How ‘The Super Bob Einstein Movie’ got Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin and more to discuss the late comedian – Daily News

Bob Einstein had a job in advertising when one night in 1967 he talked his way into appearing on a Los Angeles late-night talk show, claiming to be the guy who installed the stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In a long-forgotten black-and-white clip, Einstein doesn’t alter his deadpan delivery as he hilariously answers the questions of host Bob Arbogast.

Einstein, who died in 2019, would soon become known for his comedy work on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” because cohost Tommy Smothers was watching “Arbogast & Margolis” that night on KTTV-11 and tracked him down the next day.

Einstein, however, would find his greatest fame as Super Dave Osborne, the naively optimistic stuntman who seldom stuck the landing.

And in his final act, Einstein played the character Marty Funkhouser,” a prickly, stubborn friend and occasional foe of Larry David on David’s HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

For writer-director Danny Gold, the discovery of that first-ever TV appearance was one of his favorite moments in making his new documentary “The Super Bob Einstein Movie,” which premieres Tuesday, Dec. 28 on HBO.

“What really brought it together for me was a local Los Angeles TV show that he did as a goof while he was still in advertising,” Gold says. “As Jerry Seinfeld says, and David Letterman says, and Steve Martin says, that was the beginning of his character.”

Seinfeld, Letterman, and Martin are joined in the documentary by other comedians and actors including Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Jimmy Kimmel, and the entire cast of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

They all laugh hard as they watch the clip, marveling, as Seinfeld does, that from the very beginning, Einstein knew exactly what kind of comedy he wanted to do.

“He goes, ‘You only need one thing, and if you’ve got it, you don’t need anything else,’” Gold says of the reaction Seinfeld gives in the film.

Gold, who grew up a self-described TV geek, had followed Einstein’s career from childhood, watching reruns of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” and other ’70s variety series on which Einstein appeared, such as “The Sonny & Cher Show.”

Later, when Super Dave Osborne took off, Gold watched for the character’s many appearances on late-night talk shows for hosts from Johnny Carson and David Letterman to Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel.

Six years ago, as explored making a documentary on TV comedy writer-producers, he filmed an interview with Einstein, parts of which appear in the new film, and the two became friends, Gold says.

“I was just infatuated with this guy,” Gold says. “His stories are so amazing. And his persona, with the deadpan, you know, he could take you down the road, telling you a story, then all of a sudden you just found out you went off the cliff.”

They saw each other occasionally, and talked on the phone more often.

“He’d call you up and tell you two or three jokes right off the bat,” Gold says. “It wouldn’t be like, ‘Hey, how are you,’ he’d be like, ‘OK, so you know …’, and go right into the joke.

“Then he would talk about the Dodgers, mostly because we both had a love of that, and then, 15 or 20 seconds on whatever business we had to discuss.

“I just loved the guy,” Gold says. “And so after he passed away, I had this amazing footage, and felt there was a story there, and through the magic of Hollywood, HBO came around.”

Gold says another discovery on the journey to the film was finding out more about his family and life growing up in a showbiz family in Beverly Hills.

His father, Harry Einstein, was a popular radio and film comedian who, unlike Bob Einstein, actually has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, though it’s under the name of his recurring character, Parkyakarkus. Bob’s mother Thelma was a singer and actress.

His younger brother Albert Brooks is a well-known actor-writer-comedian — he cast Bob in his film “Modern Romance” — and his older brother Cliff Einstein was an advertising executive. Both are interviewed in the film.

“His family life was really interesting to me, in the influence that it had on his comedy,” Gold says. “I didn’t know that he had polio and was home for year, and got to really observe his father working with comedy writers.

Einstein, whom other comics and actors knew as both a friend and comedian’s comedian, was so beloved by his colleagues that Gold says everyone he contacted for an interview was an immediate and enthusiastic yes.

“It was like, ‘About Bob? Sure!’” he says. “They loved him, and this was a chance to say it and show their appreciation.”

Steve Martin, who met Einstein when they both were new to Hollywood as writers on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” and also joined him as a writer on “The Sonny & Cher Show,” says in the film that for three years or so there was no one with whom he was closer.

Kimmel, who admits he never once called him Bob, always Super Dave, shares the time Einstein insisted on doing an expensive pre-filmed sketch. It was only after it aired that Kimmel found out that Einstein had not only done the exact same sketch on his “Super Dave” show, but he’d also done it 30 years earlier for “The Tonight Show,” too.

As the film begins, David, Silverman, Seinfeld and others joke about their certainty that Einstein would be mad that someone was making a documentary about him but that he’d also want to tell everyone how to make it.

“Listening to these stories, you really get a sense of Bob and who he was, and his interactions with his peers,” Gold says.

At the end of the film, Gold includes interviews with Einstein’s daughter Erin, as well as her young son and daughter, the grandchildren Einstein doted on.

“I think that was important to have,” he says. “Even though I went out to make a movie that was funny, and I wanted to sort of stay in that lane. But it has to be a full person. And that’s part of his life, a big part of his life.”

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