WTF Podcast

Episode 358 - Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks. Nothing we write here can do this justice. So just listen to Mel and Marc take you through the life of a legend, from his youthful days in Brooklyn and his time served in World War II to his triumphs on the big screen, the small screen and The Great White Way. It’s Mel Brooks. What more is there to say? This episode is sponsored by Comedy Central and by Stamps.com. Click on the radio mic and enter WTF to start a no-risk trial with a $110 bonus offer.

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  • 48 Comments


Per February 04, 2013 at 6:29 am


Absolutely amazing. One of the best. Looking forward to thursday as well!

Gindi Baba February 04, 2013 at 7:13 am


cool

Luke Pola February 04, 2013 at 10:36 am


This is GREAT, man. I’ve been out of the WTF loop for a few weeks. I’m glad I checked in. Can’t wait for Thursday!

David Rosen February 04, 2013 at 11:14 am


This is the most excited I’ve been for anything ever. Can’t wait to listen to this today.

Young P February 04, 2013 at 12:10 pm


Fantastic!

Scott February 04, 2013 at 12:42 pm


Mel Brooks?
Mel Brooks?
My freakin’ head just exploded.

Sheila February 04, 2013 at 12:53 pm


Can’t believe he got Mel Brooks! Love him!

Greg February 04, 2013 at 2:14 pm


Absolutely top shelf. Great hearing how positive and sharp Mel is, and how great you guys get along (And I had NO IDEA he worked on The Elephant Man and The Fly…)

phil February 04, 2013 at 2:19 pm


I found this one moving, one because Mr Brooks is obviously a mensch, but two, to witness two vaudevillian souls having a good, ripping chat together.

kevingiampa February 04, 2013 at 2:41 pm


Great, great, great.  And they laughed at you when you bought all that Artie Shaw vinyl. 

Looking forward to Thursday.

Joe Tily February 04, 2013 at 3:46 pm


Great interview - If I make it to the age of 86 and I’m as lucid and spry as Mr. Brooks sounds, i will consider myself very fortunate.  Really enjoyed this one - thanks Marc!

OhioRyan February 04, 2013 at 4:43 pm


One of the best episodes ever. Thank you, Marc!

Grant February 04, 2013 at 6:52 pm


Wonderful interview with a man who my family and myself would not be the same without.  Lazily, I’ve been “getting around” to listening to / watching other recent interviews with Mel but this morning’s WTF made the wait worth it for a truly great interview from a worthy interviewer.  Well done.  Hope you come back to St Louis or Nashville some time!

Aaron February 04, 2013 at 8:10 pm


I hope Marc can use his new Brooks’ strings to get Gene Wilder on the show.  I think Marc interviewing him would be absolutely fascinating.

Beelzebud February 04, 2013 at 8:58 pm


Really really great interview!

Jay February 04, 2013 at 10:46 pm


AWESOME.

Please also post the original Russian version.

Matt February 05, 2013 at 12:51 am


This was without a doubt the sweetest WTF yet.

Jay February 05, 2013 at 1:22 am


Forwarded this to many people. This is a great example of the interviewer and subject bringing out the best in each other. I’ve heard a lot of Mel Brooks’ recent interviews, and while he is always engaging and “on,” he was clearly surprised and thrilled at the depth and detail of Maron’s knowledge. There aren’t many people who could have gotten so much from Mel Brooks.

BigGuy February 05, 2013 at 1:57 am


This was great.  Picturing him getting drum lessons from Buddy Rich on Buddy’s drums is so cool.

Russ McClay February 05, 2013 at 5:03 am


Great interview, Marc!!  And perfect timing…I’ve been on a Brookfest recently, re-watching some of his films. 

I’m curious what Mel was munching on during the interview?

Crutnacker February 05, 2013 at 6:33 am


I want to be Mel Brooks when I’m 86.  The amount of warmth in this interview is incredible.  It’s great to see a man his age who is still sharp, funny, and full of life.    One of the best WTF episodes ever.

smitty February 05, 2013 at 8:32 am


holy shit- mel brooks,carl reiner…who’s next, freakn’ imogene coca,come back from the dead in a maron seance session?

JP February 05, 2013 at 9:43 am


Epic interview Marc… as to be expected. Cannot believe you got Brooks AND Reiner in the same week, my goodness is 2013 going to be a good year for you and WTF.

smitty February 05, 2013 at 10:38 am


show of hands…how many of you dropped the plate full of food,when mel said that Krupa and Rich were the greatest drummers EVER.  the universe was splendid,until then,and now papa joe jones,max roach,and art blakey;are seriously pissed,at the 2000 yr old man.  still luv ya me,but i so wish you didn’t go there.  fantastic interview..!!

Pete G. February 05, 2013 at 10:47 am


Great interview! Loved it, Marc! ...Harrumph! ...Harrumph! ...Harrumph!

george February 05, 2013 at 10:48 am


Dude! Congratulations, man! This was wonderful!

mr c February 05, 2013 at 10:53 am


maron this was frickin’ great. Jaw dropped last week when you mentioned who the guests would be this week and the Mel Brooks episode was delightful.

Andrew S February 05, 2013 at 1:58 pm


There is nothing i enjoy more than listening to Mel Brooks. This combined with WTF, Oh my god…Thanks Marc Maron

Andrew S February 05, 2013 at 2:08 pm


Oh, one more thing . I cannot fucking wait to hear Carl Reiner on Thursday.

Ben February 05, 2013 at 2:15 pm


“Were you serious about scale?”

Incredible.

Ozski February 05, 2013 at 2:54 pm


“You know, what do you live for? Occasionally you live for a grilled cheese sandwich and fun. ” Wise words, Mr. Brooks. What a lovely, thoughtful, wonderful man. I have been listening from the beginning and this has to be one of the all-time best interviews you have ever conducted, Marc. I am really looking forward to the Carl Reiner one on Thursday too! Outstanding.

Donald Liebenson February 05, 2013 at 8:04 pm


Marc: I, too, took that Danny Simon workshop. In Chicago. On the second day, a couple of women in the class told me that he had called them up the night before and asked them out. His line was: “How would you like to be a character in my brother’s next play?”

Chester February 06, 2013 at 3:58 am


Wonderful interview!  This really put the Nerdist podcast’s Mel Brooks interview to shame (not that that’s particularly difficult to do).

Omnipanzer February 06, 2013 at 5:08 pm


Seriously Marc this is on another level for you bro. When I saw this pop up I couldn’t wait for my commute home to listen to it. It met or exceeded any expectation I had. Mel didn’t have a singly dry story like so many other older greats do and you even hit on stuff I didn’t even know I wanted to hear a story about. Great job man I’m so happy your getting such great guests. I never imagined Mel would be up for doing a pod cast.

Chris Scheno February 08, 2013 at 11:34 am


Man, what fun that was, for one and all. Mel definitely picked up on your “how fucking great is this!” vibe: one can hear it in his voice and verve. Both of you—sharp, erudite, intrigued, and engaged. Never to be forgotten; a classic kibbitz. Congrats!

swac February 08, 2013 at 11:50 am


This has been the highlight of my week, can’t wait for part 2 with Carl Reiner. I still remember first seeing the edited version of Blazing Saddles on the ABC Sunday Night Movie, boy was I surprised when I finally saw it uncut, his work has been a big part of my life over the years.

One of my favourite Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner stories is about the time Carl was asked to do voiceover on NPR’s Yiddish Radio Project, reading the English translation of a cranky 1930s Yiddish on-air advice columnist from a radio station in Brooklyn. As soon as he got the tapes, Carl phoned up Mel and played it to him without saying a word, and he could hear Mel shrieking with delight while he held up the phone to the speaker. I could only imagine the kind of joy that flashback could have brought him.

Art in Atlanta February 09, 2013 at 3:02 am


Mel Brooks’ generation’s humor had depth and impact because, like Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, Brooks was a World War II veteran who learned very early on how fleeting and fragile life could be, and that you’d better let loose and laugh every chance you got. The difference is a generation who knew death on a battlefield versus the current one who’s idea of tragedy is the death of an iPhone battery. All 86 year olds should be listened to and admired as intently as Mel Brooks in this great episode.

Pefder Magfrok February 09, 2013 at 1:27 pm


Mel Brooks is a god. Maybe the God, time will tell.

Blazing Saddles is #2 on my top ten comedy movie list, and that’s a hard list to get on to (Mash the movie is #1)

One of the best WTF episodes ever.

Bob February 09, 2013 at 2:37 pm


Marc, this one could have gone twelve hours and I would still be listening. Beautiful and, of course, very funny. Just wonderful. Thank you (& Mr. Brooks) for this. Any chance of a part 2?

JimListens February 09, 2013 at 9:33 pm


Truly memorable in every good way!  I’m going to listen to it again right now.  Thank you for sharing with us what was likely a highly personal moment for you too.

Chamblee54 February 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm


I wrote a blog post about one of the stories here. It was a good excuse to post pictures of mannequins
http://chamblee54.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/mel-brooks-and-buddy-rich/

Andy February 16, 2013 at 2:50 am


“It’s good to be the king!”  I hope you’re feeling this ma man because are freaking amazing.  Listing to you and the great Mel Brooks was a dialectic waltz that left me smiling for days.  It was a total pleasure to hear the history, stories and sincere connection you made with the Godfather of comedy.  It was beautiful man!  You are by far my favorite interviewer and WTF is one of my weekly highlights.  Big thanks and best wishes!

greg March 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm


Phenomenal podcast.

Marc at his best!

Ian March 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm


Fantastic interview. Would love to hear an interview with Gene Wilder.

anon May 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm


Mark - this was a wonderful interview.  Maybe the best interview i have ever listened to.  The best part for me were the old showbiz bits and stories.  I love that stuff.  Reminded me a lot of the kid stays in the picture.  Id love to hear more -some of the hollywood, new york, and/or comedy lions.  I wish there were more interviews like this, because what betrer resource to tell these stories than the old lions.  Thanks for such a great interview - i just wish there was more access to this type of content out there. 

Darnell Bledsoe June 10, 2013 at 11:25 am


Mel is one in a million. We have never and never will see the likes of him again.  I really enjoy watching the interview.  Loved the story about Sid Ceasar and his infamous bad temper,  and Mels war stories. I hope he sticks around for a long time to come,  I just wish his wonderful wife Anne Bancroft could have stayed around too. God Bless Him
A Big Fan !

Andrew Larson July 01, 2013 at 4:16 pm


I adored this podcast. I loved the way Mel was mentoring and encouraging Marc. “You’re good.” So nice. That must have made you feel good. I love hearing a wise old comedic genius talk about life and people. He told you you were just a kid. That really put perspective on things for me as someone who’s not very old but is afraid to get old. A little thing I liked was the way when he can’t think of something and calls out “give me the name of an English tea,” or whatever. I found that endearing. I learned a lot. Thanks!

A Nony Moose July 06, 2014 at 12:28 am


I came to this podcast a little over a year ago because I had heard the Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner episodes were amazing.  And they are.  I grabbed those I could before they expired at iTunes and have been listening ever since—I’ve even introduced my Dad to it because he passed on his love of Mel and Carl to me.  I threw in the Dick Van Dyke ep for free.

Keep up the good work, Marc.  I’ve enjoyed your work for many years—since I first heard your homeless man talking to God bit probably 20 years ago.

I can’t, I can’t!