It began as a time-filler during a lull in the writer’s room; became a favorite party gag; then was captured on a 1961 album — “the comedian’s Bible,” says Billy Crystal. Carl Reiner, as the straight-man interviewer, would paint Mel Brooks, his millennia-old guest, into a corner, and Brooks would invent ingenious ways out. (Explaining his longevity: “I never run to catch a bus.”)
The routine shifted comedy from a series of jokes toward more complex, character-based scenarios. Crystal, along with Carl Reiner’s son, Rob Reiner, explains why the "2000-Year-Old Man" will live forever.
(This story was produced by BMP Audio and originally aired December 18, 2009.)
BONUS: You can hear Kurt’s 2013 interview with Mel Brooks here.