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Legendary Comedian David Steinberg Takes The Playhouse Stage

Comedian David Steinberg on his 1970s television show,

Credit: Courtesy photo

Above: Comedian David Steinberg on his 1970s television show, "The David Steinberg Show."


David Steinberg, comedian, actor, producer and director.


When the great Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean was near death, he was asked how he felt. Legend has it the elderly actor looked up, and said, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."

This weekend, San Diegans can hear from a man who's spent his career in all aspects of comedy, from stand-up to sitcoms, both in front of the camera and behind. Celebrated comedian and director David Steinberg will share his personal stories and reflect on the difficulty and delight of making people laugh in a new one-man show at the La Jolla Playhouse.

The workshop production, “David Steinberg: That Could Turn Into Something Big...or Not,” will be performed for six nights only beginning tomorrow.

Steinberg, 70, grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, and eventually made his way to Chicago where he joined the legendary comedy company, The Second City. His work on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" during the late '60s gained him notoriety. Steinberg created the show's memorable “The Psychiatrist” character (who first coined the popular phrase “Booga Booga!”), as well as wrote and performed his satiric and controversial “sermons,” which ultimately caused the Smothers Brothers to be canceled by CBS.

In the 1970s and '80s, Steinberg was a popular fixture on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," racking up 140 appearances, making him the second most frequent guest behind Bob Hope (see video below). He also is the youngest person to ever guest host the show.

He eventually left stand-up to assume the role of director, working on several sitcoms, including "Friends," "Seinfeld," "Mad About You" "Newhart," "Designing Women" and most recently, HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Earlier this year, Steinberg launched his latest endeavor, "Inside Comedy," on Showtime, a one-on-one talk show where he interviews fellow comedians.

Steinberg speaks with KPBS Midday Edition about his storied career in comedy and his upcoming workshop production at the La Jolla Playhouse.

“David Steinberg: That Could Turn Into Something Big...or Not” opens Thursday, August 16, and runs through Sunday, August 26, at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla. You can follow David Steinberg on Twitter @David_Steinberg.

David Steinberg: The Three Stooges Theory of Politics

Untitled from David Steinberg on Vimeo.

Comedian David Steinberg shares his "Three Stooges Theory of Politics" on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."


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