The world’s greatest comic director Mel Brooks had his reasons for bringing his special to HBO instead of Netflix as he explained to The Wrap. If you did get to see it over the weekend then you learned a lot about the man’s life and career.
Brooks explained, “CAA did a screening… It got down to Netflix, who wouldn’t give up, and to HBO. And since I had done two shows with HBO, I told CAA ‘I think I owe HBO a modicum of loyalty.”
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As for why he did the special Brooks said, “I just had an urge. I wondered ‘Could I go back to the Catskills? Could I go out there just me and a mic and entertain a thousand people?”
Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen was not a stand up show, but a man talking to the audience about his career and various life experiences. Brooks discussed his start in the Borscht Belt after World War II, how he got his first break writing for Sid Caesar’s television show at the start of the 1950s and how he became a director.
Almost 90, Brooks still has an unbelievable amount of energy and showed no signs of slowing down during the special. He could give any of the young and up and coming standup comics a run for their money.
Never a great singer, but at the very least a competent one, Brooks did sing in some of his films. He also wrote the original songs for High Anxiety and The Twelve Chairs. He sang both during the show.
As for the theme song from The 12 Chairs, “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst, ” Brooks explained that he sat down and wrote it after his wife, the late Anne Bancroft, nudged him to do so. Apparently he was at a loss of what to do for one and she simply told him that he was capable of writing such a song on his own.
Brooks later also wrote “High Anxiety” all by himself, the theme song from the movie of the same name, which he also sang in it.
Some other anecdotes shared by the director in the show include the casting of Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles and some of his army experiences.