If you asked me for a list of people working in television that I'd most like to talk to, at the top of that list would be Bob Einstein. I've been a long-time fan, since The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour where he played Officer Judy. Since that time he's been a television variety show writer / producer and is today best known for two roles - Super Dave Osborne and Larry David's nemesis Marty Funkhauser on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Here's an excerpt from our talk, mostly about his stint as the producer of the best variety shows of the 1970s:
Bob Einstein: We did some great stuff. We did Van Dyke & Company and Redd. I started as head writer of The Smothers Brothers when I was 22. I've been around a while, I'm still alive but barely, I think.Bob goes on to talk about Bizarre, writing with Steve Martin, why Dick Van Dyke's variety show ended, and then tells me a story about Redd Foxx that I had to clip out per Mr. Einstein's request.
Billy Ingram: That was a great era, the whole variety show era.
Bob Einstein: You know, it really was. It really was. It was interesting, creative, talented television. You know, there were a lot of talented people.
I mean, television scares me now. You used to hear about this 'fifteen minutes of fame' but now it's fifteen months. To turn on my television and see Jon and Kate on the NBC Today show - who gives a shit about these people? And Octomom and the sisters, what have they ever done?
Listen to the 8 1/2 minute interview in Quicktime.