Mel Brooks was forced to join Twitter Monday afternoon as part of Twitter's week long Comedy Fest—excuse us, #ComedyFest, produced in all too obvious commercial conjunction with Comedy Central—but we're not expecting him to become a regular tweeter. Because Twitter, as Brooks demonstrated, is not for all comedians.
For his first tweet, Brooks included a link to the live stream of a festival kick-off conversation between him and his good friend and comedy partner Carl Reiner (already a prolific tweeter), moderated by Judd Apatow:
So what does being on Twitter mean to Mel Brooks? "It is very close to thrilling," he told Apatow. But when Apatow asked him again about tweeting, Brooks said: "Explain what a tweet is." Then, after he was told about the 140 character limit, Brooks tried to tell a joke, which he estimated would amount to multiple tweets: "Tweeting is hard. You've got to squeeze the joke."
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Of course, that goes against the whole idea of the #ComedyFest, which seeks to capitalize on the success that comedians have had on the medium. But Brooks's style of joke telling, which often comes not in just one-liners but full stories, doesn't really work. And therein lies the problem of Twitter's comedic embrace: The week ahead will mostly feature live tweeting from comedians who are either shilling something, are good at Twitter already, or both — participants include Amy Schumer, who is promoting her new Comedy Central show; Comedy Central's Key and Peele; and the folks of Reno 911!
So nobody's really sure how everything else will turn out. And, naturally, Reiner and Brooks also did have something to promote too. Everyone at the panel got a copy of Reiner's book, and Brooks has an American Masters documentary on its way. (Brooks also put on a baseball cap to promote the movie of his son's book, World War Z.) But Reiner and Brooks are legends and were charming. They told stories like how the first met on Your Show of Shows, how they started the 2000 Year Old Man, how Reiner found Mary Tyler Moore for The Dick Van Dyke Show, and how Brooks consulted with Richard Pryor about the controversial aspects for Blazing Saddles. After the audience applauded at mention of Pryor's name, Reiner said when he dies he'll be able to tell Pryor: "They're still applauding you."
After all the reminiscing, they were also prepared to go home and watch Breaking Bad, which they do every night. We're not expecting Brooks to live tweet it.