Super Dave Osborne and “Mean” Gene Okerland
I find it odd that Super Dave Osborne, the alter-ego of Bob Einstein, and “Mean” Gene Okerlund both passed away at the age of 76 within days of each other. It probably doesn’t mean anything, but damn that’s weird.
When I used to watch Late Night with David Letterman religiously, you knew it was going to be a good show when Super Dave Osborne was booked. His sketches were always basically Wile E Coyote-style mishaps and had me laughing hysterically. He was always serious, but everything around him was silly. I watched a lot of Evel Knievel as a kid and Super Dave was the epitome of poking fun at professional stuntmen and providing the “crash” most fans were waiting for with Knievel.
I’m a big fan of one of his earliest bit — Wrecking Ball.
I was never much of a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he’s probably better known as Marty Funkhouser than Super Dave. For me though, he was always the trained professional with danger as his middle name. His ability to sell the realism of whatever silly daredevil stunt he was about to “perform” was probably one of my earliest exposures to satire.
Speaking of deadpan delivery and realism, “Mean” Gene Okerland was the best. Never breaking character. Never shooting. Never doing anything, but bringing his cool demeanor and smooth voice to whatever chaos was happening with whatever professional wrestler he was interviewing.
“Mean” Gene was at his best with the craziest of wrestlers. I’m a fan of his interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage (“I am the cream of the crop!”) and the Ultimate Warrior (HUUUUULK HOGHHAN!).
Both Okerland and Einstein brought countless hours of entertainment to the masses. They will be missed.