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Publisher's Summary

The world of comedy and comedians of the last five decades. By the man the New York Times calls "a comic institution himself", the only comedian (26 years in stand-up) to have made Elie Wiesel laugh, as well as having appeared on The Tonight Show (140 times, second only to Bob Hope, but who's counting). From the director of TV comedy series Mad About You, Seinfeld, Friends, Weeds, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Larry David: "I’m lucky. I know and love David Steinberg. You don’t. Now's your chance. Don’t blow it!"

"David has always been a comedy hero to me. One of his many gifts is the ability to inspire funny people to be even funnier, as you will discover in this truly hilarious, insightful book." (Martin Short)

From David Steinberg, a rabbi's son from Winnipeg, Canada, who at age 15 enrolled at Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (the rabbinate wasn't for him) and four years later, entered the master's program in English literature at the University of Chicago, until he saw Lenny Bruce, the "Blue Boy" of Comedy, the coolest guy Steinberg had ever seen, and joined Chicago's Second City improvisational group, becoming, instead, the comedian's comedian, director, actor, working with, inspired by, teaching, and learning from the most celebrated, admired, complicated comedians, then and now. A funny, moving, provocative, insightful look into the soul, wit, and bite of comedy and comedians - a universe unto itself - of the last half-century.

From the greats: George Burns, Lenny Bruce, Sid Caesar, Lucille Ball, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner, et al., to the newer greats: Carol Burnett, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, Bob Newhart, and the man for all comedy, Martin (Marty) Short; to the greats of right now: Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wanda Sykes; and more....

Steinberg, through stories, reminiscences, tales of directing, touring, performing, and, through the comedians themselves talking (from more than 75 interviews), makes clear why he loves comedy and comedians who have been by his side in his work, and in his life, for more than 60 years. 

Here are: Will Ferrell, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Myers, Groucho himself, and the greatest of them all (at least of the last half century), Jonathan Winters....

©2021 David Steinberg (P)2021 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“If I had written this, it would be filled with jealousy, envy, and snide remarks. But fortunately, David Steinberg wrote it, so it abounds with insights, humor, and joy. I loved it so much!” (Steve Martin)

“At first glance, David Steinberg might seem like too much of a mensch to really spill the beans about his chosen profession...the venerated stand-up comic, actor, and sitcom director, has impeccable nice-guy credentials.... [He] truly admires his peers and understands what makes them tick. And he proves to be a genial, generous raconteur and reciter of showbiz lore...charming.” (Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times)

“David Steinberg has always been one of my favorite comedians. I memorized his album, Disguised as a Normal Person when it came out. It was a huge thrill to work with him when he directed some episodes of Seinfeld. He will always be one of my comedy heroes.” (Jerry Seinfeld)

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  • mary beth dohrenwend
  • 2021-07-19

great perspective on some shows that we all know

if you live Seinfeld and Curb You Enthusiasm,you might really live this book. The author gives a unique inside perspective of these shows and more. fun and interesting!