Mel Brooks made it clear that he was not paid to appear at the premiere of the new HBO documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.”
“They never pay, they never pay,” he joked. “How funny I was tonight and I don’t get a penny.”
Brooks stole the show from fellow Hollywood legends Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke and Norman Lear, with whom he shared the stage after the screening Wednesday. The four longtime friends star in the film, which explores what makes for a vibrant, active life after age 90. Non-famous nonagenarians and centenarians are also featured, including a 101-year-old competitive runner, a 100-year-old pianist and a 98-year-old yoga teacher.
Producer George Shapiro (“Seinfeld”) said the cast is “truly sending a love letter to the human race.”
Reiner, 95, serves as host of the film, interviewing his friends Brooks and Lear, along with 95-year-old Betty White and 100-year-old Kirk Douglas.
All the active elders say the key is keeping yourself healthy and staying engaged with life by doing what you love. The film and its subjects are vivacious and inspiring.
Van Dyke is still singing and dancing – onscreen in the new “Mary Poppins,” in theaters next year, and off-screen with his wife, who’s more than four decades his junior. His advice is to “keep moving,” which is also the title of his book on aging published in 2015. Lear is working on a reboot of his 1975 series “One Day at a Time.” Reiner said writing every day gives his life purpose, adding that he just finished a book called “Too Busy to Die.”
“I just say eat bran,” Brooks quipped.
Tom Bergeron moderated the post-screening discussion with the stars. Once they got going, Brooks declared, “Tom, you’re superfluous, really. Everybody here is a self-starter.”
The conversation was actually one of mutual admiration. Reiner called Brooks “the funniest human being in the world” and Van Dyke “the single most talented man that ever lived.” Van Dyke described his stage-mates as “creative giants” and said Reiner has been his mentor and idol since they met.
When Bergeron asked if any of the men had ever considered retirement, Brooks said, “I thought of retiring Carl, but he won’t.”
They also talked about Donald Trump, the “2000 Year Old Man” and who had the nicest shoes (Brooks).
“Well, I have the most money here, except for Norman,” Brooks said. “Norman, you should dress better.”
“If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” is set to debut June 5.