I mentioned my love of comedy LPs yesterday and naturally one of the most important ones on my parents shelf was ‘The 2000 Year Old Man’. The genius (I think) of the routine is that if you attempt to explain the mysterious evolution of life it turns out to be utterly banal and everyday. Reiner’s questions point up how unnecessary the quest of knowledge of the past really is and Brook’s answers confirm this–the invention of the word ‘cheese’ and how we applaud are covered in this four minute clip which was from a Colgate Comedy Hour broadcast in 1967.

The routine had its origins in the 1950s when both men were working on Sid Caeser’s variety show ‘Your Show Of Shows’. Reiner recalled that when they pitched the idea “I said this is good for a sketch. No one else thought so, but I turned to Mel and I said, “Here’s a man who was actually seen at the crucifixion 2,000 years ago,” and his first words were, “Oh, boy.” We all fell over laughing. I said, “You knew Jesus?” “Yeah,” he said, “Thin lad, wore sandals, long hair, walked around with 11 other guys. Always came into the store, never bought anything. Always asked for water.” Those were the first words, and then for the next hour or two I kept asking him questions, and he never stopped killing us.”

Brooks later recalled the making and release of the first album: “When we made the album, the album came out, we weren’t sure yet whether everybody was going to like it. And it was Cary Grant, who was my neighbor at Universal Studios, he came over and I gave him a record and I said you may like this. And he came back a week later, said, Can I have two dozen? I said, What are you going to do with them? He said, I’m going to take them to England. I said, You’ll take these to England? He said, Yeah, they speak English there. Anyway, he came back and said, She loved it. I said who? The Queen Mother. The Queen Mother. I said? He said yes. And then I said, Well, if the biggest shiksa in the world loves it, we’re home free.”


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