So the phone rings, and I answer it, and it's Mel Brooks.
That's an actual thing that happened. That's now something I can say. And even better, the 40 minute conversation that followed me answering the phone is one of my favorites in recent memory. How often do you get to talk to a comedy legend about one of the pinnacle moments of not only their career, but of film comedy in general?
I was told I'd have about 15 minutes originally. Time was tight. And if you get offered 15 minutes to talk to Mel Brooks about "Blazing Saddles," you take it, right? We ended up having a really fun back and forth about that film, about films he's produced, about his partnership with Gene Wilder, and about the ways Hollywood failed the great Richard Pryor. The only reason we wrapped it up is because we had to, and it would have been easy to talk to him for twice as long.
What I enjoyed most is that from the moment I picked up the phone, I felt like he was willing to play. I managed to get out, "Hello, Mr. Brooks. How are you this afternoon?" before he was off and running.
"Okay, Drew, you're on."
"You're on. You are on. Describe your network. Describe it."
"My online home is HitFix. It is a website where we cover film, television, music… it's a broad entertainment site."
"It's a website? Is it popular?"