Though his satirical Western “Blazing Saddles” debuted in theaters nearly 43 years ago, filmmaker, composer and comedian Mel Brooks still gets a kick out of watching the audience’s reactions as he stands quietly in the wings or in the back of sold-out venues while his beloved film is screened.
“I still get goosebumps,” the now 90-year-old said during a recent phone interview. He’s been taking his film across the country in an all-new show dubbed “Mel Brooks: Back in The Saddle Again!” Following a screening of “Blazing Saddles,” Brooks comes out for a Q&A session and to talk about the iconic and controversial feature that almost wasn’t, which starred the late Gene Wilder as Jim the Waco Kid.
“I tell stories like how Gig Young was originally supposed to be the Waco Kid, but I had asked someone else first,” Brooks said. “I literally asked John Wayne. I meet him at the commissary and he had seen ‘The Producers’ and loved it and he said ‘Well, let me read the script.’ He read it and he said ‘This is the damned funniest script I’ve read in my entire life, but it’s much, much too dirty! My fans would kill me, but I’ll tell you this, I’ll be the first person in line to see it.’ I am glad, however, that I got Gene Wilder.”
Brooks will be sharing many more stories as he brings the film and show to Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Jan. 20. His performance is part of the 5th annual Riot LA Comedy Festival, which runs Jan. 19-22 and will feature sets by comedians such as Bob Saget, Ali Wong, Felipe Esparza, Maria Bamford, Nikki Glaser, Adam Devine, Rachel Bloom, Whitney Cummings, Todd Barry and more in various venues such as The Orpheum, The Novo, the Theatre at Ace Hotel and others scattered throughout downtown L.A.
Brooks did a sold-out show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa last March, before the passing of Wilder, who had starred in other Brooks films including “The Producers” in 1968…