Mel Brooks, Still The Enemy of Political Correctness
This Daily Beast interview with the 91 year old Mel Brooks reminds us what in your face, anything for a laugh, politically incorrect comedy is all about.
"The Producers" is heading back to the big screen for its fiftieth anniversary. The winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay was Brooks' first film and his only classic to be written completely by himself.
It also was one of the first ways Mel taught us that humor, and even offensive humor is a great way to combat evil. In "The Producers" case, anti-Semitism and Nazism in general. He would later take on racism along with co-writer Richard Pryor.
"Blazing Saddles", with its jaw dropping use of the n-word, would have been buried by the executives even back in the seventies. Instead, it proved that we could laugh and and discuss sensitive issues. In Mel's own words, it couldn't be made today.
Although he eschews politics and political humor, he does make this brave statement that would get him mobbed on Twitter as an out of touch privileged white man.
I’ve never been a fan of political correctness. I’ve been a fan of decent behavior, which is different from political correctness. Because political correctness demands too much respect for being good. And comics are not good. We are bad. We whisper into the king’s ear. We tell him the truth. And that’s our job. It’s our job to say it like it is. And sometimes use the words that we use in the street. You can’t always play ball with the system, you have to strike out and tell the truth.
We can only hope for Mel's legacy to be carried on.