Every time I saw this documentary listed, I would shrug and say "Well, he was funny, but I don't think I'd find this interesting." Boy, was I wrong. As a comic, David Steinberg was hilarious, insightful and more than responsible for establishing stand up as a venue for storytelling, political observation and self revelation as opposed to set ups and punchlines. And this was not an evolution. With Pryor, Carlin, Bruce, Sahl and Klein, Steinberg took this art form to a new level in quick fashion especially in the mode of challenging "proper standards".
As with any excellent documentary regarding a celebrity, the back story of Steinberg's life is deftly interwoven with anecdotes and observations from family, contemporaries and those comics whom he influenced. The clips of Steinberg's career, especially his Tonight Show appearances, are hilarious. Always good to see Johnny, especially when he is genuinely cracking up.
Steinberg's humanity and talent are finely exhibited. Plus, amazingly enough for a comic (or even a person) he doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body.
If you have any interest in fine comedy, politically incorrect observations or taking a journey through the pop culture of the last six decades you'll be glad you watched. The first 3 minutes hooked me and was glad to take the ride to the end. Hurry, though. It leaves Showtime 10/14.
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