Arts & Culture

Why I Love Mel Brooks

That Anne Bancroft was one lucky woman. I mean, obviously, she was beautiful. And talented. And yes, I suppose she was also fortunate because The Graduate turned her into a collective American fantasy. But mostly, she was lucky because she … Read More

By / February 9, 2009

That Anne Bancroft was one lucky woman. I mean, obviously, she was beautiful. And talented. And yes, I suppose she was also fortunate because The Graduate turned her into a collective American fantasy. But mostly, she was lucky because she married Mel Brooks.

The last reason is the only one that really makes me envy her.

Now, that might be somewhat surprising. I do realize that Mel Brooks isn’t traditionally attractive in any way. Given that my standard crushes are more along the lines of George Clooney or Cary Grant, my willingness to run away with Mel Brooks always strikes even me as a little odd. Still, while I can happily imagine a night of torrid passion with George or Cary, I think Mel Brooks would be a lot more fun to be around in the long term.

For the record, this isn’t just a general funny-man-who-makes-funny-movies thing. That is to say, I have no desire to go out with Woody Allen. Or even, really, to ever see or interact with Woody Allen in any way. I love his movies – if possible I love his movies more than Mel Brooks’ movies, and I certainly think they have more artistic merit. I also think that Woody Allen is God’s gift to overly intellectual, self-absorbed, unattractive men, as he made it seem cool (or at least deep) for really good looking women to date them. And that’s great, if you’re an unattractive, self-absorbed, overly intellectual man.

However, as a woman, I always think that if you went out with Woody Allen, he’d whine, he’d be neurotic, and if you were a character played by Diane Keaton, you’d deal with that in an outrageously charming manner. But if you were a real person you’d probably think, “Jesus Christ, I have a life, and this 40 minute monologue on his therapist’s possible feelings about Turgenev is goddamn ridiculous. I have to find a way to make him shut up so I can go home, eat some cookies, and watch History of the World Part 1.”

At least, that’s what I would do. And see, Mel Brooks gets that. He’d be the kind of guy you could watch funny television and eat reheated chocolate chip cookies with – because that’s what his movies are like. They feel kind of safe and cozy, right? They’re never overly complicated. You can pretty much enjoy them from about the age of eight onwards. Of course, they’re also completely brilliant, which is something you realize when you pass age eight and stop just laughing at the fart jokes. “Spring Time for Hitler?” Brilliant. Synchronized swimming nuns? Brilliant. Pretty much all of Blazing Saddles? Brilliant.

Which is to say, Mel Brooks is the kind of guy who would never look down on you for sitting around on the couch eating cookies and watching whatever silly thing was on TV. He’d never really look down on anyone, except for bigots, and people who couldn’t take a joke. However, he’d also be making funny comments about whatever was on, and you’d laugh, and you would only realize how smart those comments were later in the evening after he’d gone to sleep.

And really, having someone who can both amuse you and allow you to not feel pressured to keep up a constant stream of witty repartee yourself, is probably one of the best things you can hope for in a relationship. So here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. You certainly knew how to pick him.