Over 40 years experience as a well-known, well-respected comedian, has led David Steinberg back to the subject he loves most: comedy. On the new series “Inside Comedy,” Steinberg has taken over a year of his life to interview many of the top comics past and present.
“The surprise to us was that everybody said yes,” said Steinberg in a video chat with Gold Derby. “Putting it together was a puzzle that was pleasurable but just took a long time.” Steve Carell has co-produced the 10-episode program currently airing on Showtime.
In editing together the interviews, Steinberg said that it was interesting how he could pair up the various subjects even though they didn’t sit down together for their chats. He would find certain topics, like performing with Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, and Sammy Davis, Jr. (discussed separately by Brad Garrett, Martin Short, and Billy Crystal) or Presidential performances (discussed months apart by Jerry Seinfeld and Don Rickles), to determine how the shows would be assembled.
Other guests during the first season have included Mel Brooks, Carell, Tim Conway, Larry David, Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, Jane Lynch, Carl Reiner, Chris Rock, Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman, Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, and Steven Wright.
If the program is nominated at the Emmy Awards for Best Variety Series, Steinberg said that the Seinfeld/Rickles season premiere would be the episode submitted to the judging panel. He was also delighted to pair up old friends Brooks and Reiner for their program, even though he had to use subversion on Brooks knowing he would need an audience to enjoy his stories. “I was only manipulative for Mel Brooks. Not only did I have the crew there, but I allowed the crew to bring wives, cousins, whoever they wanted to bring,” recalled Steinberg. “Mel walked in and said he had five minutes, and 45 minutes later with all those laughs, and he was still there and cooking.”
In addition to “Inside Comedy,” Steinberg will also be on the ballot once again for directing an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for HBO. He was nodded before for the 2003 episode “Mary, Joseph and Larry” and is now eligible for the season premiere “The Divorce” (which has already brought him a Director’s Guild bid earlier this year).
His other Emmy bid for directing was in 1992 for the “Seinfeld” episode “The Tape.” In addition to those series, he has directed many segments of “Designing Women,” “Mad About You,” and “Newhart” plus a few installments of “Friends,” “The Golden Girls,” and “Weeds.”