HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

TV Review: ‘Mel Brooks: Make a Noise’ Captures Comedy Genius

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – I’m a huge Mel Brooks fan, one of those critics who bows at the altar of arguably the two best comedies of all time, “Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein.” I’ve seen them both a dozen times and can’t wait to watch them again. “The Producers,” “A History of the World,” “High Anxiety,”” “Silent Movie,” “To Be or Not To Be,” “The Twelve Chairs,” his work on “Get Smart” & “Your Show of Shows,” “The 2000 Year Old Man” — the first response that most people should have to “American Masters: Mel Brooks: Make a Noise,” debuting on PBS tonight and releasing on DVD tomorrow, May 21, 2013, is a simple one — What took so long? “American Masters” premiered in 1986 and he should have been one of the first choices.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 4.5/5.0
Television Rating: 4.5/5.0

To be fair, “Make a Noise” doesn’t do much more than confirm what most of us fans of Brooks already knew about the man. If you’re hoping for deep, enlightening probing of what makes Brooks tick, you might be a bit disappointed. I was actually most interested in why Brooks tailed off creatively and hasn’t directed a movie in two decades. There’s a bit about changing tastes and the fact that anyone who reached the peak of Brooks in the ’70s and ’80s was bound to come in below expectations but the relative failures of Brooks are briefly mentioned (“Dracula Dead and Loving It”) or completely ignored (“Life Stinks”). The doc virtually skips from “Spaceballs” to the comeback with “The Producers” on stage.

Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
Photo credit: PBS

As for things I did learn/think while watching “Make a Noise”:

Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
Photo credit: PBS

1. It’s amazing how many of Brooks’s team is gone. Madeline Kahn, Cleavon Little, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, and, of course, the magical Anne Bancroft. And Gene Wilder didn’t come out for an interview. So, while hearing from people like Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, and Steven Weber about the magic of Brooks, I found the archival interviews, many of them on talk shows, the most insightful. Actual peers like Cloris Leachman and Carl Reiner have the most insight here.

2. Mel Brooks is still damn funny. He comes bounding into his interview with the energy of someone a quarter of his age and he hits every line, every joke, every anecdote. There have been rumors lately that he could direct again and I really hope that happens. He’s still got the comedic chops.

3. As funny as you think Mel Brooks was, “Make a Noise” makes the case that he was funnier. The clip choices are pitch perfect, finding great beats from “History of the World,” “Blazing Saddles,” and the rest of the gang. They even made me want to watch “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” again.

Only 14 people have pulled the notorious EGOT — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Mel Brooks is one of them. 10, 20, 100 years from now, people will still be watching Brooks’s best comedies and learing the art of the laugh from them. It may be a little more surface level than I was hoping when it began, but if “American Masters” can convert more people into recognizing the talents of one of the best comedy directors of all time it’s served a more important purpose than any TV this month. Fans of Brooks should definitely check it out. Scratch that. Fans of laughing should definitely check it out.

“American Masters: Mel Brooks: Make a Noise” premieres on PBS on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8pm CST and will be released on DVD on May 21, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
one * = two
Solve this math question and enter the solution with digits. E.g. for "two plus four = ?" enter "6".

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker