TV REVIEW : 'Super Dave' in Showtime Debut

No doubt about it: Super Dave Osborne is very strange. Funny. But strange. So is the fictional daredevil stunt man's new half-hour comedy/variety show, "Super Dave," which debuts on Showtime tonight at 10 and will begin a weekly run Jan. 8.

Super Dave Osborne--in real life comedy writer/producer/performer Bob Einstein--is the big, transparently insincere and hapless stunt goof whom Einstein originally created for Showtime's comedy cable series, "Bizarre." Like "Super Dave," "Bizarre" was written and produced by Einstein and his partner, Allan Blye.

Dressed always in his patriotically themed stunt man's suit, Super Dave introduces musical guest Ray Charles to the in-studio audience. After Brother Ray's tasty jazzy blues, Super Dave deadpans his way toward the grand finale--one of the typically unbelievable and impossibly complicated stunts he's famous for.

In tonight's case, it is a catapult-assisted 40-foot-high slam dunk performed in the Super Dave Memorial Arena, part of Super Dave's 500-acre stunt complex.

Nice try, Super Dave.

But even in complete failure, Super Dave is his grinning, unflappable self. Relentlessly sarcastic, with a quiet mean streak, he's verbally cruel to his assistants and he blithely takes all of the credit for the trampoline-powered flying dunks of the Super Dave Daredevils, whose incredible--and real--airborne acrobatics make the NBA's Michael Jordan look lead-footed.

Einstein can't help it if Super Dave's humor is a little odd. It's apparently genetic. He's the son of radio comedian Harry (Parkyakarkus) Einstein and the Beverly Hills-bred brother of the equally bent Albert Brooks (a comedian/film director who didn't think it was such a funny idea going through public life trying to live up to his given name, Albert Einstein).

"Super Dave" has a hideously loud laugh track, which is grating at first, but by the end you realize that it's probably just another subtlety on the part of Einstein and crew, who've put together a unique and funny--but strange--comedy show.

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