Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 by Eric Vespe
If you’re at all like me, you have a mini-heart attack every time you see Mel Brooks‘ name or photo repeatedly appear on your social media timelines because that tends to only mean really bad news or really good news. Thankfully, the reason for today’s proliferation of Mel Brooks is good news.
The man behind classics like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein is not only still with us, he’s releasing a memoir at the end of this year. The 95-year-old funnyman’s book is called All About Me! A Remarkable Life in Show Business and will deeply dive into his star-studded history from his Depression-era upbringing all the way through his time making some of the funniest movies ever committed to celluloid.
The book will hit shelves on November 30 and has become an automatic pre-order for me.
I grew up on Brooks’ films. I don’t know if there was a single movie more quoted around my house as a kid than Young Frankenstein (“Put. Zee candle. BECK!” and “Abby someone…” were heard daily in the Vespe household).
I have an early memory of being really pissed off at my mom because we went to the theater to see a movie I didn’t want to see. I think there was another movie I was more desperate for and she said no, we’re seeing something else, but I’d like it because “It’s like Star Wars.” That movie was, of course, Spaceballs, and yes, I loved it.
Mel Brooks is a Mensch
Here’s a fun anecdote about the man, the mensch, the legend.
In person, Brooks is every bit the entertainer you think he is. My one run-in with the man was during a publicity blitz he did for a DVD release of Blazing Saddles (shows you how long I’ve been at this that I’m nostalgically telling stories about a DVD release). It was a phone interview and, when he picked up the phone, the first thing he said was “Eric Vespe, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT!?!” Caps intentionally used for impact. He shouted it and I cracked up immediately.
He then gracefully transitioned into a kind “What can Mel Brooks do for you today?” and we had the most pleasant chat about Blazing Saddles. I also remember he perked right up when I brought up Preston Sturges, a screwball comedy legend whose work I was just getting into at the time, and he started rapid-fire recommending movies to me. You can always tell the folks in the business for the right reasons if you can connect to them on a specific level of movie geekdom.
The man is enthusiastic, talented beyond all belief, and just the loveliest guy. I’m very glad he’s still around, kicking ass, and now we have a nice big book of him recounting his life’s adventures to look forward to.
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