All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business Book Review

The word “genius” is often thrown around without anything to back it up. One of the few people who can legitimately be given that title is Mel Brooks. He has made audiences laugh for 70+ years, taking comedy in a direction that few have dared to.

His new autobiography, All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business, was released last November. The youngest of four boys, Brooks was born to a Jewish immigrant family in 1926. Raised in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn by his widowed mother, he grew up during the Great Depression and served his country during World War II. After the war, he joined one of the greatest comedy writing teams of all time as a co-writer of Sid Ceasar‘s Your Show of Shows.

Married to actress Anne Bancroft for five decades, Brooks directed (and in some cases starred in) such classics as Young Frankenstein, To Be or Not To Be, The Producers, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, History of the World: Part I, etc. Telling his story as only he can, Brooks reveals his heart, his humor, his work ethic, and his acute ability to use laughter to delve into topics that many would not dare to touch.

In his mid 90’s, he has more energy and gusto many are half his age. It was an incredible insight into a man who has made generations of audiences laugh. What I loved was the revelation of the man behind the jokes. He reminds me of someone’s old uncle who is not quite politically correct. They know that they are crossing the line. But it is not out of spite or to cause trouble. It’s to make the audience laugh and while they are laughing, perhaps think about the message behind the joke.

As I read the book, two things jumped out at me. The first was that there was no mention of his first wife and not a lot of time focused on his older children. The second is that he refers to almost every woman first by her looks and then by her talent. Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s a generational thing. I get that it could be construed as a compliment, but I would rather be known for my abilities first and my looks second.

Other than that, do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business is available wherever books are sold.

Flashback Friday-Robin Hood Triple Feature-Robin And Marian (1976), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) & Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Robin Hood is the immortal outsider. A former aristocrat who returns from the Crusades to find that his family is dead, his lands have been confiscated and the woman he left behind, Maid Marian may have moved on with her life.

His story has been immortalized on screen multiple times over.

In 1976, audiences were introduced to a middle aged Robin and Marian in a movie of the same name. Years after the original story ends, fate has again separated our lovers. Robin (Sean Connery) returned to the Crusades to find that Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is now the abbess of a priory. It seems that she is content to live out the rest of her days as a nun. But when the Sheriff Of Nottingham tries to arrest Marian on religious grounds, Robin must step in and fight for the love of his youth.

I like this movie. But then again, I always like when we see old, familiar characters in new situations and in different places in their lives. Another quality that makes this movie an excellent film is the two leads, who are age appropriate and have excellent chemistry.

Fifteen years later, in 1991, a traditional film of adaption of Robin Hood premiered. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starred Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

I like this movie. There is something about the traditional re-telling of a familiar story that never gets old, no matter how many times one has read the story or seen the movie. And of course, there is the Bryan Adams song that gets stuck in your head, no matter how many times you try to get rid of it.

Finally, in 1993, Mel Brooks, as he always does, put his own spin on the Robin Hood story in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. This time, Cary Elwes stepped into the role of Robin Hood with Amy Yasbeck as Marian and Roger Rees as his longtime nemesis, The Sheriff of Rottingham.

This movie is a solid Mel Brooks production. As he did with Young Frankenstein, he lovingly satirized and altered the story of Robin Hood. And like most Mel Brooks movies, this movie is incredibly funny and quotable.

I recommend all three.

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