Book Review: “All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business”

An autobiography by Mel Brooks, first published in November 2021.

He’s older than I am and he wrote a book published 10 months ago when he was 95. The book has a long, but descriptive title: All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business.

What helps is that I lived through much of Brooks’ adult life and I loved remembering my life as he remembered his. Yes, I was a regular watcher of Sid Caesar on TV (Brooks was a regular writer/contributor on the Caesar shows.) I saw a preview production of The Producers as a musical (written and composed by Brooks) in Chicago.

Brooks had many successes in life, He’s called a “comedy legend” and his wit remains sharp (I saw some of his recent interviews publicizing the book.) He was an early class clown, he says, in part because he was short and the laughs kept him from being bullied. The book told me (or reminded me) that he had won an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Tony for his TV, Broadway, movie and music creations. In the book, he talks about how each creation that resulted in the awards came to be and who else was part of his various productions. He seldom has a bad word for anyone on stage or behind the scenes. I loved all the particularly fond words he had for Carl Reiner who always seemed, to me, to be such a nice guy. (Brooks and Reiner created the popular “2000-year-old man sketches.”)

Reading the Brooks book reminded me of particular movies I hadn’t seen in a while. My gentleman friend and I sat down one night recently to watch “The Producers” with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. That movie is still very funny.

Then a couple night later, all alone, I found a copy of the musical version of “The Producers” with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. I found I even preferred the pace of that version over the original for its music and humor–though Zero Mostel is a tough act to follow.

And then–the book mentioned the movie “High Anxiety” and the gentleman and I watched that as well–a lovely comedy making fun of Alfred Hitchcock films.

So what’s the bottom line? If you like good show business books, I recommend Mel Brooks’ book. You’ll be reminded of so many happy times in your life and you may also pick out a Brooks movie or two to enjoy again. Or, if you are an aspiring comic or comedy writer, you will enjoy this book as well. The writing is straight forward and is filled with funny remarks, photos and, of course, multiple show business successes.

In the meantime, here is a Mel Brooks interview at age 93 in which he talks about comedy and the love of his life, wife Anne Bancroft.


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