Q & Andy: Mel Brooks
THE PRODUCERS PROMOTIONAL PHOTO, 2004. PHOTO: DAVID SANDISON. COURTESY OF THE INDEPENDENT/ REX / SHUTTERSTOCK.
At 90 years old, the prince of parody has been awarded four Emmys, three Grammys, one Oscar, and three Tonys (and, as the self-described “EGOTAK” is quick to point out, awards from the American Film Institute and the Kennedy Center). In the new HBO documentary If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, he joins other notable nonagenarians in singing the praises of advanced age with host Carl Reiner. Here, The Producers producer (and writer-director) submits to some appropriately absurd questions from the writings of Warhol.
ANDY WARHOL: What did you have for breakfast?
MEL BROOKS: I only eat deep-fried pheasant.
WARHOL: Do you take showers or baths?
BROOKS: I do not wash. I spray myself with perfume to cover my scent.
WARHOL: What’s your favorite movie?
BROOKS: Citizen Chrein. It’s about the genius who invented red horseradish
WARHOL: Who was the nicest person you worked for?
BROOKS: Sid Caesar. Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, and I wrote his weekly Caesar’s Hour sketch comedy show. It was a pretty good writing staff. Normally, you hope and pray that the comic you are writing for will just make your stuff work, but Sid Caesar always raised the level of our comedy. He was a champ.
WARHOL: What color are your eyes?
BROOKS: Blue. Normally Jews have brown eyes, but my grandmother, who came from Russia, must have had some hanky-panky with a Cossack.
WARHOL: Do you get eight hours a night?
BROOKS: I do. I just wish it were sleep.
WARHOL: What’s a mongoose?
BROOKS: It’s hard to explain, but if you were a snake, you’d know.
WARHOL: Who’s your dream date?
BROOKS: I’d like to go out with Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer. I’d love to see them fight over me.
WARHOL: Would you like some wine?
BROOKS: Only if it’s a magnum of 1961 Château Haut-Brion, a case of which was given to me by Alfred Hitchcock, with this note: “Dear Mel, have no anxiety over High Anxiety. It’s a truly wonderful film. Love, Hitch.”