“For anyone who loves American comedy, the long wait is over. Here are the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and remembrances from a master storyteller, film-maker, and creator of all things funny.
All About Me! charts Mel Brooks’ meteoric rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Whether serving in the United States Army in World War II, or during his burgeoning career as a teenage comedian in the Catskills, Mel was always mining his experiences for material, always looking for the perfect joke. His iconic career began with Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, where he was part of the greatest writers’ room in history, which included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart. After co-creating both the mega-hit 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and the classic television series Get Smart, Brooks’ stellar film career took off. He would go on to write, direct and star in The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety and Spaceballs, as well as produce groundbreaking and eclectic films, including The Elephant Man, The Fly and My Favorite Year. Brooks then went on to conquer Broadway with his record-breaking, Tony-winning musical, The Producers.
All About Me! offers fans insight into the inspiration behind the ideas for his outstanding collection of boundary-breaking work, and offers details about the many close friendships and collaborations Brooks had, including those with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Alfred Hitchcock and the great love of his life, Anne Bancroft.
Filled with tales of struggle, achievement and camaraderie, listeners will gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the incredible body of work behind one of the most accomplished and beloved entertainers in history.”
I’m not sure how I was first introduced to Mel Brooks and his comedic genius, but once I was, I was hooked. From Blazing Saddles to Young Frankenstein to Spaceballs, his humor has kept me laughing for over 40 years. All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business (just $2.99 on Kindle right now Amazon) is just that: recollections of Brooks’ life and the many projects he’s had throughout his 95-year long life. I’m happy to say that Brooks shares his early life and provides background as a foundation to his future work. He served admirably in WWII, and as a lover of classic television, he talked about his life working on Sid Caesar’s show and meeting Carl Reiner, another comedy genius.
Brooks goes into great detail about each of his projects throughout his career, including the 1960’s television comedy Get Smart with Don Adams, to making his first movie, The Producers (1968), to the year 1974, when he opened the year with one movie, Blazing Saddles, and ended the year with Young Frankenstein. What a year!
I was happy to hear that Brooks has Alfred Hitchcock’s blessing to make High Anxiety, which was an homage to Hitchcock films. It took me years to find this film because our library didn’t have it, and wasn’t in any of the rental stores (remember those? Renting a physical movie from a store? Yes, I’m aging myself quite a bit, aren’t I?) His interactions with Hitch were sweet and funny, just as many found the Master of Suspense to be when he wasn’t making a film.
Brooks talks about his wife, Anne Bancroft from time to time, but also makes a point of saying he didn’t want to talk too much about his personal life and concentrate on his work in his memoir. He only mentions in passing the fact that he had a first wife and three kids and that with Bancroft he had two kids. Usually when I read or listen to a memoir, I want to hear more personal stories to humanize the person featured, but I didn’t feel neglected with Brooks because he has so many great work stories.
I was eager to hear about Brooks and his work on The Producers: The Musical, because I love Broadway musicals and have played the soundtrack countless times. That and I’ve been a big fan of Matthew Broderick since WarGames (that was pre-Ferris Bueller, for those of you that don’t know). Then, something that only could happen to Mel Brooks: a movie adaptation of a musical that was based upon his original movie!
This book is great for anyone who has a love of film comedy or Broadway musicals. And trust me, get the audio version because Brooks really knows how to perform!
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