Funny Man: Mel Brooks by Patrick McGilligan


In his show business career that has lasted for seven decades, Mel Brooks – who recently turned 93 – can boast generations of fans who have followed different aspects of his career, whether it be as a writer for the legendary TV sketch comedy series Your Show of Shows, half of the comedy duo (with Carl Reiner) that created the 2000-Year-Old-Man routine, creator of the 1960s spy spoof sitcom Get Smart, director of such classic comedy movies as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs, or the driving force behind the mega successful musical version of The Producers that won 12 Tony Awards and became the toast of Broadway. Visit and get help with your book review using free samples.

Sid Caesar got so fed up with Brooks

Yet through his many successes – and his many failures – the former Melvin Kaminsky had one common thread throughout his life on TV, movies and the stage: he had an aching need to be liked by everyone and garner a great deal of attention from friends and colleagues alike, even to the point of obnoxiousness (which explained why during a Show of Shows writing session, star Sid Caesar got so fed up with Brooks’ shtick that he dangled Brooks from the window of the writers’ room high atop 30 Rock).

Patrick McGilligan, who has written critically-acclaimed biographies of legendary Hollywood directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Nicholas Ray and Orson Welles, gives Brooks a multi-dimensional biographical treatment in his excellent tome Funny Man: Mel Brooks.

Mel Brooks with and without the laughter

This book can be best described as Mel Brooks with and without the laughter. For the fans of his impressive body of work, they will certainly not be disappointed, as McGilligan offers plenty behind-the-scenes stories of Mel Brooks the TV writer/creator and film director in a chronological approach. For example, Brooks wanted comedian Richard Pryor, who was one of the writers of Blazing Saddles, to portray the lead character of Sheriff Bart. However, Warner Bros. objected to Brooks’ choice of Pryor because of his rampant drug use at the time; the role eventually went to little known actor Cleavon Little, and became a career defining role for him.

Mel Brooks had two personalities

However, the main argument McGilligan offers about what shaped Brooks’ psyche on the screen and behind the screen was kind of a Jekyll and Hyde existence, which was defined by his friends and colleagues as two spilt personalities: Nice Mel (one glaring example is how he gave parts to mentor Sid Caesar in two of his movies during a low time in his career) and Rude Crude Mel (which was painfully exemplified by the cold, distant treatment he gave his first wife Florence, and the psychological abuse he put co-star Lewis J. Stadlen through during the shooting of his 1983 comedy To Be Or Not To Be).

Also, two other aspects of Brooks’ personality that was barely public knowledge, but comes out in great detail in the book, were his ability as a shrewd Hollywood businessman, who through his production company Brooksfilms (which produced David Lynch’s Oscar-nominated biopic The Elephant Man in 1980) managed to negotiate thorough, complicated domestic and international distribution deals for his movies that made Brooks quite wealthy. The other is how Brooks managed to see himself through so many personal and professional setbacks and failures (his early 60s Broadway musical All American and his 1975 short-lived ABC sitcom When Things Were Rotten, for example) that he became a sort-of Hollywood version of Lazarus, in which he rose from the ashes from what could have been a career-ending failure to a major success that was bigger than the previous one.

Using countless interviews and thorough research, Patrick McGilligan has constructed in Funny Man: Mel Brooksa portrait of a human dynamo who wanted to make people laugh whether it be through an impromptu conversation or talk show appearance, or one of his popular comedy creations. However, through a lot of insecurity, a constant needy feeling, and a two-faced personality, this book shows that the steps Mel Brooks took to the pinnacle of becoming a comedy legend was indeed no laughing matter.

By: Stuart Nulman – [email protected]



Is it possible to get an A for a 5-paragraph essay assignment in 1 hour? We can safely say yes, a student can get an A+ mark if he turns to EduJungles


The ultimate guide to planning a long family staycation in Canada

To guarantee that everyone has an amazing time, careful planning is necessary when organizing a lengthy staycation. Here’s the ultimate guide to planning your family staycation in Canada. Canada, with its vast landscapes, diverse cities, and rich cultural heritage, offers endless possibilities for a memorable family staycation. Whether you’re exploring the stunning natural beauty of

Meal kits

Cost vs. Convenience: Analyzing meal kits and traditional cooking

In this modern world and modern times, convenience often takes priority over cost, especially when it comes to food. Meal kits and traditional cooking represent two different approaches to home dining, and each of them has advantages and disadvantages. Analyzing these methods through the lens of cost and convenience provides insight into why individuals might

Condo renovations

Condo renovations Dos and Don’ts: Expert Tips for a Successful Project

Embarking on a condo renovations journey can be both exhilarating and daunting. Imagine transforming your living space into a stylish haven that reflects your personality and meets your needs. While exciting, the process can be full of challenges and unforeseen hiccups. That’s why we’ve gathered some condo renovation dos and don’ts from the experts to

Terrific Hair

Terrific Hair Means Tamanu – Earth to Body

Curly, straight, thick, thin, kinky or silky, tamanu loves and makes terrific Hair.  And scalps. Nutritionally dense yet gentle, tamanu is an effective and versatile nut oil. It stimulates, helps promote growth. prevents hair loss, reduces scalp itch and irritations and adds a natural sheen! Make tamanu a part of your hair and scalp care

Understanding the 4 legal process after a DUI Crash

A single mistake can have serious consequences, especially when driving under the influence. The aftermath of a DUI crash extends beyond physical harm and property damage. It involves a complex legal process that may feel overwhelming. As a responsible citizen, it’s vital to grasp the legal system and your rights in such situations. This blog

personal injury lawyer

Pedestrian accident: How a personal injury lawyer can help you

Accidents involving pedestrians can be life-altering. You could be walking down the street or crossing a street. A vehicle’s sudden impact can change everything right away. If you’ve found yourself in such a situation, you might be wondering how to move forward. This is where a personal injury lawyer steps in, offering crucial help and

Mtltimes Subscription

The latest on what’s moving Montreal and the world – delivered straight to your inbox