You don’t go into comedy unless, really, it’s all about you. Even if your comedy is about self loathing, it’s still about you.
What comedians want is clapping, whistling, foot stomping approval. The room, if not the heavens, should ring with our admiration and gratitude.
So Inside Comedy (Showtime, Thursday, 11:00) had a problem. Where to find someone who knew comedy from the “inside” but was not the captive of the comedian’s essential self regard.
Popular culture is strewn with projects in which the comedian serves as interviewer only to ruin the occasion by butting in with their own observations or hunting down the funny. (David Letterman has no clue how to conduct an interview despite 30 years of trying. There is no more convincing demonstration of someone’s inability to learn on the job.)
Enter David Steinberg, the interviewer (and executive producer) on Inside Comedy. Nancy deWolf Smith says:
Mr. Steinberg … is the ideal interviewer. He does not focus on himself but is exquisitely tuned in to his subjects, many of whom he knows well. This seems to have relaxed some of his guests to the point where they appear more natural, and less switched on—as entertaining as that can be—than they are with other interviewers.
Steinberg has a courtly quality, a fineness, a liquid intelligence, all of them made more generous by the evident conviction that comedy is not a zero sum enterprise. He also has a curiosity that promises us genuine interest in the place of the paddle-ball approach that characterizes so much interviewing these days. Inside Comedy should be good.
See the full article by Nancy deWolf Smith, by clicking here.