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Super Dave (aka: The Super Dave Osborne Show) was a variety show starring and hosted by the fictional character Super Dave Osborne (played by Bob Einstein). It ran from 1987 to 1991 on Showtime in the US and the Global Television Network in Canada. Reruns currently air on Showcase Action and CKXT-TVmarker (Sun TV) in Canada. Super Dave was spun off from the sketch comedy series Bizarre, which featured Bob Einstein in recurring roles, including Super Dave.

The show

Super Dave took place in a theater with an audience. The stage featured his signature "bulb wall" - a movable wall lined with red, white and blue light bulbs, which would act as a curtain. He would often do an introductory monologue, and introduce guest performers there. The studio was located at the fictional "Super Dave Compound" – a combination resort/theme park/learning center/etc. (anything needed for a particular episode). In the first season, in 1987, the compound was often referred to as the "stunt compound" or "Super Dave Complex". In the second season, the show moved to a different studio. It featured the same stage setup - the bulb wall and the billboard sign behind it; however, the studio was much larger. In the original studio, the stage was at the lowest point in the studio and was surrounded by a semi-circle of bleacher-style seats. The new studio was a typical theater with a raised stage, a balcony of seating and private boxes.

A typical episode consisted of a teaser scene of Super Dave outside the studio, often somewhere else within his compound; his theme and introduction in the studio, usually featuring one or more artistic performances; followed by another remote scene, usually a stunt.

Musical guests on the show included Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Doug and the Slugs, k.d. lang, Jerry Lee Lewis, Colin James, Bobby McFerrin, Kenny Rogers, and Sonny Bono. Other types of performances were also featured, including ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, impressionist André-Philippe Gagnon, and comedian Steve Allen. Besides simply bringing performers onstage normally, a false reason was often given for the performer's appearance - for instance, they might be introduced as a member of the show or compound's staff that Super Dave would allow to perform, or an audience member who suddenly revealed a talent. When a performer was introduced with such a fake background story, Super Dave would often go to thank the performer after a short simple performance, only to have them continue with a more elaborate performance before he could do so; this would repeat several times.

Super Dave's signature was to perform outrageous daredevil stunts which invariably went awry and resulted in his grievous injury - usually at the end of an episode. These included such things as riding inside the hub of a giant yo-yo suspended from a crane (the yo-yo broke free of its string and rolled off a cliff into a ravine) and being flung inside a giant football (the catapult malfunctioned and "spiked" the football instead of throwing it). After an injury occurred, Super Dave would usually appear torn apart, stretched, or otherwise injured. One of his signature logos is a drawing of his head (in a helmet or his baseball cap) on top of a pair of shoes with no body. This was occasionally how he appeared after a stunt resulted in something falling on top of him.

The compound concept was explored as the seasons went on, and he would increasingly forgo a stunt in order to demonstrate a new feature of the compound, or a new piece of technology they were working on at the compound. These demonstrations would usually have the same results as his stunts, and he would be injured. Sometimes he planned to go to a stunt, but ran out of time, and would be injured in some other way. There were rare episodes in which he had been injured before the show began, and was already in the hospital, or in which he was not injured at all.

Recurring characters

Super Dave was accompanied by several recurring characters including:
  • Mike Walden, Super Dave's announcer, whose loud suits were frequently the subject of mockery. He was almost always present in the remote segments.
  • Fuji Hakayito (Art Irizawa), Super Dave's barely comprehensible stunt coordinator.
  • Donald Glanz (Don Lake), the manager of the Super Dave Compound. Amusingly, glans is the proper name for the head of the penis.
  • A Jamaicanmarker steel drum band that only knew how to play Barry Manilow's song "Copacabana". They were always sent as a replacement for The Super Dave Band, who were unable to appear on the show when scheduled, usually due to a bar mitzvah (making them an unseen character). The Super Dave Band reportedly had a vast repertoire, which was featured in a game where audience members would try to stump the band by naming songs they would have to play. The steel drum band's leader would confirm they knew the song, and then play "Copacabana", frustrating Super Dave. A similar bit was "Name That Song", where the audience members would have to name a song played by the band.
  • Michel Lauzière, a supposed backstage worker who often came on to the stage unannounced to do an interesting performance or magic trick, much to the chagrin of Super Dave. After being told not to come back until he had something "unique", he would usually return seconds later with a different trick.
  • Bernie Weinthal, Super Dave's midget attorney.
  • Tony Cox, the president of the network, who always ended up getting Super Dave irritated somehow.
  • Danny, an unseen camera man who is always mentioned by Super Dave

Running gags

  • An early joke that appears to have been abandoned was Mike Walden mispronouncing Fuji's surname differently every time he mentioned him. As a later gag, Walden is unable to understand Fuji's explanations of stunts, though, despite his heavy accent, the explanations are quite understandable.
  • Mike Walden would often comment that safety equipment included "genuine Saskatchewanmarker seal-skin bindings" (even though Saskatchewan is landlocked).
  • The stunts/injuries were usually done with the use of dummies, and Super Dave would often do overdubs both during and after the stunt.
  • Super Dave would often ask for help, requests which Mike, Donald, and Fuji usually ignored or misunderstood, and leave him alone injured. If they did realize he was hurt, their attempts to help him would usually result in further injury.
  • Super Dave would often overdub a "goodnight" speech while waiting injured.
  • Super Dave would often comment on his associates' incompetence; he would often refer to Mike Walden as a "putz". Every now and then, he would swear, but it was always bleeped out with a duck's quack or a horn honk.
  • Scenes would often continue after the characters believed the cameras were turned off.
  • Super Dave would often be hit or run over by a vehicle, even when the sequence had nothing to do with them, and often including ambulances after he had already been hurt.
  • Some of Super Dave's common catchphrases on the show included noting that something great would "knock your socks off", and exclaiming "new pain!" or "no pain!" when he was being injured.
  • Super Dave was often portrayed as self-serving, especially in scenes where he believed he was off-camera.
  • The show was often said to be running late, and Super Dave would often chide people for wasting time.
  • When naming famous people or other two-word proper names, Super Dave often misstates one of the names and is corrected by Mike or someone near him, though he seems not to notice. For example, "tennis great Johnny Connors", corrected quickly by Mike to "Jimmy".
  • Super Dave was often presented with honors and awards, and then reminded his staff that he did not like to be embarrassed by doing so on the air. He would often receive a trophy, say how much it meant to him, then casually toss it away.
  • Super Dave would usually arrive at his stunt and tour segments in a vehicle, often with Donald or Fuji, to a waiting Mike Walden. He would sometimes arrive in unique vehicles including a personal hovercraft and an amphibious car.
  • Super Dave would often respond to critics in a disreputable or trashy news source; he would often reveal the name of the source, a reputable source such as 60 Minutes.
  • Many Super Dave commercial products were shown, and some were shown to have inflated prices.
  • Other services at the Super Dave Compound were shown to have inflated prices.
  • He would often invite audience members to participate in contests where they would be winning until the last question, and then be faced with an impossible final requirement, and lose a big prize in favor of Super Dave hats and shirts.
  • If Fuji was being exceptionally annoying, Super Dave would usually hand Fuji a small dumbbell, asking him "Here, hold this". Upon grabbing the dumbbell, Fuji would promptly fall to the floor due to its weight.

On-air promotion

Weekly: 30 promos were produced by Showtime Networks to promote the series. The announcer was Doug Jeffers, who abandoned his typical breathy relaxed style for one that was more ringmaster-like in tone and emphasis. The music bed for each promo was a generic track called "Circus, Circus, Circus". The producer of the bulk of these promos was Steve Kolodny, who was given a yearly appearance on the show as "a film student who has produced a Super Dave music video"


  • The Smothers Brothers, whose variety show Bob Einstein got his start writing for, appeared on his show several times.

External links

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