'If he doesn't come over, I don't know what to do with myself: why Carl Reiner loved Mel Brooks

'If he doesn't come over, I don't know what to do with myself: why Carl Reiner loved Mel Brooks

For the past decade, comedian and director Mel Brooks would drive from his home in Santa Monica to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to have dinner and watch television with Carl Reiner, who died on Monday at the age of 98. The pair had been best friends for seven decades. “I got friendship, love and free food,” Brooks joked. Even social distancing requirements could not dampen their desire to talk every day, and the long-time pals found ways to keep up their routine during the coronavirus pandemic. “We watch Jeopardy! together,” Reiner told CBS News in April. “Yeah, we turn on Jeopardy! at the same time, and we turn on Wheel of Fortune at the same time, and we try to guess the answers and, you know, we have fun on the telephone.” Reiner’s death from natural causes at his California home must have been wretched news for Brooks, who said he never had a better friend than the man born Carlton Reiner in The Bronx on March 20 1922. Reiner, whose parents encouraged a love of comedy and urged him to watch Marx Brothers movies as a child, said comedy was his second choice for a career, because he wanted to emulate his hero Enrico Caruso and become an operatic tenor. “All I lacked was pitch and timing,” he joked, adding “but comedy was great because there is nothing better than getting a laugh; it makes everyone happy.” He eventually earned acclaim as one of the founding fathers of television comedy, earning his ...
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