97-Year-Old Mel Brooks Promises Not to Sell Honorary Oscar
At the Governors Awards last night, Mel Brooks was the first honoree to be presented with an Oscar, likely because the 97-year-old comic had to get to bed. After all, as presenter and Producers star Matthew Broderick said, Brooks is older than penicillin. (Not a joke, by the way.)
Brooks took the stage with smooches for Broderick and his Producers costar Nathan Lane, joking that he was taking his life into his hands by doing so. “I’m risking COVID for them!” Hey, the boys had just finished a musical tribute to the “comedic genius and legend beyond compare,” so it was the least he could do.
Brooks had remarkable energy despite reaching a point in his career where he actually looks like his character, the 2000 Year-Old Man. Broderick joked earlier in the evening that he loved the Brooks/Carl Reiner bit so much that, until the age of 14, he slept with the record playing in hopes of becoming subliminally funnier. “What happened at 14?” asked Lane. “I discovered pornography,” Broderick confessed.
After embracing his proteges, Brooks got on with the gratitude. “Thank you so much. This is beautiful. I got to tell you, this means a lot to me. It really means a lot. I feel so bad about the Oscar I got for writing the original screenplay for The Producers. I feel so bad. I miss it so much. I never should have sold it. Hey, listen, times weren't great.”
Brooks then paused for a serious moment: “As comics often say and don't mean it — Seriously, I got to blow my nose.” (Yes, he proceeded to produce a Kleenex and do his business.)
Brooks, who also received Oscar nominations for Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, got big laughs in 1969 when he accepted that Producers Oscar from Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles. “I want to thank the Academy of Arts, Sciences and Money for this wonderful award,” he said as he pretended to search his pockets for a misplaced speech. As the audience roared, he improvised. “Well, I’ll just say what’s in my heart. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Ba-bump.”
Fifty-five years later, Brooks was back to receive a second Oscar honoring his life’s achievements. “When your peers appreciate your work and they salute you with this golden statue, it means it means a great deal. It really does because I was the baby of four boys and finally they got to see me and kiss me and it meant a lot to be awarded a place in the family,” Brooks said. “And it's the same thing in show business. If your fellow writers, directors, and actors like you and appreciate your work, it means a lot.”
With that, Brooks held the golden statue in the air. “I won't sell this one, I swear to God.”