Mel Brooks is still going strong.
His 2021 memoir, "All About Me," was a sidesplitting look back at his greatest hits, told in a chatty manner that made the reader feel like the 96-year-old legend was sharing stories over pastrami sandwiches at the Carnegie Deli.
Now comes "History of the Word, Part II," a follow-up to his 1981 feature film that skewers significant events via a textbook by Borscht Belt professors.
It's hard to tell just how much Brooks contributed. He didn't direct any of the episodes, two of which drop on Monday with all eight available by the end of Thursday. He narrates, but barely appears on screen. He's among 14 credited writers, a list that includes noted comics like Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll and Ike Barinholtz, all of whom play various characters in a cavalcade of vignettes.
But Brooks' fingerprints are everywhere.
There are numerous nods to his classics. Kroll, playing a mud pie peddler dragged into the Russian Revolution, re-creates the "I'm hysterical" scene from "The Producers." The "walk this way" bit from "Young Frankenstein" gets trotted out. There's an update on "Jews in Space" from the original "History of the World, Part I." Gen. U.S. Grant (Barinholtz) goes searching for whiskey in Rock Ridge, the name of the town from "Blazing Saddles."
More importantly, the series captures Brooks' sense of humor.
There's plenty of silly stuff, like an early version of the Kama Sutra where soup is a key ingredient and soldiers barf up their rations just before hitting the beaches of Normandy.
But the most memorable bits are committed to showing that the emperor has no clothes. This has been a Brooks trademark since the 1967 film version of "The Producers," which revolved around the staging of a musical called "Springtime for Hitler." The premise infuriated many Jewish leaders. As he relates in his book, Brooks took the time to respond to each of their nasty letters.
"I tried to explain to them that the way you bring down Hitler and his ideology is not by getting on a soapbox with him," he wrote. "But if you can reduce him to something laughable, you win. That's my job."
That philosophy continues in "History." This time around, you get Josef Stalin (Jack Black) singing a tender ballad about his need for acceptance and Grigori Rasputin (Johnny Knoxville) being the victim of some graphic editions of "Jackass."
"Nothing bursts the balloon of pomposity and dictatorial rhetoric better than comedy," Brooks wrote. "Comedy brings religious persecutors, dictators and tyrants to their knees faster than any other weapon."
The wicked digs may be lost on those who spent world history classes taking a nap. They won't get the full effect of a running bit in which U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm's presidential campaign serves as the premise for a "Good Times"-like sitcom or a spoof on the "Real Housewives" franchise called "The Real Concubines of Kublai Khan."
But those folks will probably appreciate the cameo from Andy Cohen and, of course, the steady stream of jokes about passing gas.
Brooks, ultimately, wants everyone to laugh.
That's why "Your Show of Shows," which he wrote for, remains the high-water mark for TV sketch comedy. That's why the stage version of "The Producers" is one of the most successful musicals in Broadway history. That's why the American Film Institute lists both "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" among the top 20 funniest movies of all time.
And that's why we need to treasure these latest efforts, proof that Brooks isn't ready to stop making history.