Legendary comedy movie writer, director, producer, and actor Mel Brooks is doing something this year that in over 65 years of showbiz he has never done before -- releasing an HBO special entitled "Mel Brooks: Live at the Geffen"! As Brooks’s story goes, he started out performing stand-up comedy after a comic got sick at the Borscht Belt resorts in the Catskills where he originally performed as a drummer and pianist. (He preferred drums because he could make noise and get attention for it.) Sometime after that, he started writing for TV thanks to friend and fellow comedian Sid Caesar, and even though his vaudevillian skits are legendary, nobody has really ever seen him do stand-up. And now... well, you still won’t, as this special is technically a one-man show, but many such shows often teeter on the line of being stand-up comedy.
But why is he doing this now? He’s the man who brought us such memorable moments, like the song “Springtime for Hitler”, completely smashing apart the reality of his own film to stage an all-out fist-fight through the Warner Bros. lot, and creating the perfect nonsense of making many of his characters astonishingly oblivious to their surroundings, like Igor not knowing he has a hump. He also brought us this:
(Gene Wilder tried really hard not to laugh at Marty Feldman in that scene!)
Brooks hit his stride in the film world with smash hits throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and History of the World: Part 1 (still waiting on Part 2 and 3). He has won three Tony Awards for his own stage musical adaptation of his Oscar-winning screenplay for The Producers. He’s even one of the few rare and elusive EGOT winners (Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and Tony).
With all of this success and the accolades to prove it, why has it taken Brooks this long to a comedy special? It’s simple; it’s taken him this long to just write the darn thing. Think about for a second -- This is going to be a one-man show, meaning it’ll be about his life and career. What a life and career this man has had too! Take a look at the clip below to get a sense of what you’ll be getting into:
Man, I can’t wait for this to come out (at 9PM on Saturday, January 31). Be sure to set your DVRs or look out for it to pop up on your distant relative's HBO Go account in the near future. As a result of this new special, a question that is burning in my mind is, does this mean he’s gearing up for a new project? Perhaps doing what he does best and making one more movie to shake up the system? Who knows? I do know that January 31 isn’t far from now. Until then, check out the medley of Mel Brooks’s songs made for him by the folks at the Kennedy Center in his honor: