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Entertainment & Arts

Mel Brooks’ son doesn’t want coronavirus to kill his dad — or any other comedy icons

Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks and his son, who are nearly 46 years apart in age, are putting social distancing in perspective.
(HBO)

Hey, what’s a pandemic without a little dark, dark humor, right?

This time it’s brought to you by Max Brooks and his 93-year-old father, comedy legend Mel Brooks, who debuted their #DontBeASpreader education effort on social media Monday.

“I’m 47 years old,” Max Brooks says in a Twitter video that shows him standing outside a house, in front of a large window. “This is my father, Mel Brooks.”

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At that moment, the elderly writer-director-actor-producer (“Young Frankenstein,” “Blazing Saddles”) walks up and knocks on the window pane from inside the house.

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“Hi, Dad!,” Max Brooks says. “He’s 93. If I get the coronavirus, I’ll probably be OK. But if I give it to him, he could give it to Carl Reiner, who could give it to Dick Van Dyke. And before I know it, I’ve wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends. When it comes to the coronavirus, I have to think about who I can infect, and so should you.”

The younger Brooks, an actor and author, goes on to list best practices including social distancing, hand washing and more.

And why should we listen to a thing Max Brooks says? Well, he wrote the 2006 novel that led to “World War Z,” the 2013 Brad Pitt movie about a zombie apocalypse.

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"[A]s a writer who roots my books in factual research, I know what history can teach us about community spread,” he wrote last week in the New York Times in an essay about social distancing.

“In 1918, in Philadelphia, health officials ignored calls for social distancing and allowed a World War I victory parade to proceed,” Brooks continued in the essay, referring to the influenza pandemic that year. “Within three days, all the hospital beds in the city were filled. Within a week, roughly 45,000 people were infected. Within six weeks, 12,000 were dead. The prospect of a repeat of that kind of mass manslaughter is frightening.”

Going back to the video, Max Brooks continues by saying, “Do your part. Don’t be a spreader. Right, Dad?” At that point, Mel Brooks tells his son — through the window, of course — to go home. Now.

Soon after Max posted the video, Mel retweeted it with the #DontBeASpreader hashtag.


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