The Arty Semite

Mel Brooks, Out of His Element

By Curt Schleier

Spend an hour with Alan Yentob and you quickly realize just how good Dick Cavett is.

Courtesy of HBO

Yentob hosts “Mel Brooks Strikes Back!” a conversation with the comic genius that premieres on HBO December 10 at 9 p.m. It comes a little more than a year after Cavett performed similar duties in another HBO special, “Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again.”

Cavett brought out the best in Brooks, offering straight-man questions that launched one hilarious anecdote after another. I wouldn’t say that Yentob pales in comparison to Cavett. I’d say he’s an albino.

The irony is that Cavett, by Brooks’ description, is “spectacularly gentile.” Yentob comes from an Iraqi Jewish family in the shmata business. Unfortunately, that business is in Britain, where Yentob serves as creative director of the BBC.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Television, Mel Brooks Strikes Back!, Curt Schleier, Mel Brooks, Alan Yentob




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.