Sunday, September 11, 2011

Comedy Genius in Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett, Together Again on HBO

If you're a fan of comedy, or if you just like to laugh, check out Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett, Together Again on HBO.

It's an hour-long conversation between the two during which they tell the greatest stories about such fellow comedy legends as Jack Benny, George Burns and Bob Hope.  Even funnier, are the tales of non-comedians like Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock.  And, they touch on the beginnings of television comedy, such as Brooks' start as a writer on the legendary Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar, and how "Blazing Saddles" came to be.

It's an hour of treasure.  These two do impressions and schtick like the rest of us breathe.  They're hilarious.  At 84, Brooks is both brilliant and agile as he uses his whole body to make the audience roar.

The highlight of the show is an exchange between Carl Reiner, from the audience, and Brooks as they resurrect their famous "2,000-year-old man" routine.  They reveal that the classic only went public when Cary Grant brought it to the Queen Mother, herself, and she laughed.  It was previously kept for parties and private gatherings.

If you're not familiar with the 2,000-year-old man, Brooks played the oldest man in the world who would be "interviewed" by Reiner in a series of TV comedy skits that were made into a bunch of recordings.  With a Yiddish accent, Brooks would ad lib answers to Reiner's questions:  What was the earliest language?  Basic Rock.  The creation of the Cross?  It was easier to put together than the Star of David; to me it seemed...simple.  I didn't know then it was eloquent!

Brooks, of course, is the genius behind "The Producers," "High Anxiety," "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and "Spaceballs," among others.

The urbane and witty Dick Cavett hosted a late-night talk show on ABC for many years during the 60's and 70's and is a writer.

Brooks was a frequent guest on Cavett's show.

The special was taped at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles in December.

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