R.I.P., Super Dave Osborn

The passing of Bob Einstein also brought the passing of his alter-ego, the heroically ill-fated daredevil stuntman Super Dave Osborn.

I’ve never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm so I missed that phase of Einstein’s career, but through the ‘80s and ‘90s, Super Dave was a regular guest on Johnny Carson and David Letterman’s late night shows. He played his character deadpan straight and bonehead stupid (why did he keep trusting Fuji to mastermind these stunts?? why did he never learn to do a test run first??).

Looking at the videos on the Super Dave Youtube channel, I’m impressed by the bone-dry way he set up the spectacular ending to these bits. The meticulous build up of ridiculous detail, the razor sharp editing of the climactic end of each bit, the sound editing (listen to Super Dave talking up to the microsecond that the axe falls) (and remember this was done back in the analog days of tape and film), and the amount of real-life planning and setup it must have taken to set up the reality of these set-pieces that existed only to be utterly demolished — along with Super Dave.

Here’s a good video to get the flavor of these bits: the deadpan build-up of detail, the stretching-out of the moments leading up to the blink-and-you-miss-it visual punchline, and really, just the sheer silliness of expending all this effort just to watch Super Dave get smashed to pieces.— I love it.