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Best of the David Steinberg Show, The

Koch Vision // Unrated // July 11, 2006
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted July 17, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Series

Pre-dating The Larry Sanders show by at least a decade, The David Steinberg Show offers up the surface conceit of being a "behind the scenes" sort of comedy, but doesn't really do enough with the gimmick to be considered anything groundbreaking or revolutionary. And maybe it's just that the modern age has dulled my humor sensors, but a lot of the comedy offered here errs way on the corny side of the equation.

Basically, it's your standard comedy-variety show, and one that should prove just fitfully entertaining enough to all the loyal David Steinberg fans out there ... most of whom probably reside in Canada. The background cast is populated with kooky Canucks like John Candy, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty, and Andrea Martin, a few years before they'd all collaborate on Canada's finest comedical export: namely, SCTV.

The concept here is that we're privy to the backdoor goings-on on "The David Steinberg Show," which means that we start out with a lengthy monologue before heading to a diner across the street from the TV studio. Weekly guest stars pop up to discuss their impending appearances while Steinberg looks on sheepishly and doles out a few semi-amusing chuckles.

Fans of the performers mentioned above will certainly enjoy seeing some of their very earliest work, and I'm not exactly saying that The David Steinberg Show is a terrible little TV program; it's just helplessly, hopelessly outdated, and as any worthwhile comedian can tell you: the passage of three decades is not always kind to once-timely comedy schtick.

Last year Koch released a 4-disc, 21-episode complete collection of The David Steinberg show, and now they're following it up with a 6-episode "best of" release. The episodes are titled by who the Special Guest was, and these are the folks who were deemed "special" enough to make this package: Jon Voight, Adrienne Barbeau, Ethel Merman, Ruth Buzzi, Robert Vaughn, and Michele Lee.

The DVD

Video: The half-dozen episodes are spread over four platters, and they're presented in a rather unflattering full-frame fuzz-fest. I'm not expecting a mid-70's Canadian sitcom to earn any sort of digital facelift, and The David Steinberg Show looks suitably antiquated.

Audio: A flat but passable Dolby Digital 2.0.

Extras: Recycled from the full series DVD release is a 30-minute David Steinberg interview, in which the comedian looks back on his crew and creation with much affection. There's also a 4-minute promo for TV Land's Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg.

Final Thoughts

If you remember David Steinberg with any degree of fondness, yet you're hesitant to plunk down cash for the full 21-episode set, this 6-episode sampler should tell you all you need to know.

(Note: Since this DVD is a miniature recycle job of the bigger release, most of the above review has been recycled from my original review of that release.)

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