Legendary comedic genius Mel Brooks has a dire warning about the state of comedy today.
He says, “We have become stupidly politically correct, which is the death of comedy.” Amen to that!
Brooks acknowledged, “It’s OK not to hurt the feelings of various tribes and groups.” BUT – there’s a big qualifier: “However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. It’s the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, telling the truth about human behaviour.”
It’s hard to take risks with Social Justice Warriors bean-counting every possible offense against their ideological enemies.
Of course, the number one Mel Brooks movie that could not be made today is the classic 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles because of the racial prejudice that’s satirized, but “without that the movie would not have had nearly the significance, the force, the dynamism and the stakes that were contained in it.”
To Brooks, there is only one thing that crosses the line in comedy and “everything else is OK.”
Brooks, who is Jewish himself and has mocked Nazis in many films, said, “I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis. In no way is that at all useable or correct for comedy. It’s just in truly bad taste.”
Hard to disagree with that one!
With the success of his Broadway musical adaptation of “The Producers,” Brooks is one of only 12 people to win a Tony, a Grammy, an Emmy, and an Academy Award. His newest project is a musical version of “Young Frankenstein” in London, which jokes about a “Blazing Saddles” musical coming soon at the end. Of that possibility, Brooks said, “It’s practically a musical anyway, it has so many numbers in it!”
At 91, Brooks is heading into the twilight of his career, but of course he keeps his sense of humor about it. When asked how he wants to be remembered, he said, “I don’t want to be remembered as me, because I’m too short. 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.”
OK, Mel, in the hopefully long distant future, I promise to remember you as a 6’2″ comedic genius!
Which Mel Brooks production is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!