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The Globe and Mail

Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story: The Canadian who helped transform stand-up comedy

3.5 out of 4 stars

Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story
Directed by
Barry Avrich

Comedy fans will love this biography of Winnipeg-born David Steinberg. Packed with archival footage of his early days performing with The Second City in Chicago and his innumerable appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, the film explores Steinberg's tremendous influence on comedy. It was Steinberg, along with Richard Pryor and George Carlin, who transformed stand-up in the 1960s, turning it from the delivery of zingers to personal storytelling and social satire. A who's who of famous comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Dave Foley and Norm Macdonald, help illuminate Steinberg's place in the comedy pantheon. Although short on details from his personal life, the documentary is nonetheless a captivating look at one of this country's greatest comic talents.

May 2, 9:30 p.m., Bloor; May 3, 4:15 p.m., Scotiabank; May 5, 4:15 p.m., Bader.

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