All about me! My remarkable life in show business

Mel Brooks, 1926-

Book - 2021

The legendary comedian, actor, and film producer and director traces his rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to his stellar film career, offering insight into the inspiration for his ideas and the many close friendships and collaborations behind his success.

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York : Ballantine Books [2021]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 460 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780593159118
059315911X
Main Author
Mel Brooks, 1926- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The subtitle for Brooks' rose-colored autobiography could have been It's a Wonderful Life. Even events that might have distressed others get a positive spin. Left fatherless at an early age? More attention from his mother and doting older brothers. A stint in the army in his late teens in the closing days of WWII? An opportunity to hone his comedic chops. Every movie Brooks ever made was a hit (or at least broke even), and every cast and crew he worked with was the best. And maybe it's all true, because the ebullient Brooks' default position seems to be happy. It helps that he focuses on his career, so although his wonderfully talented wife, Anne Bancroft, is certainly mentioned, her death gets just a few sentences. He goes into depth about his own films and shows, but it would have been nice to hear more about the excellent movies his production company made, including The Elephant Man and My Favorite Year. Brooks is a national treasure who's not shy to admit it, and his laugh-filled memories mix with an optimism that fans will find almost contagious.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Brooks is legendary in comedy, TV, and film, and his upbeat memoir is just the sort of fun book many readers are seeking. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Brooks is truly a legend of American comedy, and though it has taken him 95 years to write his memoir, it was certainly worth the wait. In a narrative filled with hilarious digressions, he discusses growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; serving in World War II; working as a writer on Your Show of Shows; meeting collaborators Carl Reiner, Anne Bancroft (to whom Brooks was married until her death in 2005), and Gene Wilder; creating Get Smart; writing and directing iconic films like Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein; and adapting his movie The Producers into a triumphant Broadway musical. Brooks has told many of these stories countless times over the years, but they remain as funny and endearing as ever, especially when presented in the full context of his life. It's a story told by an inveterate writer in a wonderfully conversational style, with a hint of childlike wonder at the things he's been able to experience and create, and a strong dose of humble bragging. But as Brooks himself would say, it's not bragging if it's the truth. VERDICT A must-read for fans of comedy, film, and theater.—Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this laugh-a-minute memoir, actor and producer Brooks (Young Frankenstein) looks back at his rise through Hollywood, gleefully doling out punch lines along the way. He begins with his childhood in Brooklyn, where he lived with his older brothers and mother ("my first comic foil, and enabler") and at school slipped into comedy like a well-worn glove: "I ... allowed to hang around with the bigger kids because I made them laugh... you don't hit the kid that makes you laugh." Brooks recounts his early days as a writer on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows in the 1950s; appearing in 1962 on the very first Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he shared the stage with Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Rudy Vallee, and Tony Bennett; learning how to bend the truth, after he told producer Joe Levine that he cut a scene from the end of his Oscar-winning film The Producers ("On every movie... since then; I've often lied when the studio objected to something by saying, "It's out!"); and taking a giant leap forward as a director by writing "the greatest farting scene in cinematic history," in 1974's Blazing Saddles. Studded with snickering asides and rapid-fire jokes, Brooks's account of making it in show biz is just as sidesplitting as his movies. (Nov.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Brooks shares never-before-told, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and remembrances as he charts his rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. From his career with Caesar's Your Show of Shows to his many films, and his Broadway musical adaption of The Producers, he offers insight into the inspiration behind the ideas for his boundary-breaking work, and shares details about many close friendships. -- adapted from jacket

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The legendary comedian, actor, and film producer and director traces his rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to his stellar film career, offering insight into the inspiration for his ideas and the many close friendships and collaborations behind his success.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The author reflects on his incredible lifetime of work, in a funny, poignant and nostalgic memoir.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now he shares his story for the first time in “a wonderful addition to a seminal career” (San Francisco Chronicle), “infused with nostalgia and his signature hilarity” (Parade).NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NEW YORK POST • “Laugh-out-loud hilarious and always fascinating, from the great Mel Brooks. What else do you expect from the man who knew Jesus and dated Joan of Arc?”—Billy CrystalFor 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, filmmaker, and creator of all things funny.All About Me! charts Mel Brooks’s 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’s 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 (and dozens of photographs), readers 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.