Study Guide

Blazing Saddles Director

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Mel Brooks

You know those comedians who love a nice, slow burn and use discipline to make every joke count? Well, Mel Brooks ain't one of 'em. If you had to describe his approach to humor in one sentence, it'd be "Let's throw every joke we can at the audience and see what sticks."

But he's still been called one of the funniest men ever by some very respectable comedians. His movies (apart from Blazing Saddles) include such classics as Young Frankenstein and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

He also scored a gigantic Broadway hit with his musical, The Producers starting in 2001. And among all his movies and shows, you can always find that standard Mel Brooks humor that hits you with everything it's got—and then makes a fart noise.

Love it or hate it, Mel never passes up the chance for a joke. Undisciplined? Some people might say so. But others would praise him for always trying knew things. Sure, not every joke in a Mel Brooks movie will be funny. But in the worst-case scenario, he'll still hit you with three or four moments that leave you dazed and asking, "Wait, what am I laughing at again?"

Born in the Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mel Brooks had very little contact with anyone who wasn't Jewish. And whenever he did meet non-Jewish people, Brooks would find that they didn't have a great sense of humor. So this eventually led Brooks to think (for a long time) that comedy was a uniquely Jewish thing.

After all, all of Brooks' comedic heroes probably would have been Jewish—like the Marx Brothers, Jackie Mason, Moe Howard, and George Burns, to name a few. It wasn't until much later in life that Brooks realized comedy was something anyone could do.

It's likely that the racial stereotyping Brooks experienced as a kid would go on to play a role in movies like Blazing Saddles, where Brooks uses his comedy to make people laugh at… racial stereotypes.

P.S. Mel Brooks also served in World War II de-fusing land mines (source). If that doesn't give you a sense of humor, nothing will. 

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