cover image All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business

All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business

Mel Brooks. Ballantine, $29.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-593-15911-8

In this laugh-a-minute memoir, actor and producer Brooks (Young Frankenstein) looks back at his rise through Hollywood, gleefully doling out punch lines along the way. He begins with his childhood in Brooklyn, where he lived with his older brothers and mother (“my first comic foil, and enabler”) and at school slipped into comedy like a well-worn glove: “I [was]... allowed to hang around with the bigger kids because I made them laugh... you don’t hit the kid that makes you laugh.” Brooks recounts his early days as a writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows in the 1950s; appearing in 1962 on the very first Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he shared the stage with Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Rudy Vallee, and Tony Bennett; learning how to bend the truth, after he told producer Joe Levine that he cut a scene from the end of his Oscar-winning film The Producers (“On every movie... since then; I’ve often lied when the studio objected to something by saying, “It’s out!”); and taking a giant leap forward as a director by writing “the greatest farting scene in cinematic history,” in 1974’s Blazing Saddles. Studded with snickering asides and rapid-fire jokes, Brooks’s account of making it in show biz is just as sidesplitting as his movies. (Nov.)