Our Political Correct World is the death of comedy, says Mel Brooks: Veteran comedian claims society is ‘stupidly via politically correctness’ and that many of his films could not be made today do to this lacking of comedic diversity
Mel Brooks was a Handsome Stud
Mel Brooks was a Handsome Stud
The Political Correct World, as we know it, Is The Death Of Comedy, says Mel Brooks. Now and WOW, Mel-Brooks was one sexy guy, and still is since knowing his past, by images-pictures.
Veteran Hollywood comedian Mel Brooks says society has become ‘stupidly in this Political Correct World’, which has been ‘the death of comedy’.
The producer and director said many of his films – including 1974 comedy western Blazing Saddles, which satirized racism – could not be made today.
Political Correct World: Asked if there was anything he would not parody, Brooks, 91, who dressed as Hitler in 1983 film To Be or Not To Be, told Radio 4’s Today program: ‘I would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Everything else is OK…
Political Correct World Veteran Hollywood comedian Mel Brooks (pictured on Jonathan Ross) says society has become ‘stupidly politically correct’, which has been ‘the death of comedy’ and ‘Naked people(?); Fine.
Political Correct World: I like naked people, they’re usually the most polite. We have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy. It’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.’
Brooks said he thought his 1974 comedy musical Young Frankenstein was among the few of his films that could be made now. He has turned it into a West End show, starring Ross Noble and Lesley Joseph, and said he hopes to do the same with Blazing Saddles.
‘It’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks.
‘Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior.’
Brooks said he knew he was funny from a very young age, adding: ‘People would peer down into my crib and laugh.
Brooks, 91, dressed as Hitler in 1983 film To Be or Not To Be (pictured)
‘And I said, ‘this is good, funny is money’. Somehow I put it together right.’
Political Correct World: Brooks has turned Young Frankenstein into a West End stage show, starring comedian Ross Noble and Birds Of A Feather actress Lesley Joseph, and revealed his hopes for the same with Blazing Saddles.
Among his many credits, Brooks – whose directorial debut The Producers won him an Oscar for best original screenplay – is one of only 12 people to have scooped an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award and a Tony.
But he joked that he would like to be remembered for something else – for being taller than he is.
Brooks said: ‘I don’t want to be remembered as me, because I’m too short.
Political Correct World: ‘Age has cut me down to 5ft 5 and a half, 5ft 6 and a half. I would like to be remembered as 6ft 2.’
Mel Brooks’ outrageous western send-up “Blazing Saddles’’ was truly groundbreaking — and wind-breaking, during the famous campfire bean-eating scene — when it hit theaters 40 years ago. Though it almost didn’t.
Here are some secrets that Brooks has revealed in a new interview included in a 40th anniversary Blu-ray edition out Tuesday, May 6, as well as at recent appearances at the Turner Classic Film Festival:
Mel Brooks spills the secrets you never knew about his classic comedy “Blazing Saddles.”
1. James Earl Jones was originally going to play the sheriff, Black Bart (the role that went to Cleavon Little), in a version to be directed by actor Alan Arkin.
“When that project fell apart, Warner Bros. asked me to look at Andrew Bergman’s script. I thought it was a good opportunity to spoof all the Westerns I saw as a kid in Williamsburg and to comment about racism.”
2. Brooks quit when Warner Bros. refused to cast his first choice for Black Bart, co-writer and gonzo comedian Richard Pryor.
“The studio said he couldn’t be insured after a drug arrest. Richard [inset] urged me to return and audition other actors. He thought Cleavon Little was a better choice than him — ‘He’s a stage-trained actor, charming, handsome and strong, plus this guy is coal-black, way darker than me. He’s going to scare the s–t out of that town.’ ”
3. When shooting began, character actor Gig Young (below) was playing the Waco Kid.
“He was great in ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,’ and he was a recovering alcoholic. Unfortunately, he wasn’t really recovering and he vomited something green all over the jailhouse set the first day. So I had to send for Gene Wilder to replace him.”
4. Madeline Kahn balked at showing Brooks her legs before playing chanteuse Lili Von Shtupp.
“She said, ‘So it’s THAT kind of an audition?’ I explained that I was a happily married man and that I needed someone who could straddle a chair with her legs like Marlene Dietrich in ‘Destry Rides Again.’ So she lifted her skirt and said, ‘No touching.’ ”
5. Pryor urged Brooks not to hold back on using the N-word.
“When I thought it was getting to be too much, Richard said, ‘No, we are writing a story of racial prejudice. That’s the word, the only word. It’s profound, it’s real, and the more we use it from the rednecks, the more the victory of the black sheriff will resonate.’ ”
6. After a sneak preview, Warner Bros. chairman Ted Ashley dictated a memo to Brooks ordering him to eliminate all uses of the N-word and those flatulence sound effects, among many other things.
“When he left, I crumpled up all of my notes and threw the wad into a wastebasket . . . I didn’t cut a sentence or a word or even an expression on anybody’s face.”
7. Brooks assumed people would get the film’s many cultural references.
“I always thought the audience was as smart as the filmmakers. When Black Bart is trying to rally the townspeople, he’s basically doing the Agincourt speech from Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ with an interpolated lyric from Cole Porter’s ‘You Do Something to Me.’ ”
8. Frankie Laine, who sings the Brooks-written title song, didn’t realize “Blazing Saddles’’ was a comedy.
“He had performed title songs for many 1950s Westerns [and] sent me a letter saying this was a better tribute to the West than any of them. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was all a spoof.”
9. Warner Bros. almost didn’t release the film at all.
“When we screened it for executives, there were few laughs. The head of distribution . . . [they] said, ‘It’s simply too vulgar for the American people. Let’s dump it and take a loss.’ But [studio president John] Calley insisted they open it in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as a test. It became the studio’s top moneymaker that summer.”
10. Brooks thinks “Blazing Saddles’’ is funnier than “Some Like It Hot.’’
“Billy Wilder’s film is extremely funny, but scene for scene, there are more laughs in my movie. It’s not right for me to say so, but I really think this could be the funniest motion picture ever made.”