Mel Brooks on 'Blazing Saddles' at 40, Richard Pryor's Genius, and Keeping His Edge at 87

At 87, Mel Brooks has lost none of his edge.

The legendary comic provocateur has phoned me from his Los Angeles office to promote the just-released 40th anniversary Blu-ray of his magnum opus, "Blazing Saddles," but before he submits to an interview, he quizzes me about Moviefone's unique pageviews and other Web traffic statistics, about which he knows more than I do. Having concluded that Moviefone is well-trafficked enough for him to talk to, he says, "Ask away, Susman!"

"Blazing Saddles," which made serious satirical points about racism while also making cinema safe for fart jokes, is certainly one of the most influential comedies ever made. Brooks believes it's the funniest film of all time (followed closely by his own "Young Frankenstein"), and he's still upset with the American Film Institute for disagreeing with him. He's making his case for the film with the Blu-ray (which contains a new making-of documentary,
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