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Bernadette Peters on Mel Brooks: “…he’ll get away with things because they were truly funny.”

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Bernadette Peters on meeting Mel Brooks and the impact of his humor: “As far as he would go with jokes, like in Blazing Saddles…he’ll get away with things because they were truly funny.” Peters was interviewed on September 4, 2012 for American Masters – Mel Brooks: Make A Noise (2013).

- I think I first became familiar with Mel Brooks work when he used to go on television as the 2000 year old man.

I mean, it was like, wow, pure entertainment.

He echoed Reiner and the 2000 year old man, when you know that, but he started going off on a tangent and make things up and how wonderful it was.

I mean, that's when I first became aware of him and we felt like my whole family fell in love with him, my mother and my sister.

And, we all will like, I'm not going to Mel Brooks.

I mean, and then I remember my sister coming home telling me about, she said blazing saddles.

And it just telling me about this, how funny it was.

I posted the producer too, which was just probably show me about that one first (chuckles) He, I think he has good taste, that's the thing about he would do, as far as he would go with jokes, like in blazing saddles, they were, he'll get away with things because they were truly funny.

- [Interviewer] Tell us about your first meeting with Mel.

- Oh, I remember it now.

Oh my God.

I met him in his office and we talked about the film, but the thing that I remember mostly about him was how you get ready to prepare to do with film.

He said, I don't care if you have to sit and eat grapefruit for two weeks before you come and do the film (laughing) to get, I guess, look good for the film, - [Interviewer] But you are so tiny.

I can't believe that he said that to you.

- I think all directors want to make sure that everybody's in tiptop shape.

And I think it was part of it.

- [Interviewer] I mean, what was your first impression of him?

- But I remember Mel because, at that time in my life, I was going with Steve Martin.

And so we used to go over to call Reiners' house and then Mel Brooks would be there with Anne Bancroft and it'd be pretty funny.

And, he'd be talking about work and, let's say it's work.

And even though it's words and, Creativity in things that are little, that you can't put your finger on because we create out of air and things happen.

He's still calling at work.

It's like a shoemaker.

He can take the shoe, He can take the chill, He can take the hammer and he take the leather and you go, bam, bam, bam, bam.

And you put it over here.

Then you take the next one and you take the shoe.

He's like bang, bang.

And he was a funny guy.