The 90-year-old comedy master opens up about his upcoming Blazing Saddles event at Radio City Music Hall, political correctness, and the state of comedy today.
In a world gone mad, Mel Brooks, now 90, is determined to get people back on his laugh track. Earlier this year, members of the Writers’ Guild of America voted for the 101 funniest screenplays of all time. Brooks was the only writer to have three scripts he wrote or co-wrote in the top 12: his Oscar-winning original screenplay for The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein.
On Sept. 1 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, after a screening of Blazing Saddles, Brooks will discuss why the classic western sendup is still a riot 42 years after its theatrical debut. If that weren’t enough, a coffee table book ofYoung Frankenstein will debut this fall.
Brooks is one of precious few to capture the EGOT, taking home Emmy, Tony, Grammy, and Academy awards. Like Don Rickles, Tony Bennett, and his close friend Carl Reiner, who co-created the 2000 Year Old Man bits, Brooks represents an era of show business that will pass when they do. But until that day comes, this old man river of laughs just keeps rollin’ on.
What did Warner Bros. executives think when they first sawBlazing Saddles?
Mel Brooks: They wanted to bury me and the film. The head of distribution told the owners not to release the picture but they only did because it was already booked in theaters and they didn’t have a picture they could replace it with. Only John Calley, an extremely filmmaker-friendly executive at the studio, championed it. The rest of the executives wouldn’t acknowledge me on the lot even when Blazing Saddles became a huge money maker.”