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The New York Times has called David Steinberg “a comic institution.”
This summer in Norfolk, the comedian, author, actor and director will be described in another way: comedy legend.
Steinberg will be this year’s recipient of the Johnny Carson Comedy Legend award at the 2014 Great American Comedy Festival presented by Nucor Steel and proudly sponsored by WOWT NBC Omaha.
Steinberg and his wife, Robyn, will be on hand to receive the award at the Saturday, June 14, festival performance at the Johnny Carson Theatre. His name will be added to an impressive list of previous legend award recipients: Dick Cavett, Bill Dana, Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman, Jimmie “JJ” Walker and Stephen Wright.
His connection to Johnny Carson is strong. After his first appearance on the “The Tonight Show,” he became one of Carson’s most popular guests and guest hosts, with 140 appearances — second only to Bob Hope. Steinberg was the youngest person ever to guest host “The Tonight Show.”
“The Great American Comedy Festival was created to pay tribute to Johnny’s legacy. So to have someone like David Steinberg — who Johnny thought so much of — as part of our festival is so fitting,” said Paula Pflueger, vice chairwoman of the festival.
A legendary comedian of the 1960s through the ’80s, Steinberg is now regarded as one of the best and most creative directors working in television today. He has directed numerous episodes of “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” “Mad About You,” “Newhart” and “Designing Women,” which he also executive produced.
More recently, Steinberg has directed for the hit cable television series “Weeds” and continues directing “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO. His work has earned him several Emmy awards and nominations.