Legendary director/comedian Mel Brooks, who made the comedy classics The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, appeared in a video on Twitter Monday with his son, Max Brooks, to use humor to caution people about keeping the elderly safe during the pandemic.
Max, who is the author of the best-selling novel World War Z, which was the basis for the Brad Pitt film, posted a father-and-son video on Twitter.
Standing outdoors on a patio next to a glass door, Max, who looks a lot like his mother, the late actress Anne Bancroft (The Graduate), says, “Hi. I’m Max Brooks. I’m 47 years old.”
His famous father appears behind the closed glass door. “This is my dad, Mel Brooks,” he says as Mel knocks on the glass.
“Hi, Dad,” says Max. “He’s 93. If I get the coronavirus, I’ll probably be OK. But if I give it to him, he could give it to Carl Reiner, who could give it to Dick Van Dyke, and before I know it, I’ve wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends.” Pictures of Reiner and Van Dyke appear on screen with a symbol for the virus superimposed over their faces and over Mel’s.
"When it comes to coronavirus, I have to think about who I can infect, and so should you,” Max says. On the side of the clip, instructions appear as Max says, “So practice social distancing, avoid crowds, wash your hands, keep six feet away from people, and if you’ve got the option, just stay home. Do your part. Don’t be a spreader.” The hashtag #DontBeASpreader appears on screen and Mel nods.
“Right, Dad?” Max asks as Mel knocks on the glass in between them and mouths, “Go home!”
“I’m going, I’m going. Love you!” Max says and leaves. Mel remains in the frame and waves.
Max Brooks’s book World War Z was recently in the headlines because people noticed eerie parallels between how Israel handles the zombie invasion in the movie version and how it is dealing with the novel coronavirus today. This plot twist came directly from Max’s novel, which has dozens of chapters set all over the world.
The Israeli authorities in the novel cope by maintaining a strict separation between the infected and those who are healthy, welcoming both Israelis and Palestinians into a virus-free zone.
Reiner, 97, also a celebrated comedy writer/director/actor and the father of director Rob Reiner, worked with Van Dyke, 94, on the classic television series The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s.
Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks had a comedy act they used to perform together on stage and on television called “The 2000 Year Old Man,” in which Reiner would portray an interviewer and Brooks would play the oldest man in history. Let’s hope that with the precautions Mel and Max are taking, the 2000 Year Old Man will live until age 2020.