He's greedy, self-absorbed and fails more than he succeeds in his stunts but Super Dave Osborne is alive and well with four-part event "Super Dave's Spike-tacular" on Spike TV. Super Dave's creator Bob Einstein has been entertaining audiences with his alter ego since the early '70s as well as playing a variety of other characters in film ("Ocean's Thirteen") and television ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"). Jim Halterman talked to Bob about bringing Super Dave back to life as well as how much more abuse Marty Funkhauser can take from Larry David.
Jim Halterman: Tell me how Super Dave ended up coming back to television and on Spike.
Bob Einstein: What happened is that Kevin Kay, who runs Spike, called me and said he felt that the time was perfect for Super Dave to come back and he really loved Super Dave and would I do it? I thought about it and then I feel like I can take what I do a step further with CGI so I can almost come up with anything I want and do it. I felt that there was no form of unpredictable television out there. There's no form of, I would say, spoof reality. I didn't think there was anything that the family could sit down and really laugh out loud at. When 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' and the Kardashians and the 'Real Housewives of...' Pittsburgh or whatever... when those are the main shows on television, it's pathetic. So I just thought it would be fun to try and I really love what we came up with. I thought it really worked great.
JH: So are you telling me that when the train smashes into your car in the first episode that what we're seeing is all special effects?
BE: No! That was real! I'm telling you the truth. That was a real train and a real car. Now, I got out before it but it was all real.
JH: It was good to see Fuji (played by Hahn Cho) again as your assistant. Why does Super Dave keep Fuji around when he's so incompetent?
BE: It's almost like Laurel and Hardy. He's been with me too long to fire him but he's never gotten anything right. I kind of think I'm the only one with confidence going in but everyone else knows it's not going to work but me.
JH: Who are some of the guest stars you have coming up on the show?
BE: There's a piece with Kevin Nealon that will kill you. It's called Punk Cops and in the third episode I've got Carrot Top and Larry David and some other people. There's a great set-up called 'Look-a-likes.' I've got Jimmy Kimmel and Jose Conseco in the fourth show. It's really packed!
JH: I would guess that it's not difficult to get people to appear on the show since everyone seems to have fond memories of Super Dave.
BE: Everybody I asked did it. I also asked friends and I think it's the kind of thing that's pure fun. I don't think that television is loaded with that right now, the unpredictable and that kind of comedy that you can talk about the next day.
JH: I know that you created Super Dave as a nod to Evel Knievel but did you ever hear from him or his son, Robbie?
BE: Robbie was on my show a number of times and I heard from Evel a lot of times and he loved me but he thought I was doing a take-off of him but I wasn't really. Where it started was from every asshole who worked on a movie or worked in athletics or anything and when they were interviewed they were always Mr. Gladhand. "This was the best game I ever had!" "This is the best stunt I've ever done!" But then behind the scenes they said what they really felt. I wanted to create a character where you saw both sides of it. He was happy as shit before he got killed and then afterwards you saw the real side of him so that's where it came from. It didn't really have to do with Evel except that I was a stuntman.
JH: With your brother being Albert Brooks, is it safe to assume that your love for comedy started as a kid?
BE: My father was a brilliant comedian and he was hilarious and I know you never would have heard of him but when I was a little boy - and this is an unbelievable story - I came home and he was with the original Amos and Andy, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, teaching them how to do accents. He was absolutely brilliant and he died too young but that's what we came from.
JH: Talk to me about Marty Funkhouser on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Was Marty your creation?
BE: Yeah, I created him once Larry said he wanted me to do it and I just love it. I think that the relationship with Larry... did you see the episode with the golf? It's probably the funniest one ever done and it's hysterical. In the ninth episode, he and I have a real problem as I come to the Seinfeld rehearsal uninvited and he goes ape-shit. I love doing Funkhouser.
JH: And Catherine O'Hara as your sister Bam-Bam Funkhouser earlier this season was fantastic!
BE: How great was that episode? And look at what [Larry has] done to me over the years - my father was buried with his 5 wood, he stole my mother's flowers from her gravesite, my daughter was a dyke and he turned her back into one and then my sister is a mental patient and his friend fucks her! And I keep saying we're best friends?! Why?!
JH: Does the whole improv element of "Curb' come easy to you?
BE: Yeah, that's always been the best way for me to work because it allows me to really think funny on my feet - if you think I'm funny - and you really have to listen to what the other person is saying. You're not concentrating on your line and if you're not listening to what I'm saying you're not going to respond properly. It's really the best way to work for me and the people I've worked with on Super Dave and on Larry's show; it just really works. What you do is you try to make each other laugh.
JH: If the four episodes of 'Super Dave' do well, can we expect more?
BE: Yes. I would never do 26 each year like we used to do but a smaller order I would do. I had a lot of fun and I really liked the way the format turned out and I think it's going to be enjoyable.
"Super Dave's Spike-tacular" airs Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c on Spike TV.