The last time Mel Brooks appeared at Radio City Music Hall was June 3, 2001, the night his show “The Producers” made Broadway history by winning a record 12 Tony Awards.
“I was pretty sure ‘Hamilton’ was going to dethrone me,” says Brooks, still going strong at 90. “But they got 11, so we still get the crown.”
He returns to Radio City to celebrate another of his triumphs Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Brooks will be on hand for a screening of his groundbreaking, sidesplitting 1974 Western spoof “Blazing Saddles” followed by a Q&A. (Go to radiocity.com for more details.)
Brooks recently chatted by phone from Los Angeles with Newsday’s Daniel Bubbeo about making the irreverent comedy.
Nothing about “Blazing Saddles” was politically correct. Were you worried that the studio wouldn’t let you get away with it?
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One of the suits saw a preview of it and threw me into the manager’s office and then threw me a legal pad and a pencil and said, “Write ‘no farting . . . no punching an old lady, no punching a horse.’ ” He gave me about 26 notes, and if I did everything he told me, I would have had a 13-minute movie. Most of our movie was in such bad taste. [Producer John] Calley was with me, and when I [later] crumpled up those notes and threw them in the garbage, Calley said, “Good filing.” He said, “Mel, the minute it makes its first million, they’ll go nuts for it.” And I had final cut, so legally, they couldn’t cut the movie.
Read more at News Day.