Why Mel Brooks is wrong

Dear Husbands,
This may be the last time I write for DumbWhiteHusband.com. Today, I tell my fellow manly men writers that they are wrong about Mel Brooks, and then I go into hiding. Y’all are wrong about Mel being funny.
You know what you get when you Google “hate Mel Brooks?” You get nothing — absolutely nothing. Apparently no woman has dared go here before, so I’ll start by saying Mel Brooks puts me to sleep every single time. There — I said it. I bought my husband an 8-disc DVD set years ago of Mel Brooks movies and while he sits with a full-on goofy chuckle during the entire course of a movie, I fall asleep during “History of the World Part I.” Every. Single. Time. I can’t even stay awake long enough for Part 2. Mel Brooks movies are like the affordable “generic” brand of Lunesta. I’ve mentioned on Twitter that I just can’t make it through a Mel movie without falling asleep and it has caused outrage with my 20 followers. I just don’t think a movie is very good if you push pause 26 minutes into the movie and forget to push play again.
I don’t actually hate Mel Brooks. I’ve seen a few of the movies and he has a few funny parts in it, but generally the humor is crude and delivered by a bad guy that is just a giant man-child.
Bad theme #1 of Mel Brooks movies: Whiny Man Children are everywhere. Dark Helmet, Hedley, Mongo, and basically all the Men in Tights are just a small example of the man-children that Brooks has cast. Ok, on second thought, all the characters in all the movies are man-children — even the women.
I’ll basically laugh at anything, so not finding Mel funny is really unfortunate. But particularly, I enjoy smart humor: humor that has an aura of cleverness involved, and I occasionally laugh at the I-just-did-something-incredibly-stupid-and-painful things. Mel Brooks definitely has this sense of humor, but really, most of those clever jokes are outshined by a fart or schlong joke that lasts about 30 seconds too long.
Bad theme #2 of Mel Brooks movies: Bodily functions. I’m sure Mel Brooks invented the fart joke*, but I don’t find men sitting around a campfire enjoying beans with a side of flatulence particularly comical. Nor do I find it funny when a Darth Vader knockoff can inflict pain on man genitals from a distance. But, men do. My husband does. He just sits and chuckles away; I fall asleep.
Bad theme #3 of Mel Brooks movies: Bad Accents. Madeline Kahn has the best German accent I have ever heard…or NOT. I think that all the accents — whether it be German, Yiddish, Transylvanian, British, YeeHaw or a weird Yoda knockoff — are probably part of the man humor that Mel Brooks excels in. Still, I fall asleep.
Bad theme #4 of Mel Brooks movies: “Walk this way.” Over-done. So, so over-done that after watching Igor play the “walk this way” gag, I actually threw my hand in the air and said, “Really? REALLY?” I was pretty sure I’ve seen it in about a dozen other movies starring Muppets and/or other man-children. If you and a Swedish chef puppet are using the same material, you might want to rethink your script. It’s not just that joke, though. He has several anecdotes — some word for word throughout his films — that seem like they are on repeat. I fall asleep.
5 Other Bad Ideas that I found:
1) John Candy – Bobsleds + Mel Brooks = Barf
2) Nobody is attractive. Maybe this is a 70s/80s era side effect.
3) An alien pops out of a man at the end and does a jig.
4) Somebody is bound to get kicked in the nuts or punched in the face by a blind man.
5) Constant motorboating — figuratively, literally and mentally.
To save myself from having to go into Witness Protection, here are 5 things I did like:
1) The hump that kept moving around Igor’s back. Clever.
2) Breaking the “other” 5 commandments. Clever.
3) The “Men in Tights” dance number. Stupid funny.
4) Naming the movie Part 1, knowing there would never be a Part 2. Clever.
5) The cover design of “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” What can I say, I’m a designer first.
Conclusion:I think Mel Brooks is the funniest when he’s being clever. He was a pioneer in over-the-top comedic movies, theater and, unfortunately, fart jokes. Too bad I keep falling asleep to early to get to those parts.
Sorry, @MelBrooks.
* Fun Fact: in my half-assed, piss-poor job of Mel Brooks research, I learned that “Blazing Saddles” was thefirst movie that “a fart recording had been used in cinema. So, yeah…that’s the kind of contribution he made to film.

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  • reply Benjamin Wallace ,

    I think when you said Mel Brooks is wrong you really meant to say Mel Brooks, one of only 11 people to win an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony (not to mention Hugo and Nebula) award, is wrong.

    • reply Dave Coward ,

      Agreed: Brooks’ funnier bits are the clever ones and not the cheap humor. (Point of order, though. Many of the gags that are so common in cheap comedy weren’t common when he used them.)

      Many of his earlier movies were written by Brooks and others. Blazing Saddles, for example, was also written by Richard Pryor and a couple of other guys. Young Frankenstein was co-written by Gene Wilder. I’m convinced they the other guys wrote the clever bits while Brooks went for the fart jokes. (Sadly, my theory doesn’t hold up with “The Producers,” one of the funniest, most clever movies ever made. It was written by Brooks alone.)

      So I guess while so much of his humor is base and over-the-top, it’s worth it for the little nuggets you find along the way. “Oh, that’s going to chafe my willy” is the funniest line in “Men in Tights” and deserves respect.

      • reply Danielle Young ,

        Well, I think I have to stand up and say that it is not only men who find Mel Brooks funny. I love some of his movies, no not all, but some. One of my favorite movies is Spaceballs and Men in Tights. I watched those movies so many times when I was in high school that I knew the words by heart. Yes that dates me, but so what.

        No Mel Brooks does not use clever humor often but sometimes you just need something that is so stupid it’s funny. It’s like he was the original writer of movie parodies.

        • reply George Hilbert ,

          Ahhh…all that and not a word about Teri Garr? Slim Pickins? See what you get when you open up the forum to women writers? What kind of a name is Crystal Roznik anyway?

          (Disclaimer: The above comment is totally tongue-in-cheek…)

          • reply Scarydad ,

            You call that a blog post?

            No, we call it Mr. Coffee.

            • reply Anonymous ,

              The one thing you fail to realize is that his humor is for men. ;)

              • reply Michelle Gillies ,

                I feel the same way about Woody Allen. I fall asleep.

                • reply Anonymous ,

                  No one I know thinks Mel Brooks is funny. It’s like an 8 year old, shouting out anything to see if he gets a laugh.

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