What’s Worth Watching: Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen Is Comedy Supreme

Mel Brooks Live At The Geffen
Mel Brooks Live At The Geffen

Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen (Saturday, January 31, 9/8c, HBO)

Laugh legend Mel Brooks is 100 percent pure class. How can you tell? He wears a tux in his latest HBO comedy special. When was the last time you saw a standup comedian in formal attire? That said, one of the first stories the EGOT (aka Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) winner tells in this autobiographical act is about urinating out the window of his family’s fifth floor Brooklyn walkup onto his mother and her friends because one of his older brothers was hogging the bathroom. It’s hilarious.

Later, he describes crooning Al Jolson’s “Toot, Toot, Tootsie” to Germans on the front during World War II; dodging cigars thrown by a producer on Your Show of Shows, his big break as a comedy writer; and meeting his beautiful wife, Anne Bancroft. For a large section of the show, the Borscht Belt-trained funnyman sings (with piano accompaniment). And though Live at the Geffen is technically a one-man work, there’s a surprise cameo from a famous audience member who played a large part in Brooks’ career. It’s good to watch the king!