Everyone hopes for a long, successful life and career. Many think they have no say in whether they take a happy or heart-breaking path. Iconic funnyman Mel Brooks, would disagree.
Brooks has had good and bad times over his six-decade career, but his stories and jokes have remained poignant and relevant the whole way. "The Producers" was continuously revived in various forms breaking Broadway box office records, and "Blazing Saddles," made in 1974, successfully characterizes today's social commentary as painfully as it did over 40 years ago. He gets your attention and makes a point all while making you laugh out loud. Three of his films made American Film Institute's list of the top 100 comedies. He is one of few artists to have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony award.
The masterpiece that is "Young Frankenstein" (my favorite Brooks movie) is a perfect example of how to timelessly blend story, humor, history and talent, in a way that will have lifetime impact. In interviews, Brooks has expressed a clear philosophy on life. He believes that while people can't control every circumstance, they still have the ability to write our own stories. Here are 21 slices of his wisdom to help you make your story an epic tale of adventure.
1. "If you're quiet, you're not living. You've got to be noisy and colorful and lively."
2. "Rhetoric does not get you anywhere, because Hitler and Mussolini are just as good at rhetoric. But if you can bring these people down with comedy, they stand no chance."
3. "You got to be brave. If you feel something, you've really got to risk it."
4. "Well, just being stupid and politically incorrect doesn't work. You can be politically incorrect if you're smart."
5. "Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you."
6. "Oh, I'm not a true genius. I'm a near genius. I would say I'm a short genius. I'd rather be tall and normal than a short genius."
7. "It's talent. Either you got it or you ain't."
8. "He who hesitates is poor."
9. "Anybody can direct, but there are only eleven good writers."
10. "My job is to go out and entertain the most people possible."
11. "Bad taste is simply saying the truth before it should be said."
12. "But I have bad taste with a deep fount of intellectuality."
13. "Everything we do in life is based on fear, especially love."
14. "Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death."
15. "Hope for the best, expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed."
16. "Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him."
17. "As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes."
18. "I don't believe in this business of being behind, better to be in front."
19. "Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you."
20. "I have always been a huge admirer of my own work. I'm one of the funniest and most entertaining writers I know."
21. "Feeling different, feeling alienated, feeling persecuted, feeling that the only way to deal with the world is to laugh - because if you don't laugh you're going to cry and never stop crying - that's probably what's responsible for the Jews having developed such a great sense of humor. The people who had the greatest reason to weep, learned more than anyone else how to laugh."