Super Dave (TV series)

Super Dave
Also known as ''The Super Dave Osborne Show''
Genre Sketch comedy
Created by Allan Blye
Bob Einstein
Directed by Jack Budgel
Starring Super Dave Osborne
Robert Gruenberg
Art Irizawa
Don Lake
Michel Lauzière
Pat McNeilly
Mike Walden
Composer(s) James Dale
Country of origin Canada
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 95 (list of episodes)
Location(s) Glen Warren Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1987-1988)
Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts, Markham Ontario, Canada (1988-1992)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 2224 minutes
Original network Showtime (United States)
Global Television Network (Canada)
Original release 1987 – 1992
Preceded by Bizarre
Followed by "Super Dave All-Stars"

Super Dave (also known as The Super Dave Osborne Show) is a Canadian/American 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. Super Dave was spun off from the sketch comedy series Bizarre, which featured Bob Einstein in recurring roles, including Super Dave. Super Dave made his first appearance on the 1972 TV series The John Byner Comedy Hour. Einstein then regularly played the character on the short-lived 1976 variety series Van Dyke and Company, starring Dick Van Dyke.[1][2][3]

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 semicircle of bleacher-style seats (It was the same studio where Bizarre was taped, the Glen Warren Studios at CFTO-TV in Toronto). The new studio was a typical theater with a raised stage, a balcony of seating and private boxes. This was the Markham Theatre in Markham, Ontario.

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, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, impressionist André-Philippe Gagnon, comedian Steve Allen, talk show host Regis Philbin, and the Smothers Brothers, whose variety show Einstein got his start writing for.

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:

Running gags

On-air promotion

Weekly 30-second 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".


Reruns started airing on Comedy Gold on September 6, 2011. The show was dropped from its schedule in September, 2015.


  1. BILL STEIGERWALD (2001-01-26). "TV REVIEW : 'Super Dave' in Showtime Debut - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-11-29.
  2. John J. O'Connor (1987-11-24). "TV Review; 'Super Dave' on Showtime - New York Times". Retrieved 2012-11-29.
  3. "Super Dave: Cliches For Laughs - Sun Sentinel". 2000-01-07. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
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