Cliff hipped me to a terrific interview with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner at the Onion’s AV Club:
AVC: Carl, you’ve said in other interviews that you’re against analyzing comedy. Why is that?
CR: Well, people have a comic bent or an angularity to their thinking, and those are the people who make jokes. And it’s usually people who were in an environment, when they were young, where jokes were at a premium, or at least considered important to a life. My parents always listened to the comedy radio shows, we went to the comedy movies, and my parents appreciated comedy. So kids listen and follow what their parents like.
AVC: Do you think comedy is something you can teach somebody?
CR: No. There are people born with intelligence; you’re not born with a funny bone. If you’re just a normal thing, the palette is there; it just depends on who puts the paint on the palette, and what they put on the palette when you’re very young. And then when you’re a little older and go to the movies by yourself, then you start making choices, and it’s usually honed by choices you made very early in your life.
MB: Where are you?
AVC: I’m in Chicago.
MB: I was always treated with love and respect and joy in Chicago.