Thursday, August 20, 2009


Mel Brooks, described at Wikipedia as film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He's best known these days as a creator of film farces and comic parodies, for example: Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, and The Producers .

Brooks' biographer James Robert Parish said of him, in interview:
"Both Brooks’ onstage persona and his filmmaking point of view are strongly tied to his background: As a youngster, growing up in the Jewish section of Brooklyn, diminutive Mel — whose father died when he was very young — had to be extra feisty to survive in the tough street corner society. If he lacked the physical strength to outdo his opponents, his quick mind, sense of the ridiculous, and a love of being the center of attention, provided him with the chutzpah to become the amusing neighborhood clown."
I'm sure that many well known comedians, over the years, were driven by very similar motives - but, of course, the potential for doing it well had to be in them to start with. Brooks himself once said: "Humor is just another defense against the universe."

Many comedians are supposed to be major bores when they’re not "on." Does Mel Brooks fit into that mold?
"Over the decades, few people (beyond Brooks’ family and very close friends) have ever witnessed Mel when he is not "on." He considers it his life-long duty to be entertaining both on camera and off. Whether bantering on a TV talk show, parrying with a dour waiter in a deli, or directing his cast/crew on the film set, Brooks uses humor to get his way, to gain attention, and to protect his private self. Even now, in his 80s, Brooks remains the dynamo — the inveterate clown."

Mel Brooks was born in Brooklyn, New York on 28 June 1926. No birth time available, so chart set for 12:00 noon.

His sensitive Cancer Sun lies in challenging square to a strong Mars in its home sign, Aries. This could act as a spur, rather than an unpleasant challenge - a spur to keep him moving along in the face of difficulty - stiffening and strengthening his over-sensitive or timid Cancerian traits.

James Robert Parish said, "For me, the most intriguing aspect to Mel Brooks is his amazing resilience over the many decades in the face of career setbacks".
Brooks' natal Moon is in Aquarius, somewhere between 6 degrees and 21 degrees (can't be precise without time of birth). Wherever its exact position, it endows him with a quick mind and one of those "left-field" inner cores - not "yer average Joe", not a guy easily put into a box and categorised.

I like the chain reaction of planets I see in his chart. Judd Apatow (see here) had one, which was less helpful. In Brooks' chart, start at Neptune @ 22 Leo > semi-sextile Mercury 29 Cancer> sextile Venus 29 Taurus (its own sign) > sextile Uranus 29 Pisces > semi-sextile Jupiter 26 Aquarius. Saturn at 19 Scorpio can be added, loosely. The chain also produces square and an opposition, chains will always do so; I look on this as just part of how the planetary dynamo works. In Mel Brooks' chain the order of planets is more helpful than the one in Apatow's chart. The planets involved relate as follows: Neptune-creativity. Mercury-communication, writing & mental process. Venus- the arts, music. Uranus-inventive, the unexpected. Jupiter- the feel-good planet and planet of exaggeration. Saturn-business, discipline. So it's clear how these, working in harmony with dynamic tension inbuilt, would be a great asset to someone writing and performing comedy.

There's a Grand Trine in Water signs linking Mercury, Uranus and Saturn. Here's a Uranus-Saturn link again (as in Eddie Murphy and Billy Connolly - see post for Tuesday). Here it's a harmonious trine, linked to communications planet Mercury. There could hardly be a better circuit for comedy. And it's in Water, so the fun will retain sensitivity, even when based in sharp satire and parody, it's unlikely to be cruel or mean-spirited.

A quote from Mel Brooks, which I particularly like, and which could also be related to astrology:
Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.
Here's Mel appearing on Dick Cavett's chat show - must be sometime in the 1970's I think.
He does impressions of "Susan" Bogart (Humphrey's sister) and "Hilda" Cagney (Jim's mom), and a brilliant impression of Sinatra singing "America the Beautiful".


anthonynorth said...

"Humor is just another defense against the universe."

That's a great line, and so true. I've often thought that the reality behind most comedians is not funny at all. But you've got to laugh :-)

Twilight said...

Anthonynorth ~~~ Yes. So many comedians led difficult lives away from the spotlight. I guess there's often a fine line between laughter and tears, even though it often seems not to be that way.

Laura said...

yep totally agree that often the inspiration for such talented actors/comedians comes from their dark past.

Twilight said...

Laura ~~~ Agreed. It's testament to their strength of character, too. :-)