Mel Brooks’ Autobiography is a triumph of a book that I read through once, dipped in a bunch of times afterward, and then read through a second time – all in the timeframe between the day it came out and the day I decided to post my review. Two readthroughs, and a schmear of dipping in here and there. It is an absolute riot, as well as a biography that can easily entertain and capture the attention of so many people – the greatest generation, Jewish Americans, lovers of comedy, lovers of crotchety old men, lovers of Hollywood, the list goes on.
Brooks may very well be the most American of Americans contributing to the American Idiom – a jester who pushed the envelope as far as it could go and made sure to hire and retain some of the greatest writers, comedians, and actors of all races and colors to perform in his films. Where would Brooks be without choosing the talents of Richard Pryor, Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Madeliene Kahn, David Lynch, and Dave Chapelle. The man has an eye for the best of the best in filmmaking, comedy, and entertainment, in addition to being one funny son of a bitch. This was an absolute triumph of an autobiography, and frankly, I can’t imagine not putting this in the top five of any that I have ever read – not to mention that he penned it in the midst of COVID and nearing his centennial.
There is no other man like Mel Brooks, and his visionary talent and life of pure magic is completely on display in sharing his amazing life with us. I am very happy he did. This is a memoir that deserves diving in over and over again.