His father died of kidney disease at 34 when Brooks was only two years old. Brooks has said of his father's death that "there's an outrage there. I may be angry at God, or at the world, for that. And I'm sure a lot of my comedy is based on anger and hostility. Growing up in Williamsburg, I learned to clothe it in comedy to spare myself problems - like a punch in the face. "
Josephine Baker: After a short while she was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her "… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw."
The quality definitely wasn't there later on. After Blazing Saddles and The Producers there was nowhere to go but down. I actually like him better as a raconteur talking about the old days in New York and the Borscht Belt, he's often hilarious in that setting.