Theater review: Gags, puns, shtick — Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’ has them all

Gazette theater reviewer Paul Lamar imagines speaking with Mel Brook's about his musical...

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For Gazette theater writer Bill Buell’s preview of this show, click here.

As a work of art, “The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein” is —

“Oh, Lamar, you old gasbag.”


’The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein’

WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady

WHEN: through Oct. 24

HOW MUCH: $70-$20

MORE INFO: 346-6204 or

“That’s right. Art, shmart, fa—“

“Careful, Mel. This is a family newspaper.”

“Did you like it or not? I heard the audience clapped when the title appeared on the curtain.”

“True, Mel. They cheered.”

“I gave them their shekel’s worth. The piece is loaded with puns, sexual innuendo, running gags, vaudeville shtick, sexual innuendo, T & A, seventh-grade jokes, a kickline, foreplay, Jolson, one-liners, Durante, wit . . .”


“Well, maybe only half wit.”

“There you go again, Mel.”

“Lighten up.”

“The kitchen sink, Mel. You threw in the kitchen sink.”

“Why not? I’m a creator, not an editor. If you don’t like something, forget about it. Ideas gush out of me. I’m the Old Faithful of the Obvious, the Mount St. Helens of the Manic.”

“Mel, there are too many songs. They slow things down. Take “Surprise” in Act 2.”

“All gold. I wrote the words and music myself, you know.”

“Kind of simple tunes, Mel. Useful, certainly. But the words are funny. A funny story. A funny movie!”

“With good reason. That was a nutty cast in that movie.”

“Oh, but this one is great, too, Mel. A stable of wacky actors, singers, and dancers. I was exhausted watching them. They bring out the best in your material.”

“The other way around, schmo. I give them a lot to work with, lemme tell you.”

“I liked the set. All bells and whistles, which is why it won the Tony. And the orchestra’s terrific.”

“So what’s the book? Chopped liver?”

“Ham, Mel, pure ham. On wry. I’m a sucker for low-brow comedy, and you serve up a heapin’ helpin’.”

“Hey, I mention Noel Coward. Give me credit.”

“You’ve had good teachers, Mel.”

“Did I mention Professor Irwin Corey?”

“I love spoofs. You’re good at spoofing. And the show is a veritable homage to all sorts of theatrical conventions.”

“If you mention meta-theatricality, I’ll plotz.”

“What do you want me to say?”

“That you laughed your tuchis off!”

“Let’s just say I never stopped smiling or being stupefied. You’re like that guy with the big powder puff who whacks you in the face when someone calls “makeup’!”

“Listen, Lamar. My philosophy is, you’re gonna be dead a long time, so you’d better have it all now.”

“Less is more sometimes, Mel.”

“Not in my world, you cockamamie critic. Less is bupkes. You can be your own editor. I’m too busy having fun!”

And then he disappeared into the flies!

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

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