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All about Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business

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At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now, for the first time, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shares his story in his own words. “I hope fans of comedy will get a kick out of the stories behind my work, and really enjoy taking this remarkable ride with me.”—Mel Brooks For anyone who lo At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now, for the first time, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shares his story in his own words. “I hope fans of comedy will get a kick out of the stories behind my work, and really enjoy taking this remarkable ride with me.”—Mel Brooks For anyone who loves American comedy, the long wait is over. Here are the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and remembrances from a master storyteller, filmmaker, and creator of all things funny. All About Me! charts Mel Brooks’s meteoric rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Whether serving in the United States Army in World War II, or during his burgeoning career as a teenage comedian in the Catskills, Mel was always mining his experiences for material, always looking for the perfect joke. His iconic career began with Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, where he was part of the greatest writers’ room in history, which included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. After co-creating both the mega-hit 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and the classic television series Get Smart, Brooks’s stellar film career took off. He would go on to write, direct, and star in The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs, as well as produce groundbreaking and eclectic films, including The Elephant Man, The Fly, and My Favorite Year. Brooks then went on to conquer Broadway with his record-breaking, Tony-winning musical, The Producers. All About Me! offers fans insight into the inspiration behind the ideas for his outstanding collection of boundary-breaking work, and offers details about the many close friendships and collaborations Brooks had, including those with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Alfred Hitchcock, and the great love of his life, Anne Bancroft. Filled with tales of struggle, achievement, and camaraderie (and dozens of photographs), readers will gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the incredible body of work behind one of the most accomplished and beloved entertainers in history.


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At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now, for the first time, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shares his story in his own words. “I hope fans of comedy will get a kick out of the stories behind my work, and really enjoy taking this remarkable ride with me.”—Mel Brooks For anyone who lo At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now, for the first time, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shares his story in his own words. “I hope fans of comedy will get a kick out of the stories behind my work, and really enjoy taking this remarkable ride with me.”—Mel Brooks For anyone who loves American comedy, the long wait is over. Here are the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and remembrances from a master storyteller, filmmaker, and creator of all things funny. All About Me! charts Mel Brooks’s meteoric rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Whether serving in the United States Army in World War II, or during his burgeoning career as a teenage comedian in the Catskills, Mel was always mining his experiences for material, always looking for the perfect joke. His iconic career began with Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, where he was part of the greatest writers’ room in history, which included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. After co-creating both the mega-hit 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and the classic television series Get Smart, Brooks’s stellar film career took off. He would go on to write, direct, and star in The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs, as well as produce groundbreaking and eclectic films, including The Elephant Man, The Fly, and My Favorite Year. Brooks then went on to conquer Broadway with his record-breaking, Tony-winning musical, The Producers. All About Me! offers fans insight into the inspiration behind the ideas for his outstanding collection of boundary-breaking work, and offers details about the many close friendships and collaborations Brooks had, including those with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Alfred Hitchcock, and the great love of his life, Anne Bancroft. Filled with tales of struggle, achievement, and camaraderie (and dozens of photographs), readers will gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the incredible body of work behind one of the most accomplished and beloved entertainers in history.

30 review for All about Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    You hoo, all you Mel Brooks fans – I know you're out there. Do yourself a favor, put down the bagel and pick up this book. Mel spent his downtime in 2020 (at age 94) writing about all the great movies and shows he created. It's a chance to revisit your favorites from his zany point of view. In true memoir fashion, it goes chronologically from his boyhood in Brooklyn through his whole productive life. Once he gets into show biz the chapter headings are each one of his accomplished products, either You hoo, all you Mel Brooks fans – I know you're out there. Do yourself a favor, put down the bagel and pick up this book. Mel spent his downtime in 2020 (at age 94) writing about all the great movies and shows he created. It's a chance to revisit your favorites from his zany point of view. In true memoir fashion, it goes chronologically from his boyhood in Brooklyn through his whole productive life. Once he gets into show biz the chapter headings are each one of his accomplished products, either TV shows, movies or Broadway. (One chapter is entitled 'Brooksfilms', his movie production company. Did you know he was responsible for movies such as 'The Elephant Man (starring John Hurt)', ''Frances' (the Frances Farmer biopic with Jessica Lange) and 'My Favorite Year' (a thinly disguised Sid Caesar show with Peter O'Toole playing the guest star))? Neither did I. Mel sprinkles funny bits of dialogue from the various shows throughout. He seems to have been blessed with assembling a cadre of professionals he could count on over and over (starting with Gene Wilder and Kenneth Mars in 'The Producers'). I'm giving this four starts rather than five because of some technical issues: It appears that Mel really wrote this; it sounds like him, and he makes rookie writing mistakes of repeating himself and overusing phrases. (People always “hit the floor” when they laugh, and he constantly mentions a topic only to cut it off with “but more about that later”). But he's Mel Brooks: he's always ad-libbing and exaggerating for effect. It seems that everyone he worked with was wonderful and became a dear friend (OK, nobody's THAT perfect). However, the long relationships with many of his colleagues would indicate that people loved to work with him and couldn't turn him down when he came back to them again. What's also clear is how much he loved his late wife, Anne Bancroft. I remember seeing an interview with her, when the interviewer asked her why she married this guy, who's short and kind of funny looking. Mel summarizes it in the book, but the answer I remember Bancroft giving was this: “In the evening, when I heard his key hit the lock I knew the party was about to begin”. That's Mel. Always on, always funny, always generous. What a mensch. Enjoy the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maine Colonial

    While I was isolating and curled up reading books during the pandemic, Mel Brooks decided to write one. The guy’s in his mid-90s but never stops working. I “read” his memoir in audiobook form, which was a good idea because as soon as I heard his voice I was smiling. Brooks starts out with describing his personal life because, after all, who starts out from birth having a professional life? He’s a Brooklynite and has great descriptions of his family and growing up in an apartment building during t While I was isolating and curled up reading books during the pandemic, Mel Brooks decided to write one. The guy’s in his mid-90s but never stops working. I “read” his memoir in audiobook form, which was a good idea because as soon as I heard his voice I was smiling. Brooks starts out with describing his personal life because, after all, who starts out from birth having a professional life? He’s a Brooklynite and has great descriptions of his family and growing up in an apartment building during the Depression. He was young when he saw his first Broadway show, Anything Goes, and that was it for him. He wanted to be in show business. After his WW2 service, he started writing comedy, with his first big break coming with getting a job with Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows. Once Brooks starts describing his professional life, he says very little about his personal life. He very briefly describes the end of his first marriage. He talks a little about his kids. He has a few sweet stories about meeting and falling in love with Anne Bancroft and their life together. He can only bring himself to describe her death in a short paragraph. So this is not a book for somebody looking for a tell-all type of memoir. But if you want to hear the inside stories on how Brooks made his movies and Broadway shows, this is a good one. I could criticize Brooks for including a little too much of “I’d like to thank” moments and calling so many people a “dear friend,” but it’s not a serious problem. And anyway, in exchange you do get to hear a lot of entertaining backstage stories. An enjoyable memoir, best experienced in the author’s voice.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    A gem, a giant, a genius. Yes, I've followed and loved Mel Brooks since the early 70's, when I was still a teenager... And when 'Blazing Saddles' came out, was smitten. I've seen most of the movies which followed in the theater. Saw 'The Producers' on the stage in Boston with my husband and two adult daughters. We laughed so hard we almost cried... So yeah I'm a fan and prejudiced in his favor. Mr. Brooks is comic and comedian, actor and director, producer, writer, songwriter, and can I add dancer A gem, a giant, a genius. Yes, I've followed and loved Mel Brooks since the early 70's, when I was still a teenager... And when 'Blazing Saddles' came out, was smitten. I've seen most of the movies which followed in the theater. Saw 'The Producers' on the stage in Boston with my husband and two adult daughters. We laughed so hard we almost cried... So yeah I'm a fan and prejudiced in his favor. Mr. Brooks is comic and comedian, actor and director, producer, writer, songwriter, and can I add dancer? He's just everything, and such a great, kind, decent human being. He's worked with the greats - in his younger years with many of the enduring talents from the so-called 'Golden Age' of Hollywood and theater, and then as he grew older, with many of the foremost artists of TV, movies, and on the stage. He's known them all! And most he has called friends... I marvel at his versatility, his talent, the way he can tear down dictators and ingrained prejudice with just a few jokes. What better way to destroy a tyrant than by humiliating them? I love it, love it, love it. I think I've seen every one of his pictures, or movies, and many several times, so much so I know the dialogue even before it's said. And this book? Golden. I pre-bought it so it would arrive on my doorstep the day it was released, November 30, 2021, and I just finished reading it now, December 4. It was a birthday present to myself - December 1 - and I think I'll prob. re-read it somewhere down the line... What's it about? It's about Mel, his talent, his work and all the people who worked alongside him. What else would it be about? He's one of only of a few artists who's got an EGOT - Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony; and his re-imagining and production of 'The Producers' on stage has won more Tony awards than any other production, ever. (It's won twelve! 'Hamilton' came close, with eleven.) Five amazing stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paul Secor

    Peter O'Toole as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year - a film produced by Mel Brooks and a fictional rendering of his experiences as a young writer on Your Show of Shows in the 1950's: "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." This might be considered as a variation on the old comedian's adage: "I was dying out there tonight." On the other hand, it says something about the differences between comedy and drama. For myself, there are many, many dramatic actors whom I enjoy watching, while there are a lot fewer p Peter O'Toole as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year - a film produced by Mel Brooks and a fictional rendering of his experiences as a young writer on Your Show of Shows in the 1950's: "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." This might be considered as a variation on the old comedian's adage: "I was dying out there tonight." On the other hand, it says something about the differences between comedy and drama. For myself, there are many, many dramatic actors whom I enjoy watching, while there are a lot fewer people who can make me laugh. I have respect dramatic for actors, but I wouldn't trade Richard Pryor for a hundred Laurence Oliviers or the Marx Brothers for a hundred Meryl Streeps. Comedy isn't easy. One difference between comedians and the rest of us is that most people try to maintain a certain amount of dignity. In general, comedians do not. An obituary for Bob Carroll Jr., one of the co-writers for I Love Lucy, gave his recounting of working with Lucille Ball: "Happily for the writers, few ideas were off limits. Most weeks, they approached Ms. Ball to ask her some variation on the following: Can we tie you to a chair? Roll you in a rug? Hang you out the window? Put you on stilts? Put four dozen eggs down your blouse? Will you bark like a seal? Sing to a sheep? Can we dip you in chocolate? Coat you in clay? Splatter you with mud? Will you fight with a woman in a vat full of grapes? Work on an out-of-control conveyor belt in a candy factory? Can we put you in handcuffs? Blacken your teeth? Set your nose on fire? Ms. Ball, resilient, agreed to everything." Dignity be damned. Laughter was what was important. Or consider Mel Brooks' telling of his first encounter with Anne Bancroft, the woman he was married with for over forty years, until her death in 2005: "So I tagged along. When we get to the Ziegfeld Theatre they're doing a dress rehearsal. After a few minutes the guest star, Anne Bancroft, takes the stage. I'd never seen anything like it. She was wearing a stunning white dress and she was singing in a sultry voice a Gertrude Niesen favorite, 'I Wanna Get Married.' She was just incredibly beautiful. When the song was over, I leapt to my feet, applauded madly, and shouted, 'Anne Bancroft, I love you.'" I'll ask the few of you reading this to raise your hand If you can imagine doing that. Those of you with raised hands may have a future in comedy. Or you may just be run of the mill wackos. You'll have to find that out for yourselves. Mel Brooks is a very funny guy and All About Me is a very funny book. Some examples: Writing about his first job as a busboy at a Catskill resort in charge of the large basin of sour cream at meals: "For some reason, the Jews in the Borscht Belt had this strange affinity for sour cream. They loved it on their blintzes. They loved it on their potato pancakes. They loved it on their chopped crunchy vegetables like radishes, celery, carrots, etc. And if nobody was looking, they gobbled it down all by itself with nothing but a huge tablespoon. Sour cream, unfortunately, was loaded with cholesterol. The normal cholesterol levels for healthy people should be between 150 and 200. I would say that the average cholesterol of the sour-cream-loving Jews who came to the Borscht Belt was probably 1500 - 2000." From the film, The Producers: Bialystock: How could a producer make more money with a flop than with a hit? Bloom: It's simply a matter of creative accounting. Let us assume, just for the moment, that you are a dishonest man. Bialystock: Assume away. Mel Brooks as the 2000 Year Old Man explaining the difference between comedy and tragedy: "If I cut my finger, that's tragedy. Comedy is if you walk into an open sewer and die." From Spaceballs - a film produced and co-written by Mel Brooks: PRINCESS VESPA: I am Princess Vespa, daughter of Roland, King of the Druids. LONE STARR: Oh Great. That's All We Needed. A Druish princess. BARF: Funny, she doesn't look Druish. An anecdote from on onstage tour later in Mel Brooks' life: "Toward the end of the evening Kevin (his producer) would ask the audience for questions and sometimes I would get really lucky with an answer that would bring down the house. For instance, I remember one night an audience member shouted out: 'Mel! What do you wear - boxers or briefs?' I shouted back - 'DEPENDS!'" All About Me is a very funny book. I kept reading and the laughs kept coming. My only complaint is the All part. The book was somewhat long and too inclusive. I didn't need to read everything about Mel Brooks' life. In the end, though, what I'll remember are the laughs. And I need to laugh more than ever these days.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lesa

    While Mel Brooks’ memoir is entitled All About Me!, it’s the subtitle, “My Remarkable Life in Show Business” that actually captures the book. Brooks does not come across as an egotistical person focusing on himself. He appears to be a generous man who credits other people, and names names, for assisting in his career. And, it’s a remarkable career, as anyone knows who recognizes names such as Sid Caesar, “The Producers”, “Blazing Saddles”, and “Young Frankenstein”. Mel Brooks is one of those rare While Mel Brooks’ memoir is entitled All About Me!, it’s the subtitle, “My Remarkable Life in Show Business” that actually captures the book. Brooks does not come across as an egotistical person focusing on himself. He appears to be a generous man who credits other people, and names names, for assisting in his career. And, it’s a remarkable career, as anyone knows who recognizes names such as Sid Caesar, “The Producers”, “Blazing Saddles”, and “Young Frankenstein”. Mel Brooks is one of those rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winners. And, he started out in Brooklyn with a background that could have led to trouble. His father died when he was two, but his three older brothers and his mother worked to keep the family together, and Brooks has nothing but positive things to say about his childhood. He does admit he was a small kid, and his size opened him up to bullying, but he found a way around it – comedy. Comedy made him friends, and they protected him from bullies. At the age of nine, he told his uncle he was going into show business. Brooks honed his skills in the Catskills, working as a busboy and understudy for the shows put on at a resort. Actor Don Appell hired him, and then later helped him get hired to write for Sid Caesar. Brooks spent over a decade writing jokes for Sid Caesar, including for “Your Show of Shows.” And, he admits he was a little crazy at times, breaking into spontaneous comic roles. There’s nothing Brooks is afraid to cover in his book, from his outrageous meeting with his wife, Anne Bancroft, to the difficult financial years in the early sixties. Then, in 1964, with serious spy shows on TV, he wrote “Get Smart” with Buck Henry. Soon, he was better off financially. Brooks writes about his years writing, directing, and then producing movies. He talks about the learning process, and all the people who helped him along the way. His company, Brooksfilms, produced movies such as “The Fly” and “My Favorite Year”. Then, he took his movie hit, “The Producers”, and turned it into a Broadway hit. How do you evaluate a memoir? I don’t see how anyone can review someone’s autobiography. All About Me! is a tell-all account only in that it tells all about Mel Brooks’ life and career. He’s led a fascinating life, and achieved so much in show business. But, if you read this book, what might stay with you is that Mel Brooks comes across as a kind man who celebrates his family and friends as much as he celebrates his own career. Yes, he was successful. But, he’s also successful in that he retained friends from all arenas of his long career. I found joy in this book because Brooks is a kind man who doesn’t hesitate to praise and thank others in his life.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀

    4 Stars What a delight! Behind the scenes of some of my favorite movies.

  7. 5 out of 5

    McKenzie

    I don’t know how to put into words how wonderful this book was. I didn’t even look at the page count before I picked up my ordered copy and couldn’t believe it was 450+ pages, but I easily could have read a few hundred more. The phrase, “Always like to keep my audience riveted,” comes to mind when describing Brooks’ storytelling abilities. I could not put this down. Hearing Mel talk about meeting Anne nearly had me in tears… in public. I laughed aloud more times than I know. From the first act to I don’t know how to put into words how wonderful this book was. I didn’t even look at the page count before I picked up my ordered copy and couldn’t believe it was 450+ pages, but I easily could have read a few hundred more. The phrase, “Always like to keep my audience riveted,” comes to mind when describing Brooks’ storytelling abilities. I could not put this down. Hearing Mel talk about meeting Anne nearly had me in tears… in public. I laughed aloud more times than I know. From the first act to the final curtain, this story was perfection.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robertjruttenberg

    Excellent I’ve always loved Mel brooks and reading his take on all his work was very very enjoyable. A must read

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martin, tired of Covid,

    This has to be the best book I have read for the year. Usually, I find actors and sports celebrities autobiographies nauseating. Most of their books thank everyone that helped them throughout their career. As a reader, I don’t care about reading a list of people I never heard of. What is even more disgusting is that I paid money for this drivel. Mel Brook’s book was a breath of fresh air. He gave insights into Blazing saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein. I loved reading every minute of This has to be the best book I have read for the year. Usually, I find actors and sports celebrities autobiographies nauseating. Most of their books thank everyone that helped them throughout their career. As a reader, I don’t care about reading a list of people I never heard of. What is even more disgusting is that I paid money for this drivel. Mel Brook’s book was a breath of fresh air. He gave insights into Blazing saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein. I loved reading every minute of the book. (To be continued)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jack Nix

    A wildly entertaining memoir from one of comedy's true masters. Mel gives the reader a behind the scenes look at the making of all of his classic movies. At times it's choppy and a bit braggadocios, but who cares! This 95 year old veteran deserves to be a little self congratulatory. I'll forever be thankful to Mel Brooks for being the person who had me first fall in love with musical theater. Long live the king! A wildly entertaining memoir from one of comedy's true masters. Mel gives the reader a behind the scenes look at the making of all of his classic movies. At times it's choppy and a bit braggadocios, but who cares! This 95 year old veteran deserves to be a little self congratulatory. I'll forever be thankful to Mel Brooks for being the person who had me first fall in love with musical theater. Long live the king!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    This book reads like your hilarious grandfather telling stories from his comfy armchair. He's definitely the hero of his own story, but he's Mel Brooks and so he's allowed to say and do whatever he wants. This book makes me want to rewatch all his old movies (and I did find Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs to stream so yay) and pray to Betty White that he lives forever. I love Mel Brooks! This book reads like your hilarious grandfather telling stories from his comfy armchair. He's definitely the hero of his own story, but he's Mel Brooks and so he's allowed to say and do whatever he wants. This book makes me want to rewatch all his old movies (and I did find Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs to stream so yay) and pray to Betty White that he lives forever. I love Mel Brooks!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard Murphy

    Disappointing Mel Brooks is a legend, a creative genius, and an international treasure. For those reasons, I was looking forward to this deep dive into his life. But with the exception of the beginning few chapters about his upbringing, military service, and early career, the book was a chronicle of each of his movies, in painful detail, from actors (all perfect), to funders (the same), on to the next success. It became an anthology rather than memoir, in need of a good edit. I couldn’t wait unt Disappointing Mel Brooks is a legend, a creative genius, and an international treasure. For those reasons, I was looking forward to this deep dive into his life. But with the exception of the beginning few chapters about his upbringing, military service, and early career, the book was a chronicle of each of his movies, in painful detail, from actors (all perfect), to funders (the same), on to the next success. It became an anthology rather than memoir, in need of a good edit. I couldn’t wait until the end. Brooks has got perfect comedic timing and has given many of us lives full of laughter. Regrettably, on this one he missed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Shallow, anecdote-less, too much concern about money.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen Germain

    I rarely listen to audio books and when I have, I haven't included them in my read/reviewed books. However, I've decided to make a change for 2022 involving listening to more audio books and reviewing them. Mel Brooks is a legend and it was a joy to listen to him narrate his memoir. His writing is filled with his unique humor and delivery. Although I'm very familiar with his films and theatrical productions, I did not know much about Brooks' personal life. Brooks details his childhood in Brooklyn I rarely listen to audio books and when I have, I haven't included them in my read/reviewed books. However, I've decided to make a change for 2022 involving listening to more audio books and reviewing them. Mel Brooks is a legend and it was a joy to listen to him narrate his memoir. His writing is filled with his unique humor and delivery. Although I'm very familiar with his films and theatrical productions, I did not know much about Brooks' personal life. Brooks details his childhood in Brooklyn (including his first experience with a broadway show, when his uncle took him to a performance of "Anything Goes"), his service in WW2, and the start of his comedy writing career. He also writes about his children and marriages, including the love of his life actress Anne Bancroft. Listening to Brooks share his life, I felt like it was a way to respect a person who has contributed so much to our country; through his art, his comedy aesthetic, and his military service. In the last few chapters, Brooks shares the experiences of being honored through the American Film Institute and Kennedy Center. He talks about his other awards, such as "The Producers" holding the record for production receiving the most Tony Awards, even after the phenomenon of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton." Brooks is not humble when describing these successes, but it would be impossible to call him undeserving, especially after listening to his early struggles and flops. Brooks is easily one of the hardest working people in show business, but also someone who truly loves to tell a great story. On a final note, it's nice to listen to Brooks while he is still living and will hopefully grace us with more projects.

  15. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Melvin Kaminsky, born in 1926, was the youngest of four sons raised by his mother Kate. His father died when he was very young. While trying his hand as a drummer, his stage name Melvin Brookman (his mother’s maiden name) didn’t fit on the drums so he shortened it to Brooks. Mel thankfully found his calling. Comedy. And we now have this delightful autobiography detailing his journey from the Borscht Belt to receiving the highest honors given in entertainment and the arts. There are some sweet sto Melvin Kaminsky, born in 1926, was the youngest of four sons raised by his mother Kate. His father died when he was very young. While trying his hand as a drummer, his stage name Melvin Brookman (his mother’s maiden name) didn’t fit on the drums so he shortened it to Brooks. Mel thankfully found his calling. Comedy. And we now have this delightful autobiography detailing his journey from the Borscht Belt to receiving the highest honors given in entertainment and the arts. There are some sweet stories of his early life in Brooklyn and lots of fascinating ones about the early days of television and being a writer for Sid Caesar. He writes of Anne Bancroft with such admiration and adoration that it is easy to understand how theirs was one of the most enduring marriages in Hollywood. Once Mel began his career in movies, the true hilarity starts. My favorite parts were about the making of his comedy classics The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. The inclusion of some of its funniest lines will remind you of his true brilliance. All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business is a quick, fun read. If you enjoy insider stories about the world of entertainment and you’re a fan of Mel Brooks, put this memoir on your list. Rated 4.25 stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I took my time listening to it as it was that great and to hear it in Mel Brooks’ own voice was just so incredible. I didn’t want it to end! His movies blew my mind as a kid. I’ll never forget seeing Blazing Saddles in the movies and missing some dialogue as the laughter was so loud. I especially loved when we saw it go from a western to a movie. The funniest scene was when Harvey Korean was talking to himself and then he looks directly into the camera and asks, “why am I asking you?” I’ve never I took my time listening to it as it was that great and to hear it in Mel Brooks’ own voice was just so incredible. I didn’t want it to end! His movies blew my mind as a kid. I’ll never forget seeing Blazing Saddles in the movies and missing some dialogue as the laughter was so loud. I especially loved when we saw it go from a western to a movie. The funniest scene was when Harvey Korean was talking to himself and then he looks directly into the camera and asks, “why am I asking you?” I’ve never seen that before and it just floored me. He sounds so vibrant and lively that I’m hoping he’ll be doing more movies and other shows. I’d love to actually get the chance to see him in person. What was so striking to me was that he only had praise for everyone and gave credit to all that worked and/or helped him along the way. He didn’t have a negative thing to say about anyone. You just don’t see that anymore and it was so refreshing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Zecker

    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 crotche 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jules Kelly

    if you can, this is absolutely best served as an audio book. it is sweet & funny & so giving when it comes to all the people in his life, bbut also tales from the ultimate mensch I leapt up onto the table and screamed, "Coleman Jacoby and Arnie Rosen won an Emmy for comedy writing and Mel Brooks didn't! That writers like that can win the award and geniuses like me would be denied? Nietzsche was right! There is no god! There is not god!" if you can, this is absolutely best served as an audio book. it is sweet & funny & so giving when it comes to all the people in his life, bbut also tales from the ultimate mensch I leapt up onto the table and screamed, "Coleman Jacoby and Arnie Rosen won an Emmy for comedy writing and Mel Brooks didn't! That writers like that can win the award and geniuses like me would be denied? Nietzsche was right! There is no god! There is not god!"

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tena Edlin

    This was a really enjoyable listen on our holiday trip. It increased my admiration and respect for Mel Brooks, and it made us want to watch or rewatch all of his movies (we started tonight with History of the World, Part 1)! He’s pretty pleased with himself through the book, but it never got on our nerves, because he always gives credit where credit is due, and he also isn’t afraid to admit his mistakes. We laughed out loud a lot and loved the insider’s look at so many great movies (and musicals This was a really enjoyable listen on our holiday trip. It increased my admiration and respect for Mel Brooks, and it made us want to watch or rewatch all of his movies (we started tonight with History of the World, Part 1)! He’s pretty pleased with himself through the book, but it never got on our nerves, because he always gives credit where credit is due, and he also isn’t afraid to admit his mistakes. We laughed out loud a lot and loved the insider’s look at so many great movies (and musicals). Even if you haven’t seen all of Mel Brooks’s movies, you can still enjoy hearing about how they were made and the fantastic life of the living legend who made them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Schu

    This is the autobiography of one of my favorite comedians and film makers, Mr. Mel Brooks. I loved listening to this book on audio as Mel Brooks narrates. The book is written in chronological order of Brooks' career in show business. I learned quite a bit about his relationships with other humorous writers from Sid Caesar to Carl Reiner. I loved learning about his relationship with Anne Bancroft, a wonderful actor and such an important figure in Brooks' career. He talks about his humble beginnin This is the autobiography of one of my favorite comedians and film makers, Mr. Mel Brooks. I loved listening to this book on audio as Mel Brooks narrates. The book is written in chronological order of Brooks' career in show business. I learned quite a bit about his relationships with other humorous writers from Sid Caesar to Carl Reiner. I loved learning about his relationship with Anne Bancroft, a wonderful actor and such an important figure in Brooks' career. He talks about his humble beginnings as a Brooklyn kid who served in World War II to being the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Kennedy Center honoree. I loved hearing about his film making and how he would not be deterred from his comic storytelling. He clearly loves all of his works but has a special affinity for The Producers and Blazing Saddles, both hilarious works of art. I would definitely recommend this to those that love Mel Brooks.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    As one who enjoys Mel Brooks movies, this was a delightful audiobook (thanks for the ALC, Libro.fm!) Narrated by the author in manner as if he were regaling you with his life stories over drinks in the living room. While he needs to develop a broader range of superlatives to describe the people he worked with, his telling is a thoroughly engaging description of how some of my favorite movies were created.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This book reads like he's talking to the reader and telling story after story about his long and interesting life. I'd imagine this is even better as an audio book if you like Mel Brooks, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This book reads like he's talking to the reader and telling story after story about his long and interesting life. I'd imagine this is even better as an audio book if you like Mel Brooks, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Heller

    I read this book because I love Mel Brooks. I’ve seen all his movies. The Show of Shows was brilliant comedy for its time. And Brooks was groundbreaking in American comedy. The book, however, is a disappointment. It is not very deep. It is primarily a brief look into his childhood, followed by a mechanical tell-all about how the Show of Shows evolved and how each movie was made. I could have read Wikipedia for such a fact-heavy summary of his life and work. So, while I enjoyed some of the backst I read this book because I love Mel Brooks. I’ve seen all his movies. The Show of Shows was brilliant comedy for its time. And Brooks was groundbreaking in American comedy. The book, however, is a disappointment. It is not very deep. It is primarily a brief look into his childhood, followed by a mechanical tell-all about how the Show of Shows evolved and how each movie was made. I could have read Wikipedia for such a fact-heavy summary of his life and work. So, while I enjoyed some of the backstory and tid-bits about the movies, overall the book is boring. Sorry Mel. Still love ya.

  24. 5 out of 5

    JR

    Not a laugh riot of a book, but still very interesting. A few fun tidbits along the way. Audiobook is read by Mel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susann

    A Treasure! I am so glad Mel Brooks wrote this during the Covid downtime. There is not much to say about him that hasn't already been said so many times. What I enjoyed especially in the book was his point of view about comedy, his upbeat attitude about pretty much everything, his extreme loyalty and love of his many friends past and present, insights into his wonderful relationship with Anne Bancroft, and the stories behind his great films. It will make me appreciate each movie more upon hearing A Treasure! I am so glad Mel Brooks wrote this during the Covid downtime. There is not much to say about him that hasn't already been said so many times. What I enjoyed especially in the book was his point of view about comedy, his upbeat attitude about pretty much everything, his extreme loyalty and love of his many friends past and present, insights into his wonderful relationship with Anne Bancroft, and the stories behind his great films. It will make me appreciate each movie more upon hearing some of the background and how and why it was made. The pictures were an added bonus. I feel like I have met a very sweet, loving man.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gary Sassaman

    (I put this at 4 stars, but it's really 3.5 for me.) Mel Brooks’s autobiography is an enjoyable read but it could have been titled differently. “Let Me Tell You A Little Story” and “But More on That Later” are two phrases you’ll encounter multiple times in this book and both would be fitting titles. There’s very little about Brooks’s personal life in this book, beyond his childhood and army years. Once it gets into his time on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, it’s all about Mel’s TV shows (includ (I put this at 4 stars, but it's really 3.5 for me.) Mel Brooks’s autobiography is an enjoyable read but it could have been titled differently. “Let Me Tell You A Little Story” and “But More on That Later” are two phrases you’ll encounter multiple times in this book and both would be fitting titles. There’s very little about Brooks’s personal life in this book, beyond his childhood and army years. Once it gets into his time on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, it’s all about Mel’s TV shows (including Get Smart) and his movies. And he doesn’t waste a lot of time on his failures … there’s a one-line or so mention of his Robin Hood TV series, When Things Were Rotten, which died after a 13-episode season in 1975, when Brooks was riding high on the success of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. He does talk about falling in love with Anne Bancroft, his second wife, but his first wife doesn’t even earn a mention of her name, just that he divorced her and had three children with her (which are also given short shrift). Brooks does treat us to an enjoyable movie-by-movie breakdown of his career, and the book ends with a long look at the Broadway smash The Producers, which still holds the record for most Tony Awards for a single show. Brooks reminds us of all the awards he’s won—he’s an EGOT: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winner, one of just a handful of people in the entertainment world—and the accolades he’s gotten from people like President Barack Obama. But there is no personal side to any of this, save the great love of his life, Anne Bancroft. When she dies of cancer in 2005, it gets a one-line mention and Brooks acknowledges how depressed he was when it happened, and how the Broadway version of Young Frankenstein helped him back from the abyss. Brooks says he wrote this autobiography during the pandemic, spurred on by his NY Times best-selling author/son Max (World War Z), but it also seems like a reaction to Patrick McGilligan’s less than flattering bio, Funny Man: Mel Brooks, a warts-and-all (some say warts-only) book about the actor/writer/director published in 2019. If you want to know about Brooks’s career, this is the book for you, but if you want to know about Mel Brooks, the man, I think you’ll have to look elsewhere.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    Just as this book was released Mel Brooks did an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I really enjoyed that interview. You can see the roots of this book, the man is a natural storyteller and at 94 years old I am sure he has told these stories a million times. You can see the roots of this book in the acknowledgments he mentions that he spent his lockdown writing this book based on stories he told many times. Look as the son of a Jewish man who died in his 80s who told many stories there was Just as this book was released Mel Brooks did an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I really enjoyed that interview. You can see the roots of this book, the man is a natural storyteller and at 94 years old I am sure he has told these stories a million times. You can see the roots of this book in the acknowledgments he mentions that he spent his lockdown writing this book based on stories he told many times. Look as the son of a Jewish man who died in his 80s who told many stories there was a vibe I found familiar. While my father was a political scientist his lunch group was Indiana university executives and not Hollywood filmmakers when Brooks talked about his lunch groups this book made sense to me. Mel Brooks was a veteran of WW II, he was a comedian, a comedy writer, A filmmaker as a writer, director his life is fascinating. Look it is his life and he has the right to tell his story how he would like to. He talks about his struggles as a kid, in the army but once we get into his adulthood it is all Rosey. If I didn’t know better I would have thought Brooks was married once and had one son. It was kinda weird that only the famous wife and son got mentioned through the book. Like I said his choice. Look as a huge fan of his work, Get Smart has one of my favorite gags of all time. I love Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, History of the World part 1…you name it. So it was fun to get some inside details. I enjoyed this book but Solarbabies is the only one of Brooks Hollywood challenges he mentions, and that in the context of how he managed to take a stinker and save the production and make money in the end. Dracula Dead and loving it was a bomb, and being honest might provide insight. In the end, I would say that the Fresh Air interview might enough for most fans. I laughed a bunch. Learned some details. Glad I read it. I enjoyed the book but not entirely sure this is a must-read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    tim

    I started this as an audiobook. Once his voice was in my head, I began reading it in print and plowed through the pages. There is no griping, few regrets, no scandals, or any need to defend a reputation. The memoir offers a quick 480 pages of his life in show business where everything seems to have gone pretty smoothly. He loves his actors and collaborators, quotes from his films, offers side stories, with great admiration and love for his late wife, Anne Bancroft, and for his children and grand I started this as an audiobook. Once his voice was in my head, I began reading it in print and plowed through the pages. There is no griping, few regrets, no scandals, or any need to defend a reputation. The memoir offers a quick 480 pages of his life in show business where everything seems to have gone pretty smoothly. He loves his actors and collaborators, quotes from his films, offers side stories, with great admiration and love for his late wife, Anne Bancroft, and for his children and grandchilden. Underneath, is a driven man, an old-school Borscht Belt comedian. There are other bios on Brooks so they can delve into other facts. Here is a quite unabashed ode to himself and his inexhaustible humor that led to so many successes. His casual stories and anecdotes feel like some old uncle reminiscing the best and proudest moments of life. As Mel Brooks is 95 - so more power to him. It is a gift to readers. Along the way are nice tips and insights along with a surprising knowledge of film. Tales of dinners with Cary Grant, Hitchcock and others are a real treat. I haven't even seen all his films; his was a broader style of comedy than met my tastes. Now, of course, I want to catch up. The highlights of his career are on these pages, a generous and inspiring, often laugh-out-loud memoir of an artist who never gave up his bawdy Jewish sense of the absurd.

  29. 4 out of 5

    James

    A fun read about Mel Brooks' early life and start in show business, All About Me! rapidly becomes just a catalogue of names and shout-outs; while still enjoyable, and obviously insightful into the frenetic, wonderful creative mind of Brooks, the book left me wanting more. Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and, heck, even Spaceballs left their mark, and I couldn't help but wondering if someone with a bit of distance and perspective, gathering Brooks' words and his co-workers and collaborators, A fun read about Mel Brooks' early life and start in show business, All About Me! rapidly becomes just a catalogue of names and shout-outs; while still enjoyable, and obviously insightful into the frenetic, wonderful creative mind of Brooks, the book left me wanting more. Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and, heck, even Spaceballs left their mark, and I couldn't help but wondering if someone with a bit of distance and perspective, gathering Brooks' words and his co-workers and collaborators, wouldn't have spun a tale of more conflict and interest. Still, Brooks is laugh out loud funny, at his best when he quotes from his own Blazing Saddles script and talks about the gifts of Gene Wilder. I would have wanted to know more about his relationship with Ann Bancroft and more about how he worked so hard to make such a mark on our culture. His manic ability to craft jokes and promote hilarity is deserving of many, many books. It is good to be the king, indeed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phair

    I liked the arrangement of the book: a chronological look starting with childhood then, later on, each movie or other project getting its own chapter. Lots of name dropping throughout but not in a “look how many big names I know” way but rather acknowledgement and praise for folk who helped and encouraged him along the way many of whom became lifelong friends. What I enjoyed most was the behind the scenes look at the process of movie making and the fun facts about what went on during the filming I liked the arrangement of the book: a chronological look starting with childhood then, later on, each movie or other project getting its own chapter. Lots of name dropping throughout but not in a “look how many big names I know” way but rather acknowledgement and praise for folk who helped and encouraged him along the way many of whom became lifelong friends. What I enjoyed most was the behind the scenes look at the process of movie making and the fun facts about what went on during the filming of so many of my favorite films. Good book. Interesting man.

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