The 16 Most Memorable Mel Brooks Quotes

(Last Updated On: January 16, 2019)
Mel Brooks Quotes

Mel Brooks was born on June 28th, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York. A prolific filmmaker, actor, and comedian, Brooks would come to be best-known for his film parodies a comedic satire.

Brooks grew up a small and sickly child, and was teased often, but even at an early age he showed a penchant for comedy. During World War II, he served in the United States Army, defusing landmines as the allies advanced into Germany. Near the end of the war, he took part in organizing shows for American soldiers.

Brooks began his professional career as a comic and writer for the TV variety show, Your Show of Shows. Later, he would team up with Buck Henry to create the hit TV series Get Smart.

After finding success in television, Mel Brooks eventually moved on to film, becoming one of the most celebrated directors of the 1970s. Among his most successful films were Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Brooks has been given many awards and honors throughout the course of his long and successful career. After winning a Tony Award for his musical, The Producers, in 2001, he joined the rare list of EGOT winners, having previously won an Emmy, a Grammy and an Oscar. Brooks has also been awarded a Kennedy Center Honor, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an AFI Life Achievement Award.

Throughout his incredible life, Mel Brooks has given us many bits of wit, wisdom, and comedy. Here are a few of our favorite Mel Brooks quotes.

16 Memorable Mel Brooks Quotes

On Living Life:

“If you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.”

“You got to be brave. If you feel something, you’ve really got to risk it.”

“As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.”

“Everything we do in life is based on fear, especially love.”

“He who hesitates is poor.”

“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.”

On Comedy:

“Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.”

“Bad taste is simply saying the truth before it should be said.”

“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.”

“Humor is just another defense against the universe.”

On Himself:

“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.”

“I have always been a huge admirer of my own work. I’m one of the funniest and most entertaining writers I know.”

“My job is to go out and entertain the most people possible.”

“I’m rather secular. I’m basically Jewish. But I think I’m Jewish not because of the Jewish religion at all.”

On Growing Older:

“If Shaw and Einstein couldn’t beat death, what chance have I got?”

“I’m still a horse that can run. I may not be able to win the Derby, but what do you do when you retire? People retire and they vegetate. They go away and they dry up.”

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Mark Heald is the Managing Editor of He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.