At 86 years young, Mel Brooks is still an engaging storyteller and a child at heart, something that’s apparent in Mel Brooks Strikes Back!, an intimate conversation with BBC creative director Alan Yentob. In addition to classic clips from such TV series as Your Show of Shows, a routine of “The 2,000 Year Old Man” with Carl Reiner, and famous scenes from his numerous films, Brooks also tells humorous anecdotes from his childhood in Brooklyn and the early days of his career. Brooks is one of few artists to have received an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony, but remains humble enough to tell a story about a tomato sandwich that manages to bring the house down. “It’s good to be the king.”
Mel Brooks Strikes Back! debuts tonight on HBO at 9pm ET/PT. Hit the jump for more.
If you’re not a fan of Brooks or his films, you’re probably not going to get a lot out of this special. However, if you’re like me and celebrate the funnyman’s entire career as actor/writer/director/producer, then this hour will delight you with little-known facts from Brooks’ life as well as retrospective looks at some of his greatest works. Mel Brooks Strikes Back! is a very intimate and pared down interview which makes it feel almost as if Brooks is in your living room sharing stories over a bowl of veggies and sour cream.
You might think you know Brooks’ films inside and out, but he reveals little stories about the production of his pictures (such as the role of “The Waco Kid” in Blazing Saddles originally belonging to Gig Young, who was suffering from alcohol withdrawal during the shoot and was replaced by Gene Wilder), his cameos (Wilder would only sign on to Young Frankenstein if Brooks stayed behind the camera) and even his first experience being star-struck (a hilarious anecdote featuring his lunches with screen great, Cary Grant). All in all, Mel Brooks Strikes Back! is a nice little conversation with one of Hollywood’s greatest living legends; for fans of Brooks, it’s certainly worth a watch.