‘Love and Free Food’: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner Share the Secrets of Their 70-Year Friendship
The giants of American comedy tell Hadley Freeman about the hits they have had, the wives they miss – and why they still spend every evening together.
Every evening, Mel Brooks leaves his home in Santa Monica, gets in his car and stares down Los Angeles’ notorious rush-hour traffic to go to Carl Reiner’s house in Beverly Hills. There, the two comedy icons do what they like to do most these days: chat, eat dinner together and watch the long-running quiz show Jeopardy!
“This is a great place because I got friendship, love and free food. Free eats are very important, you know,” says Brooks, as we wait for Reiner in his den. His voice is a little raspier than it once was, but that signature puckishness is fully intact.
Brooks knows this home well because Reiner, 97, has lived in it for 60 years. Gene Kelly used to be his neighbour; Kirk Douglas, 103, until last month, lived close by. Brooks – a mere whippersnapper of 93 – remembers when Reiner moved in because their friendship predates the house: they have been best friends for 70 years.