Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Piss On You, I Work For Mel Brooks!

I have had a life long love of Mel Brooks movies. I'm not sure when I first saw a Mel Brooks movie, but it might have been Robin Hood: Men in Tights in the theater with my dad and brother. It sticks out in my mind because I remember asking "What's a chastity belt?" and my dad replying "NOTHING!" as we left the theater.

How dare you take your daughter to this sir!
(Just kidding dad!)

After that, I must have seen Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Spaceballs, all much more kid friendly in their way. (Sidenote: Bill Pullman will always be either Lonestar or the President to me, no matter what he does). I may have started with the newer stuff, but it was seeing the classics when I was a pre-teen/teenager that hooked me into Mel Brooks for life.

One year, for my birthday party, we rented a bunch of movies and I insisted that one of them be Blazing Saddles. I had heard from my next door neighbor that it was amazing, and I thought it would be cool to share it with all my friends at the slumber party.

We had the pizza, the cake, and started the movie marathon with other comedies, and possibly a horror flick. Then, as everyone but me started dozing off, we put in Blazing Saddles. I was almost always the one kid who didn't fall asleep with everyone else (on the flip side, I was the last kid awake in the morning).

The movie started, and I remember laughing almost the entire time. I was so disappointed that no one else was awake with me to share in the incredible hilarity. Of course some of the jokes and references flew over my head, but most of it was just killing me.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons"

Mongo punching the horse. Madeline Khan. "Someone's gotta go back and get a shitload of dimes!" "Hey, where all the white women at?" "Give the governor harrumph!" "Excuse me while I whip this out." "That's Hedley." And the list goes on. I could practically do the movie from memory.

I thought my laughter would wake the others up for sure, but everyone was sleeping like logs on the pull out couch. The next morning, when I finally woke up, I had everyone rewatch it with me, and the gang was on board. My best friend and I adore "The French Mistake."

Why is everyone sleeping through this?!

Not too long after that, Halloween rolled around and I was having a get together with friends to watch movies (yes, those are the only kind of parties I know how to throw). My parents, in a surprisingly common co-effort to have me watch certain movies, picked up Young Frankenstein along the way.

"What is this?" I asked

"It's a comedy, you'll like it." I popped it in at the party.

And boy did I. I am still torn between wanting to be Teri Garr or Madeline Khan when I grow up.

Sometimes kids, it pays to listen to your parents.

Frau Blucher. Marty Feldman. Gene Wilder yelling. Abby Normal. "I thought I told you never to interrupt me while I'm WORKING." "'What knockers!' 'Thank you doctor.'" "Oh hello, would you like a roll in ze hay? Roll, roll, roll in ze hay!"

I think this might be my favorite moment in the movie though.



Hell, this one too:



My senior year of high school, I got to take a class that studied literature and film, and one of the final projects was a director study. I wrote a proposal and got to cover Mel Brooks, which meant I got to sit around and watch even more Mel Brooks movies for homework. While watching The Producers in the living room one night, I remember my dad saying, "Doing homework with you is fun!"

In case you're wondering, I got an A even though I played "Springtime for Hitler" in its entirety as the conclusion to my presentation.



It remains a goal of mine to be able to legitimately say "Piss on you, I work for Mel Brooks!" at some point in my life.

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