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tv   Mel Brooks  BBC News  December 31, 2021 12:30pm-1:01pm GMT

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some a subtle change for sunday. some longer spells of rain at times, but the wind direction shift slightly coming in from the west. we'll still be mild, very mild, butjust not quite as mild as it is right now with temperatures of nine to m degrees. a bigger change coming later in the week, it will stay unsettled, low pressure drifting across the uk as we go to monday and then as that shifts its way eastwards, it will open the door to cold northerly winds, that is going to feel quite different i think as we go into tuesday and wednesday, single digit temperatures for all of us are a time when we should be seeing this this time of the year and some wintry showers in the north as we head through the rest of the week. more weather later and that is all for now.
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now on bbc news — mel brooks talks to alan yentob about his life. i know the word can be overused but mel brooks is a legend. a movie legend, a musical legend, and a comedy legend. oscars, emmys, baftas, tonys, grammys, he's won them all many times over. # springtime for hitler and germany deutschland is happy and gay we're marching to a faster pace look out, here comes the master race... # mel brooks was fearless, he broke every rule, but he kept to the ones for lockdown, even telling his son max to go away. i'm going, i'm going. love you. he's been locked in writing his
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autobiography, and after some persuasion, let me in to talk about it. alan, you flew on an aeroplane all the way from london... idid. see me here in southern california. yeah, and this pandemic, which, when max introduced you, 16 million people were watching that. so you are a bit of a hero. well... also, max, what are you going to do? you can't go to your lunches, you can't go to your office, you can't do your on—stage stand—up with a lot of people, you're stuck. you are stuck on your sofa
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in your living room, what are you going to do? i said, i don't know what i'm going to do, frankly. i'm going to go crazy. he said, no, you are going to write your memoir. and you did what you are told. and i did. you call it all about me. it is all about me. and it's a good title. it starts in brooklyn. i remember asking you about brooklyn and were there anyjews in brooklyn? and i said, nothing butjews in brooklyn. was there something special about being jewish in brooklyn at that time in new york? no, everybody was. every single human being in brooklyn was a jew at that point, so there was nothing special about it. it was quite ordinary, it was a pedestrian thing to be. i mean, i went to manhattan and i met all these gentiles and it was a little frightening. isaid, my god, you mean there are other people besidejews in the world? your mother comes out as a bit of heroine.
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you call her a heroine. yeah, she is, absolutely. she lost her husband, my father, when i was only two years old. she had to raise four boys, she had to dress them and feed them and get them to school and make beds, and she worked like a 20 hour day. she got up at six and she went to bed at midnight. someone in the family told me that she thought she'd have a fourth child in the hopes that it would be a girl. she wanted a girl. and then she said, all right, another boy, i'll take him, we'll see what we can do with him. she said to the doctor, i don't want him. would you like him? the doctor said, no, and asked around the building. and everyone came to look and said nicely, in a nice way, no. so my mother kept me, and she has been happy ever since because i'm the one, not irving, not lenny, not bernie,
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but melvin is the one that sends her the $16.93 a month. they don't send her a cheque, i send her the cheque. in the interview later, say it's $116, all right? promise? good boy, 0k. # you must have been a beautiful baby you must have been a wonderful child when you were only starting to go to kindergarten i bet you drove the other kids wild and when it came to winning blue ribbons i bet you showed the other kids how i can see the judges�* eyes as they handed you the prize you must�*ve made the cutest bow oh, you must have been a beautiful baby cos baby look at you now. # we were like pups in a cardboard box, you know, four boys, we never had money for anything. you talk about going to woolworths, "the local woolworths which we knew as the five and ten store because a lot of the item were actually sold
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for five and ten cents. clerks weren't looking we'd try to snatch something." not "clarks" — "clerks". clerks, sorry. "we never called it stealing but we called it taking." taking, it was a softer, nicer word. "let's go taking." "let's go taking," right. "but one sunday afternoon, i tempted fate..." "there, in a special display of roy rogers hats and t—shirts was a pearl—handled toy replica of a roy rogers six—shooter." " it was the most thrilling thing i had ever seen." yeah. "i picked it up, i was nearly out the door when hands grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and pulled me back into the store." "a great big man announced, i'm the manager and i'm sick and tired of you kids stealing." "in a blinding flash, an idea popped into my head. i reached into my sweater, pulled out the toy gun, shouted, get back or i'll blow your head off. get back or i'll blow your head off — with this toy gun. and he jumped back. and when hejumped back i saw my escape route and fled from the five and ten and never went back there again for fear
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that i'd be recognised." ah! it was great, you know? it was called fast thinking. actually, i started my career in music at five. 0h. at five. everybody in my building worked in the garment centre, they worked nowhere else, and ifigured i would probably end up there too, but my uncle joe changed my life. one day, he said, how would you like to see a cole porter musical on broadway called anything goes? what an experience! when the show was over i was screaming and my hands were just stinging from applauding so vigorously. isaid, joe, unclejoe, i'm not going to go into the garment centre, i am going to go into show business, i want to do what they were
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doing on that stage! you miserable cowardly wretched little caterpillar. don't you ever want to become a butterfly? don't you want to spread your wings and flap your way to glory? you're going tojump on me. you're going tojump| on me, i know you're going tojump on me, - like nerojumped on poppaea. who? after three days of filming, joe levine turns to me and says, i'll give you another $25,000 if you get rid of that curly haired guy. he said he's just funny—looking, there is no leading man here. and i said, ok. he's out. you didn't say that? i said, he's gone. and that was a lesson, a great lesson for me, lying to the studio. alan laughs. now, here's a very important moment for me. i know how much buddy rich meant you and i know drumming is something that you are passionate about. he was the best drummer in the world, i thought. he was sensational.
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frenetic drumming. he beats out a rhythm. always keep the beat. i'm always in the centre of the beat. being a drummer at 1a gave me a great sense of tempo and rhythm, and that was incredibly important in comedy. yes. in when the rimshot or when the joke reaches the peak and how you explode it.
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when i think about what you just said about rhythm and pace and timing and the silences i think of so many of those scenes which are imprinted on my brain and in my heart. i can't ever forget the moment when i watched springtime for hitler, in north london, where all those jews were. yeah! and then to see that shot of the audience stand, staggered. yes, staggered. they couldn't believe it. # springtime for hitler and germany winter for holland and france springtime for hitler and germany come on, germans, go into your dance... # they were gobsmacked, they couldn't believe that such a thing could happen! i got many letters from many rabbis saying, how dare you?
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and my basic answer was, you can't get on the soapbox with hitler but you can make fun of him and you can reduce him to laughter and he can't win. talk about bad taste! # springtime for hitler and germany means that soon we'll be going we've got to be going you know we'll be going to war! # 0k, at 17 years old, you're recruited, you go into the army, the second world war, in combat, you're there. you're in the high—risk... a lot of ducking, i can tell you. a lot of ducking, yeah! and you were clearing up landmines and things. yes, i was in normandy and they taught us about booby—traps.
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don't pull the chain, look in the water closet, see if there's water and not dynamite. pull the chain, you could go to heaven. teller mines, 45—degree angle with your bayonet. as soon as you hear, tink, tink, tink yell, sergeant! it was big and it could disarm and blow up a tank, so you can imagine what it would do to a jew from brooklyn. so anyway, when a village, when anything like that was captured, we would rush in and strip it of all kinds of booby—traps and mines. that's quite a scaryjob. it's scary, it's scary, it's a tough job. and you've still got this ambition in you to be in show business. oh, yeah. your career in comedy
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started in the mountains. other people would like to use that rowboat. please bring in rowboat 101. that is, the real name of the rowboat is 11. that's a hole in the middle, you're sinking! you were a tumbler. yes, a pool tumbler, not just a tumbler. what is a tumbler? you wake up thejews around the pool... who have over—eaten. know. you amuse the people, and i wore an alpaca coat and a derby and two cardboard suitcases filled with rocks or something and i would go on the diving board. and i'd say, business is bad, i don't want to live, and i would jump off the diving,
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and i would go to the bottom and it ——they would all laugh like hell and the lifeguard, who wasn'tjewish, he could swim, arthur, he would laugh too, and i would look up. i'm at the bottom of the pool, i didn't want to let my suitcases go, and the coat was, you know... i didn't know if i'd never get to the top of the pool again, and arthur, and i'd go... and he'd say he spotted me finally and got me up. it was a matter of keeping them amused. thejewish mountains, you went there, really, they went there, really, for the food. and they went there to die because the food was cholesterol, that's all it was. lunch would fill them up to here. they would eat... it's all yiddish words for doughy substances filled with cheeses
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and kosher and filled with creams. sometimes they would have just a lot of raw vegetables cut up with one gallon of sour cream and they would eat that. then they would have sour cream on blintzes for lunch, for dessert, and that would be their lunch, and then ten gallons of hot tea and then a glass of sour cream. and then after that they would sit and rock, from beyond the porch, they would rock. and this is the most dangerous thing a jew could do. the most dangerous thing a jew could do in the mountains was to sing dancing in the dark. why dancing in the dark? why because they never understood the range of that song and would inevitably start in the wrong key. if you're going to sing dancing in the dark, you've got to start very low because the song was very high, and manyjews would die of a stroke because they would start too high, thinking that was the normal place to start dancing in the dark. so they would sing what would appear normal. # dancing in the dark. # when the tune ends...
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# now, that doesn't sound so bad. but you watch. # we're dancing in the dark and it soon ends # and we can face the music together # dancing in the dark! # they'd have a stroke and die, because they don't know how high that song goes. you've got to start it like this. in low key: # dancing in the dark when the tune ends we're waltzing in the dark and it soon ends and we can face the music dancing, as we're dancing in the dark. # that was perfect early crosby, crosby �*39. i feel good. i'm happy and i'm delighted. delighted to be here on the hollywood palace? delighted to be alive, never mind anything else. when i wake up in the morning i make myself a birthday cake, it's a cupcake with one candle. i'm glad to go in and out. i've asked you this many times. you've asked me a lot
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ofjunk since i knew you. yes. i don't even remember this. but it's funny. i had my original toupee then. carl, that's amazing! carl was an insane organiser. he would organise. he came in one day with a tape recorder, it was actually a wire recorder. we were in the writers' room, and he came and he said, sir, i understand your 2,000 years old. somebody told me that you were 2,000... is that true? and i said, oh, boy, and suddenly i was a 2,000—year—old man. he made me, he created me. we've talked about carl and many others in your life and they are all in the book, but there is one meeting, and it shows your kind of chutzpah, if i can use a jewish word, which is the stalking of anne bancroft. i'm just looking at that picture. i mean, she's the most beautiful woman. she was amazing. when she came out and sang married... i want to get married.
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the perry como show. rehearsal of the perry como show. and i saw that. i said, i've been looking for this all my life. i didn't know it existed till i saw it. when she finished, i screamed, anne bancroft, i love you! i screamed it out. she said, who the hell are you? alan laughs. she said, i've heard of you, i bought your record! you and carl, it's great. i saw her backstage and we talked and i never stopped seeing her and talking to her for the next 45 yea rs. alan laughs. every day was bliss. yes, miss? i've heard that you're married to the most beautiful woman in the world, is that true, mr brooks? no, i'm married to anne bancroft. applause. ladies and gentlemen, my beautiful wife. they sing sweet georgia
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brown in yiddish. we've got to remember at that stage you weren't earning much money. no, i was broke then. she was paying for most things. yeah, the show of shows was off the air and when i met her i told her, you don't want to be serious with me, because i'm broke. i'm eating hotdogs for dinner. i said i have no money, you don't want to know me. she said, i'll take a chance. i'll take a chance. they continue to sing sweet georgia brown in yiddish. cheering and applause. i have a couple more for you. i don't care, you are finished.
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we've got to do 0bama. what about 0bama ? i just want to read it. we're not going to make him president again, he served two terms. no, i want to read what he said about you. oh, you can read that. "we are here today to honour the very best of their fields. as mel brooks once said to his writers on blazing saddles, which is a great film, write anything that you want because we'll never be heard from again." "when he put the big, beautiful medal around my neck, he said, to mel brooks for a lifetime of making the world laugh." unfortunately, many of the punch lines that have defined mel brooks's success cannot be repeated here. laughter. i was telling him that i went to see blazing saddles when i was ten and he pointed out that, i think, according to the ratings, i should not have been allowed in the theatre. brass band plays.
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bell tolls. hey, the sheriff is a n... bell tolls. what did he say? the sheriff is nearer! no, godammit, the sheriff is a n... bell tolls. all: hooray! hooray! music stops. i said, look, when this movie opens, we'll all go to prison, so let it all out, throw it in the movie. and it was in exorable taste, it was terrible. it was in bad taste but its heart was in the right place. and the engine that drove it, the locomotive underneath that movie was
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racial prejudice. yeah, he's a black guy, but he's a good guy. and we knew we were on the right road. and you wrote it with richard pryor. and i wrote it with richard, who used the n word, he scared the hell out of me. i said, richard, too much n word. he said, no, we need it, the bad guys have to say that. i said, ok, richard. and then you took the whole family in, there's a wonderful photograph. we took a wonderful photograph with the 0bamas and realised how short my family was. the 0bamas were like redwood trees next to us. he chuckles. you said, "he told me that he would catch me if i tried to sell the medal on ebay." mel laughs. that's it. ok, that's it. we talked for 2h hours. i know.
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have you given me a penny for all of this? no. not a cent? i don't mind, i love you, i do it forfun. the movie can be made. we've got to raise money to make the movie, the fees are not important. i'm interested in the adjusted gross, i want the gross after they've evened out per dollar. what? who is it? 0h, all right, come in, come in, come in. come in, what is it? i'm on the phone. ijust wondered, we still haven't got this ending sorted out. no, no, it's this guy yentob from the bbc. no, they can't get an ending for this idiot documentary they are doing with me. what the hell do you want from me? now, tell me the deal again. they want to give us $16,000 up for everything? and then what do we get if the picture's a hit? $1,100, are you crazy? we're running out... right, oh, 0k. look, i have to do this documentary. i'll call you back. look...
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hello, it doesn't feel much like the last day of december out there. an extraordinary mall new year's eve. dry for many but not for all of us. the temperatures afternoon for north—east scotland aids are 9 degrees, a bit above average. 15 or 16 or 17 for the south, a lot above average. some spells of sunshine for some places and quite windy out there and some patchy rain for northern ireland and parts of scotland. as we go through this evening many places will be dry and we will see this cloud of quite heavy rain and it will reach scotland in north—west england by midnight by which point temperatures will be between nine and 13 degrees. but it will turn increasingly windy. these other wind gusts to take us
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through the small hours saturday, gus of a0 to 50 mph across western coasts and may be stronger than that in the most exposed locations. lots of isobars squeezing together a there will be some brisk winds and also a weather front pushing eastwards. it may be this rain isn't particularly widespread but in places it could be quite heavy as it works eastwards. some spells of sunshine and more sherry rain into northern ireland and western scotland later on that could be on the heavy side. it stays fairly windy through the day and exceptionally mild. 13 degrees in aberdeen and 15 for cardiff and somewhere we could get to 16 or 17 degrees to the afternoon. for sandy things were quite unsettled. we will see showers and longer spells of rain and some sunny spells. a subtle change in wind direction with winds coming in from the west. still very mild but not quite as mild as at the moment. a bigger change as we head through next week. initially it
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looks unsettled, low pressure was close by and we will see showers on longer spells of rain but as that it of low pressure works eastwards it will for a time open the door to a northerly wind surround tuesday to the middle part of the week things will start to feel quite a lot of calder and potentialfor will start to feel quite a lot of calder and potential for wintry showers in the north. temperature stay a little lower as we head through the week and it remains unsettled with more rain at times.
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the number of nhs staff off work in england because of covid went up by more than a0% during christmas week. one in 30 people in the uk were estimated to have tested positive for covid heading into christmas, a new record high for infections. the staff that are at work will be caring for more patients, trying to do more to cover for their missing colleagues, working extra hours, starting early, finishing late. the pressure will be immense. the prime minister, borisjohnson, has urged people in the uk to take a covid test before celebrating new year's eve tonight. the number of teenagers killed in stabbings in london this year reaches the highest in more than a decade after two further attacks in the capital. mourners in south africa have been paying their respects to the late
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archbishop desmond tutu.


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