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Mel Brooks: A Peek Inside of a Brilliant Mind

Icons | December 6, 2017

1978: Head shot of American comedic actor, writer, and director Mel Brooks acting surprised. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Mel Brooks might possibly be one of the funniest men alive (in my opinion anyway). That being said, his brand of humor is not for everyone. Humor is one of those things that tends to vary from person to person. I will note, however, that plenty of people must like his humor or else he wouldn’t have been so successful.

Brooks’ comedy has been entertaining audiences since 1949. Often, entertainers hit their mark, run their course and, not always, but sometimes, quietly fade away. Mel Brooks is one of those entertainers that hit the ground running and never fizzled out. He has been known and loved from generation to generation. This is, in and of itself, amazing.

His brand of humor is something of a force to be reckoned with. If you “get” Brooks’ sense of humor, then you know what I mean. If you don’t.... well… sorry! Brooks has always tackled subjects that are culturally taboo, inappropriately stereotypical and politically incorrect. Many have said that “the truth hurts”.  It can also make you laugh!

Much of the subject matter in Brooks’ films was/is controversial, but socially relevant at the same time. Nothing is ever off limits to Brooks. He pokes fun at everything from Nazi Germany to American culture and movies. I don’t think too many other people could get away with that!

Mel Brooks always made it his business to make his audiences realize that controversy does not necessarily have to divide people. He has always lightheartedly made it possible for people to see themselves as others do and to embrace the differences. He is responsible for aggressively taking on political and social barriers, head-on.

Although Brooks has always made a point of using comedy as a vehicle for change, he also knows that it is important to also be responsible. Successful comedy entails walking a fine line between getting a (serious) point across and (at the same time) not offending the audience. It can be a very tricky business keeping the balance and Brooks has always strived to do his best to stay on course.

Mel Brooks has always approached the topic of humor from a human standpoint. He always sought to cater to his audiences through satire. Brooks always recognized that society tends to treat anyone that is different…. well, differently. Human suffering and frailty have always been his motivation. One of his greatest reported personal successes is making a joke and having someone get it! He once stated that “If your heart is in the right place, you don’t have to worry about being politically incorrect”. How great would it be if everyone followed that philosophy?

Above all, Mel Brooks does not find happiness in laughing at others…He finds happiness in laughing WITH others!

Mel Brooks has written, produced and acted in countless films. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, people were looking to make sense of all the social and cultural changes. Brooks, most definitely, contributed to the transition and acceptance of the changing times. Some of his movies I remember during that time are:

  • 1963: The Critic
  • 1967: The Producers
  • 1970: The Twelve Chairs
  • 1974: Blazing Saddles
  • 1974: Young Frankenstein
  • 1975: The 2000 Year Old Man
  • 1976: Silent Movie
  • 1977: High Anxiety
  • 1979: The Muppet Movie

Tags: Mel Brooks | Movies In The 1970s | What Did He Do?...

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.