"RIP Bob Einstein. Super Dave/Marty Funkhouser" Wed Jan-02-19 09:47 PM by stravinskian
I hated the Funkhouser character at first. I thought he was way too over the top, totally broke the sense of realism that the show had. But he played the part so consistently that eventually I found him totally convincing.
And Super Dave was huge when I was a kid. Say what you will about the bit, but it was a huge cultural force and I loved it at the time.
Bob Einstein, a.k.a. Super Dave Osborne and Larry David Pal, Dies at 76
By Richard Sandomir Jan. 2, 2019 Bob Einstein, whose career as a comedy writer took a quirky turn into television acting as the hapless daredevil Super Dave Osborne, and later as a friend of Larry David’s on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” died on Wednesday at his home in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 76.
His manager, Lee Kernis, said the cause was cancer.
Mr. Einstein played Marty Funkhouser, Mr. David’s pal and occasional antagonist, on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” the long-running fictionalized version of Mr. David’s life on HBO. Mr. Einstein’s health precluded him from working on the series’ 10th season, which is now in production.
“Never have I seen an actor enjoy a role the way Bob did playing Marty Funkhouser on ‘Curb,’ ” Mr. David said in a statement. He added, “There was no one like him, as he told us again and again.”
In a panel discussion by “Curb” cast members at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles in 2010, Mr. Einstein recalled that Mr. David had called him two years earlier to tell him what was going to happen in the first episode of the coming season. “He said, ‘Your mother dies,’ and I said, ‘Well, unfortunately, it’s the truth, she just did die.’ And he said, ‘I’m not changing the script,’ and hung up.”
Unlike Marty Funkhouser, Super Dave was something of a cartoon character — a witless, deadpan parody of bravado-fueled stuntmen like Evel Knievel. Dressed in a mostly white jumpsuit and crash helmet, Super Dave attempted perilous stunts that invariably flopped and appeared to cause him great bodily harm.
“I deal out of a reality that isn’t real,” Mr. Einstein said in an interview with The New York Times in 1995. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what that means. I don’t really know what I do.”
Mr. Einstein had been on the writing staff of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in the late 1960s before he first appeared as Super Dave, on an episode of “The John Byner Comedy Hour” on CBS in 1972.
The character returned in the 1980s in “Bizarre,” another television series hosted by Mr. Byner, and continued through various other TV incarnations, including “Super Dave’s Vegas Spectacular” in 1995 and “Super Dave’s Spiketacular” in 2009. He also showed up frequently on late-night talk shows.
Stewart Robert Einstein was born on Nov. 20, 1942, in Los Angeles. His father, Harry, was a comedian who was known professionally as Harry Parke; he also had a comic alter ego, a Greek character named Parkyakarkus. Mr. Einstein’s mother, Thelma Leeds, was an actress.
His younger brother, Albert, eventually changed his name to Brooks and became a renowned comedian and filmmaker; a second brother, Cliff, is an advertising executive.
“A brilliantly funny man,” Mr. Brooks wrote on Twitter. “You will be missed forever.”
Mr. Einstein recalled his youth as a battle of wits among him, his father and Albert.
“It was a funny way to grow up,” he told The Times. “There weren’t too many complete dinners in that house. If you get that kind of example, you’re either going to make your life humor, or you’re going to reject everything you’re living with.”
His father died in 1958 after performing at a Friars Club roast for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Mr. Einstein did not go into show business immediately. After graduating from Chapman College in California, where he played basketball, he joined an advertising agency, where he wrote and directed TV commercials. That led him to an appearance on a talk show in Los Angeles, where he was cast in a sketch as the man responsible for putting the stars in the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard — a task that made him susceptible to bribery.
Mr. Einstein’s dry delivery piqued the interest of Tom Smothers, who offered him a job on the series that he hosted with his brother, Dick. Mr. Einstein wrote for “The Summer Brothers Smothers Show” in 1968 and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” from 1968 to 1969. While there, he occasionally played Officer Judy, a no-nonsense, humorless cop who once rode a motorcycle onstage to give Liberace a ticket. “Do you know how fast you were playing?” Mr. Einstein asked.
Throughout the 1970s he wrote for shows hosted by Pat Paulsen, Ken Berry, Sonny and Cher, the Hudson Brothers and Lola Falana. He also appeared on TV and occasionally in movies, including as a sporting goods salesman in his brother Albert’s film “Modern Romance” (1981).
Mr. Einstein won two Emmy Awards, the first in 1969 for writing for “The Smothers Brothers” (on a staff that also included Steve Martin and Mason Williams) and the second in 1977 for outstanding comedy-variety series, for “Van Dyke and Company,” a short-lived series starring Dick Van Dyke.
He also won a CableAce Award in 1992 as the star of the Showtime series “Super Dave.”
He is survived by his wife, Roberta; his daughter, Erin Einstein Dale; two grandchildren; and his brothers.
Mr. Einstein said that he did not originally see Super Dave as a role he would play, on and off, for most of his career. Indeed, he and the writer and producer Allan Blye, who helped him create the character, auditioned other actors for the part.
“There was never a plan,” Mr. Einstein told The Times. “We wanted to have a decent human being who was filled with confidence for absolutely no reason. We had no idea we’d be going after 10 seconds, much less 10 years.”