The Professor Can't Wait for Quality Balls

02/12/2014

Matthew H. Bernstein here. I'm really looking forward to introducing Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story Saturday night, February 15, at Lefont Sandy Springs when it screens at 10:10 PM. This is definitely a film worth catching.

If had room to add it to my “Professor’s Picks,” I definitely would have. It’s similar to the best documentary profiles we’ve screened at AJFF ever year — a beautifully put together story of Steinberg’s life from playing hooky in kindergarten to directing episodes of Seinfeld (Jerry is the source of the film’s title) and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’ve never seen Larry David so serious before, but it’s all about paying tribute to Steinberg’s gift for improvisation, honed at Second City alongside Mike Nichols, Elaine May and Alan Arkin while Steinberg was still in his teens!

Growing up, Steinberg was, for me, in the shadow of Richard Pryor, Woody Allen and George Carlin. This film shows me what I missed — some amazing clips of his own show (Martin Short does an amazing impersonation of Steinberg as Captain Hook), his many appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and a number of his standup routines. The film, like Steinberg himself, is hilarious. And it’s not just about Steinberg, but a history American comedy and of television. I can’t recommend this film enough. I hope you can see it.