Mel Brooks AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Special airs on TCM Wednesday, July 24, at 8pm ET. A block of Mel Brooks’ movies follows the award presentation.
Mel Brooks receiving the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award on TCM tonight is long overdue for a man who has been making people laugh for more than 60 years.
Beginning tonight at 8pm ET with AFI Lifetime Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks, TCM is devoting its entire programming block to the Brooklyn man who was born in 1926 as Melvin Kaminsky.
The son of Russian immigrants went on to make gut-busting comedies like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, History of the World: Part I, High Anxiety, Silent Movie, The 2000 Year Old Man, Young Frankenstein and the classic TV show Get Smart.
His biting sense of humor forced us laugh at everything from singing Nazis (The Producers) to racism (Blazing Saddles), and his campfire scene in Blazing Saddles with the bean-eating, gas-passing cowboys could go down as one of the funniest ever.
What shouldn’t get lost in his eccentric wit is his outright brilliance and diversity. He is one of one 11 people in the illustrious EGOT group, with four Emmys, three Grammys, two Oscars and three Tonys.
Brooks perfectly captured his comedic philosophy with this quote: “Look, I don’t want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you’re alive you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you’ve got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you’re not alive.”
In tonight’s taped ceremony, Martin Scorsese presents Brooks with his AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. Also singing his praises are Robert De Niro, Martin Short, Billy Crystal, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner and many more.
“Who do I have to f–k to get into a Mel Brooks movie?” De Niro reportedly joked in tonight’s roast-like celebration. “Remember, I got the AFI Life Achievement Award back in 2003 when the award still meant something.”
Here is the full schedule tonight on TCM (all times Eastern):
8pm: AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks
9:30pm: The Twelve Cheers
11:15pm: Carson on TCM: Mel Brooks, original interview date 9/21/1983
11:30pm: Excavating the 2000 Year Old Man
12:30am: AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks
2am ET: Young Frankenstein
4am ET: The Producers
5:30pm ET: The Dick Cavett Show featuring Mel Brooks