Mel Brooks: His Favorite Joke and Other Funny Stories | Reader's Digest

Mel Brooks: His Favorite Joke and Other Funny Stories

A rare interview with the legendary Mel Brooks as he looks back on his funniest moments.

Interviewed by Andy Simmons

Then there was Gig Young. In Blazing Saddles I had something to say. I didn’t just want it to be a bunch of guys farting around a campfire. I wanted it to be about a black guy being accepted in the old West. I wanted the movie to have grit and humanity. So I hired the great Gig Young to be the Waco Kid, the first real friend to the black Sheriff. The day we’re shooting his first scene, Gig is in a jail cell recovering from a binge from the night before. Suddenly, he starts spitting up green stuff—bright green. I’m impressed. I turn to my assistant director and say, “Look what a great actor he is! How much he’s giving to the scene!” I look back, and now it’s a torrent of green spittle. He’s spewing green spittles everywhere. It’s like the Exorcist. Now I think he’s not acting, he’s dying. We call an ambulance, and they take him away. Turns out he was an alcoholic and had the DTs. That’s when I called Gene Wilder to take the role.

The Blazing Saddles that almost was:

Next: Mel’s favorite joke…

  • Your Comments

    • Anon75

      Awesome! Mel Brooks.. a true comedic genius!