When I was growing-up, in the ‘70s – in a culturally Jewish home, where being smart and funny were the two most coveted attributes one could possess (aside from Being Right, of course – which trumped all else) – Mel Brooks was revered like few others. This isn’t too surprising, considering that not only is Brooks one of only a dozen people in history to ever attain EGOT status (the grand-slam of American entertainment, EGOT is an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony); but (along with the late Mike Nichols) is one of only two people who’ve also been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award.
With the advent of cable and VCRs, Brooks’ oeuvre become one into which my brother and I would escape, frequently; to the point that we could (and would) lip-sync entire bits and recite scenes from such films as History of the World, Part 1 and Blazing Saddles, at will. As I got older, and became familiar with the source material, my appreciation for Brooks’ farcical pastiches grew. But, did I enjoy High Anxiety because I was a fan of Hitchcockian suspense; or did my love for High Anxiety lead me to seek out the films of Alfred Hitchcock, more avidly? It’s hard to say (though, if I had to guess, I’d say that both happened fairly simultaneously).
And not only was Brooks both smart and funny, but he was very successful, and (not for nothing) was married to the beautiful and talented Anne Bancroft for more than 40 years; which further cemented in my mind, just how far being smart and funny could take a fellow.
This spring, on April 27th and 28th, Mel Brooks – the man who once intoned that “Bad taste is simply saying the truth before it should be said,” – is coming to Las Vegas, for a limited two-night engagement, at Wynn Las Vegas; where he’ll once again be providing the audience in the Encore Theater with a behind-the-scenes look into his life and career. Furthermore, there’ll be bits of stand-up from the legendary actor-writer-director-producer; clips from his films will be shown and discussed; and long torrents of laughter are certain to ensue. Actually, I daresay that continued laughter will cause both evenings to run long – and I don’t hate that one bit.
And for any Mel Brooks super-fans, out there (those, for instance, who know that, while uncredited – because anyone seeing “Mel Brooks presents…” would expect a comedy – Brooks established Brooksfilms to produce such dramatic fare as The Elephant Man, Frances, and 84 Charing Cross Road, in addition to his comedies; or that, along with Buck Henry, he co-created Get Smart) there’s extra good news. There is a VIP Package available (in very limited quantity) that includes a seat in the front row, a meet-and-greet with Brooks with an individual photo op, and an autographed poster.
So, whether you’re a cinephile, a pop-culture junkie, or simply someone who loves to laugh until it hurts (and then a bit more), Wynn Las Vegas is where you want to be, for An Evening with Mel Brooks. Both of ‘em!
An Evening with Mel Brooks
Encore Theater | Wynn Las Vegas
Friday, April 27th | Saturday, April 28th
Click HERE for info and tickets
Get into it!
This article has been updated: A version of this article originally ran on June 15th, 2017.