It began as a time-filler during a lull in the writer’s room; became a favorite party gag; then was captured on a 1961 album — “the comedian’s Bible,” says Billy Crystal. Carl Reiner, as the straight-man interviewer, would paint Mel Brooks, his millennia-old guest, into a corner, and Brooks would invent ingenious ways out. (Explaining his longevity: “I never run to catch a bus.”) The routine shifted comedy from a series of jokes toward more complex, character-based scenarios. Crystal and Carl Reiner’s son, Rob Reiner, explain why "2000-Year-Old Man" will live forever.
This story was produced by BMP audio.
Studio 360’s series Inside the National Recording Registry was just honored with a 2012 Peabody Award.
(Originally aired: December 18, 2009)