi) and Ruth Steinberg; married; wife's name Judy (a producer); children: Sasha, Rebecca. Education: Attended Hebrew Theological College, Skokie, IL, and the University of Chicago.


Office—MBST Entertainment, 345 N. Maple Dr., Ste. 200, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. E-mail—[email protected]


Actor, comedian, director, and writer. Second City, Chicago, IL, writer and performer, 1964-70; toured with Second City, U.S. cities, 1965; stage appearances include The Mad Show, New Theatre, New York, NY, 1966; The Return of the Second City, Square East Theatre, New York, NY, 1966; Little Murders, Broadhurst Theatre, New York, NY, 1967; Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, John Golden Theatre, New York, NY, 1968; actor in films, including Fearless Frank, American International Pictures, 1967; The Lost Man, Universal, 1969; The End, United Artists, 1978; Something Short of Paradise, American International Pictures, 1979; Nothing Personal, American International Pictures, 1980; The Best of the Big Laff Off, 1983; The Tommy Chong Roast, 1986; Willow, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1988; My Giant, Columbia, 1998; and The Wrong Guy, Lions Gate Films, 1998.

Film director, including for Paternity, Paramount, 1981; Going Berserk, Universal, 1983; and The Wrong Guy, Lions Gate Films, 1998; executive film producer for Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, Paramount, 1996; producer, Adventures of Super Dave, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2000. Host of television series, including The Music Scene, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1969-70; The David Steinberg Show, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1972; and The Noonday Show, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), beginning 1975; guest host for The Midnight Special, NBC, 1974, 1979, 1980, and Fridays, NBC, 1981; also appeared in Big Sound, Global Television, 2000-01.

Actor in numerous television specials and in episodes of series, including The Dean Martin Show, NBC, 1967; The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, CBS, 1969; The Tonight Show, NBC, 1969-92; The Ed Sullivan Show, CBS, 1970; The Odd Couple, ABC, 1971; Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, NBC, 1971; Late Night with David Letterman, 1986-91; Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Nickelodeon, 1992; Mad about You, NBC, 1995, 1997, 1998; Biography, Arts & Entertainment, 1999; Speaking Freely, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), c. 2002; The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2003; and The Sonny and Cher Show, CBS.

Executive producer of television programs, including Second City TV, Global Television/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and syndicated, 1976-78; Good Grief, Fox, 1990-91; The Paula Poundstone Show, Home Box Office (HBO), beginning 1992; Designing Women, CBS, 1992-93; It Had to Be You, CBS, 1993; and creator for Big Sound, Global Television, 2000-01. Director for television series, including Newhart, CBS, 1986-90; Designing Women, CBS, 1987, 1991-93; Family Man, ABC, 1988; Evening Shade, CBS, 1990-91; Get a Life, 1990; The Rick ReynoldsShow, 1992; Mad about You, NBC, 1992-2000; Ink, CBS, 1996; The Parent 'Hood, Warner Bros. Television (WB), 1995-96; Big Sound, Global Television, 2000-01; Even Stevens, 2000; Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO, 2000-07; director of episodes of The Twilight Zone, CBS, 1985, The Golden Girls, NBC, 1986, Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales and Legends, 1986, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Showtime/Fox, 1986; Duet, Fox, 1987, The Popcorn Kid, CBS, 1987, Seinfeld, NBC, 1991, It Had to Be You, 1993, Daddy Dearest, Fox, 1993, Friends, NBC, 1998, Living in Captivity, ABC, 1998, Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO, 2000-01, and Oxygen, 2004, among others.

Director of television movie Switching Goals, ABC, 1999; executive producer of television pilot Death & Taxes, NBC, 1993, and The Paul Rodriguez Show, WB, 1998; and of television movie Judgment Day: The Ellie Nesler Story, USA Network, 1999; producer for series Big Sound, Global Television, 2000, Go Kinky, Country Music Television, 2005, and Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, TV Land, 2005; executive producer and director for various television specials and award ceremonies. Director of over 300 television commercials.


Two Grammy Award nominations, for comedy albums; Emmy Award nomination, for special "This Is Shalom Aleichem"; Playboy Humor Award, for a parody of the novel Ragtime; two Clio Awards, for commercials; Silver Lion Award, Cannes International Film Festival; Emmy Award nominations, for This Is Shalom Aleichem, and for directing an episode of Seinfeld; Directors Guild of America award nominations, for directing an episode of Seinfeld and for work on Mad about You.


The Book of David, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.


(With Dana Olsen; and director) Going Berserk (screenplay), Universal, 1983.

(Author of story, with others) All Dogs Go to Heaven (animated film screenplay), United Artists, 1989.

David Steinberg's Biased and Insensitive Review of the Year (screenplay), Arts & Entertainment, 1992.


"Episode #1.1," "Episode #1.3," "Episode #1.5," "Episode #1.6," "Episode #1.8," "Episode #1.11," "Episode #1.14," "Episode #1.17," Music Scene (television series), ABC, 1969- 70.

The Return of the Smothers Brothers (television special), NBC, 1970.

Michael Davis—The Life of the Party (special), Cinemax Comedy Experiment, Cinemax, 1986.

(With others) The Earth Day Special, ABC, 1990.

(With others) The 63rd, 64th, 69th, and 70th Annual Academy Awards (television special), ABC, 1991-98.

(With others) "Gone with a Whim: Parts 1 & 2," Designing Women (television series), CBS, 1992.

Also author of television episodes for The David Steinberg Show, ABC, 1972; The Noonday Show, NBC, beginning 1975; author of teleplays, including for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, CBS, c. 1969; and The Parent 'Hood, WB, 1995-99.


The Incredible Shrinking God (sound recording), Universal City Records (Hollywood, CA), 1968.

David Steinberg Disguised as a Normal Person (sound recording), Elektra EKS, 1970.

Booga! Booga! (sound recording), Columbia Records (New York, NY), 1974.

Goodbye to the 70's (sound recording), Columbia (New York, NY), 1975.


David Steinberg has enjoyed a long and successful career as a comedian, writer, director, and producer. One of the early members of the Second City comedy troupe, in the 1960s he performed with the likes of John Belushi and Alan Arkin. Later, he gained fame on shows such as Laugh-In and for many years was a guest host on The Tonight Show. He then enjoyed a successful career directing and producing comedy television shows and movies. Steinberg has penned a number of screenplays and released several comedy albums, but it was not until 2007 that he published his first book, The Book of David. A loose mix of fact and fiction, it is a semiautobiographical work in which the author assumes an Old Testament style of writing as a humorous device.

In an article published in the Daily Variety, Steinberg said that the comic who most inspired him was "God." Indeed, he finds much humor in religion and is often remembered for his "scandalous routine about a sanctimonious minister" on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, according to a biography published on Steinberg is the son of a rabbi, who "by the rare accounts that exist, [was] both stern and strict. David, probably as some defense mechanism, developed an ability for lying that truly frustrated his straight-laced father." When he first left his home in Canada for university, he tried to please his father by attending the Hebrew Theological College. Steinberg dropped out, though, and chose to pursue an English degree at the University of Chicago. Before finishing school, he was inspired to follow another path. While in Chicago he caught a performance by comedian Lenny Bruce and almost immediately decided this was what he wanted to do with his life.

He began performing comedy routines; soon, Paul Sills discovered Steinberg and hired him to join the Second City performers in 1964. "Steinberg avoided standard one-liners and developed a kind of observational comedy that drew on his religious upbringing and childhood," commented the biographer in Remaining with Second City through the 1960s, he began winning parts in small Broadway plays. By 1968 he was gaining fans on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour for his minister bit and for portraying an angry psychiatrist who shouts "Booga! Booga!" In 1972 he briefly hosted his own series, The David Steinberg Show, and he was also the host of The Music Scene and The Noonday Show in the 1970s.

Although Steinberg has directed films, including the 1983 John Candy vehicle Going Berserk, he has been the most prolific on television. Among his many credits are work for such hits as Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Designing Women, Mad about You, and Newhart. More recent comedic programs include Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg and Curb Your Enthusiasm. An award-winning television-commercial director, Steinberg has been nominated for several Emmy, Grammy, and Directors Guild of America awards.

Steinberg still finds humor in his religious roots, and in his "autobiography," The Book of David, he writes the entire text in the voice of an Old Testament author. He mixes in some fiction with the truth about his life—the confusion between the two often clarified in footnotes—in what Stacy Russo called "an unusual and clever creation" in a Library Journal review. While Russo admitted that this type of autobiography is not for all readers, the reviewer maintained it contains plenty of "outrageous humor." A Kirkus Reviews writer felt that the biblical tone of the book "groweth old upon constant repetition," but an Atlantic Monthly contributor considered it a tribute to "the Borscht Belt faithful."



Atlantic Monthly, September, 2007, review of The Book of David, p. 130.

Chatelaine, June, 1983, Terry Poulton, "A New Role for Funnyman David Steinberg," p. 41.

Daily Variety, June 12, 2007, "Pushy Questions for … David Steinberg, Comedian Whose Debut Tome ‘The Book of David’ Is Released Today," p. 14.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of The Book of David.

Library Journal, May 15, 2007, Stacy Russo, review of The Book of David, p. 92.

USA Today, April 18, 2006, "David Steinberg Is Back, Too," p. 04.


David Steinberg Home Page, (January 20, 2008).

Northern Stars, (January 20, 2008), biography of David Steinberg.

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Steinberg, David 1942-

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