Mel Brooks on losing the loves of his life: ‘People know how good Carl Reiner was, but not how great’

From best friend Carl Reiner to wife Anne Bancroft, the great comic has had to face great loss.

But even in the middle of a pandemic, the 95-year-old is still finding ways to laughIn February 2020, I joined Mel Brooks at the Beverly Hills home of his best friend, the director and writer Carl Reiner, for their nightly tradition of eating dinner together and watching the gameshow Jeopardy!.

It was one of the most emotional nights of my life.

Brooks, more than anyone, shaped my idea of Jewish-American humour, emphasising its joyfulness, cleverness and in-jokiness.

Compared with his stellar 60s and 70s, when he was one of the most successful movie directors in the world, with The Producers and Blazing Saddles, and later his glittering 2000s, when his musical adaptation of The Producers dominated Broadway and the West End, his 80s and 90s are considered relatively fallow years.

But his 1987 Star Wars spoof,

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