“Mel wasn’t interested in a little laugh. He literally wanted you to fall on the ground, collapse and can’t breathe.” This is one of many things we’re told about the comic and occasionally unsettling genius that is Mel Brooks, the filmmaker behind screwball canon texts like Spaceballs, The Producers, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, in the first trailer for the PBS Masters documentary about his life and work, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise. Brooks’ distinctive, occasionally line-crossing humor isn’t for everybody, but generations have been raised on his work and his peers will vouch for him—the documentary includes interviews form longtime pal Carl Reiner, The Producers inheritors Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, Cloris Leachman, Tracey Ullman, Richard Lewis and more.
Even though Brooks hasn’t directed a feature film in nearly two decades, he’s kept himself busy and introducing his most beloved works to new generations through the (flawed, but what are you gonna do) 2005 Producers remake, a stage adaptation of Young Frankenstein, a television special and in 2009, he even was given a Kennedy Center honor, for which the likes of Matthew Morrison and Martin Short performed his best-known numbers.
The one major bummer of all of this is that science hasn’t figured out how to bring Madeline Kahn and Brooks’ Blazing Saddles co-writer Richard Pryor (just a reminder that that collaboration happened) back from the dead yet, because those interviews would have been some fantastic television. Mel Brooks: Make A Noise premieres on May 20th, but in the meantime, you can watch the trailer, via USA Today’s PopCandy blog, below, or maybe now would be a good time to pop Young Frankenstein back in and let the horse whinny at Frau Blücher’s name send you buzzing back into a nostalgia-comedy stupor.