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Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story

Comedy, Film & Film History, Art, Jewish Film
Barry Avrich
75 minutes



*Official Selection Hot Docs 2013

"Reason to applaud… with a hearty 'Booga booga.'"
— Variety

"A captivating look at one of [Canada's] greatest comic talents." — Dave McGinn, The Globe and Mail

"Highly entertaining story of David Steinberg’s life and career... wonderful clips revealing how satiric comedy emerged as the most potent critique of North American politics and culture of a tumultuous era." — Phil McCarten, Toronto Star

"While other documentaries about standup comics often emphasize emotional pain, Steinberg's bio is as upbeat as the man himself." — Video Librarian

"Quality Balls is an entertaining look at a singular comedic talent. Recommended for general audiences and fans and students of comedy." — Library Journal

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Americans have long depended on Canada for three things: oil, maple syrup and comedians. David Steinberg counts among Canada's biggest comedic exports. Born in Winnipeg, he attended Yeshiva in Chicago, abandoning his studies to join the legendary Second City. He never looked back. The film features priceless archival footage of his performances, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he was second only to Bob Hope in the number of appearances) and the standup shows that put him in the ranks of George Carlin and Richard Pryor. At times too controversial for US networks, his religious sermonettes generated more hate mail for CBS than any network had ever received, resulting in the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. His directing credits are no less outstanding, including Seinfeld, Mad About You, Golden Girls and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Steinberg’s incredible career influenced a generation and now, after 25 years, he returns to the stage in this exceptional biography.



Barry Avrich has produced and directed 20 documentary films including the critically acclaimed The Last Mogul and Unlikely Obsession and he has produced The Tempest and Caesar and Cleopatra both starring the Oscar winning actor Christopher Plummer.

Aside from his philanthropic work with organizations such as Best Buddies, Toronto Film Festival, The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, U for Change, Barry created and built the world’s first state of the art cinema in a hospital in 2008. The Hollywood Theatre at Sick Kids in Toronto screens first run films for patients. As a leading marketing executive, film producer and arts philanthropist, he has entertained, enlightened and helped millions of people for the past twenty six years.


NPR Audio Interview w/ David Steinberg

Daily News - 'Quality Balls' follows David Steinberg's twisting path to fame

NOW Magazine - 10 Docs So Hot They’ll Sell Out

NY Times - Steinberg's Interview with Robert Schimmel

Toronto Standard - What to See at Hot Docs 2013

Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind - Review

Row 3 - Review

National Post - Review

NOW Magazine - Review

SF GATE - Review

Suggested Films

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Quality Balls - Educational Use (DVD)



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