Albert Brooks: Defending My Life (2023) Movie Script

I think there comes a time
in all of our lives,
no matter what we do,
well, doctor, lawyer,
homemaker, unemployed, comedian,
it really makes no difference.
There comes a time,
and I think it's when we get out of school
and begin-- Well, let's say,
begin to work within reality.
He's one of the most original thinkers
that will-- We've ever seen
and will ever see.
We look into ourselves,
all of us, and we say,
"How much talent do I really have?"
You know that feeling?
I didn't realize
someone could be funny that way.
In other words,
"Do I really have enough
to get me through an entire life?"
Always something, like, just different.
"Will I become an actual old person
that I see walking on the street now?"
"Me? And what kind of old person
will I become?"
That's very important.
"Will I be someone
who's loved and respected
and known to have led an honest,
positive kind of life?"
He was the first kind
of alternative comic.
We know what talent
we're starting out with,
and we devise a game plan.
A game plan for living, so to speak.
I don't think there's anybody like him.
Where do I fit into all of this?
My game plan is all off.
Here I am, five years into my career,
I have no more material left.
He was speaking directly to me.
I could've fooled you to get laughs,
but that's not what it's all about.
I'm trying to be honest with you.
And what, I couldn't resort
to cheap tricks?
Come on. I could drop my pants as easy
as anyone in the business.
You know what I mean? What? Boom.
Right? Okay.
I can get the comedy shorts from Sears.
I can stop a makeup man
in the hall and say,
"Do me a favor.
Draw a funny face on my chest."
You know what I mean?
He was like a comedic tornado.
Can I buy a pie?
You bet your life I can.
I can break eggs on my head
as easily as anyone in the business.
But that's not what I'm all about.
If I was all about that,
I'd go out and get seltzer.
What? I can do this all day.
And put whipped cream all over me.
Because this...
this isn't me. It's not the real me.
is the real me.
I've been a fan of Albert Brooks
for a number of years now.
And nobody will argue
that he's this country's
fastest-rising young comic performer.
He's different.
He has a great sense of the ridiculous
and can satirize just about anything.
Albert was a shining God of comedy.
The sharpest, wittiest, funniest.
There's like, 30 things
inside of each joke.
He's the funniest man in the world.
I think of him as the caviar of comedy.
It is about time
for a Hollywood reassessment
of the gift to moving pictures
and television that Albert Brooks is.
-Here is comedian Albert Brooks.
-Albert Brooks.
-Our friend, Albert Brooks.
-Sir Albert Brooks.
I think he's the funniest man
in the world. Albert Brooks.
Exactly. See? You'd have known.
You'd have known.
It didn't matter to you.
-So, listen, here's the thing.
-We're rolling?
-Of course, we are.
-All right.
-Why wouldn't we be?
-All right.
We've been friends for, like,
almost 60 years and it's--
-Which is ridiculous in and of itself.
-Yeah, it is ridiculous.
But I'm gonna do something
to embarrass the hell out of you
at the beginning,
and then we'll go from there.
I've always looked up to you.
-I'm telling you the truth.
-Oh, my God.
I've always looked up to you,
because to me,
there was nobody that did
what you could do,
you know, with comedy. I just--
And I've always been
kind of a little bit intimidated.
-Oh, well, look at this.
It took this to finally hear a compliment.
Yeah, I'm just telling you.
-Jesus Christ.
-No, I know.
I can't wait till I'm dead.
The idea that Albert and you were friends
in high school to me,
is like some, like,
superhero origin story type of shit.
I remember when I first met you...
-...which was--
-Well, it was in high school.
We were in high school
in the drama class together.
And it was a pretty amazing drama class.
There were lots of sons and daughters of.
There was Julie Cobb,
who was Lee J. Cobb's daughter.
There was Melinda Marx,
who was Groucho Marx's daughter.
-There was Larry Bishop,
-who was Joey Bishop's son.
And Richard Dreyfuss was in the thing.
-And then you and me...
...were in the show.
And I remember you coming up to me,
and you said, "I know Carl Reiner."
-And did you not know my name was Reiner?
-No. I know.
No! When we introduced ourselves
in a big class,
I didn't hear your last name.
I came up to you and said,
"I know Carl Reiner."
And what'd you say?
"Yeah, me too. He's my dad."
Oh, gee.
Everybody knows or most people know
that your real name is Albert Einstein.
-People know that.
-I'm surprised how many people don't,
but I used to keep that because it was,
you know, such a discussion
-my whole life until I changed it.
-Yeah. Yeah.
I never wanted to have
that discussion again.
-But now, as I'm aging out,
-I don't mind it.
-And there's some free things.
The government sent me
two extra COVID tests.
-So, it has its--
-There are perks.
-It has its positives.
-There's perks.
Right, so-- But here's the thing,
your father, Harry Einstein,
he had four sons.
-You have a half-brother...
...Charlie, who was a sportswriter.
-Then he had Cliff, and then Bob.
-And then you.
-And yes.
So, he had three chances
before you were born
to name one of his sons Albert.
He was waiting to see
if the theory of relativity
would be proven wrong.
-And once--
-And once I was born,
-it looked like it was for real.
-It's for real?
-So, he figured, "Okay."
-"It is safe."
-Yeah. Yeah.
So, you're the one
that gets stuck with that.
Right. He did name my brother
"Adolf Hitler."
But they wouldn't put it
on the birth certificate.
-I see.
The stones on those parents
to name their kid "Albert Einstein."
Did they just want him
to get beaten up for lunch money
for the rest of his life?
It was my mom's doing
'cause she never wasted anything.
She would give you wine
that was six years old, half-opened,
-'cause it was good wine.
"It's vinegar, Mom."
"It's very good wine."
So, she's not gonna waste Albert Einstein.
They owned it. She's not gonna waste that.
Welcome, Mr. Carl Reiner.
Well, the greatest thrill that I've had
as a young person
when I was still in high school
at that age,
your dad was on The Tonight Show
in New York and Johnny said to him,
"Who's the funniest person you know?"
And your dad said,
"A 16-year-old high school kid
named Albert Einstein."
-And, you know,
-that was on The Johnny Carson Show.
-Right. Right.
Thanks to my son, Rob,
who was Albert's friend
and teenage schoolmate,
I was privileged to be present
when he exhibited a talent
we had no idea he possessed.
I know the story about how, like,
when he's young and he did the...
like, behind the curtain trick
with your dad
-and all that famous story.
-Yeah. He was 16.
And out of the blue, you said,
"I've been working
on this escape artist routine."
"I think I've perfected it."
"I'm like the best escape artist
of all time."
And I think you had like this
or something.
-Yeah. A napkin.
-It was like a--
-I said, "Put it over my hands."
-A napkin.
-"Put it over my hands." And you--
-I said, "You don't have to tie it."
It's a-- All right. That's good enough.
-Okay. Yeah.
-That's good enough.
-He says, "I can't get out of--"
-"I can't get out of this."
"Can't get out of that."
-And then you had me put or somebody put--
-I stuffed some Kleenex in my mouth.
And the fact that you could breathe
out of your nose.
-The fact that I could take it out.
-Take it out. Yeah.
-Nothing was tied.
-Yeah. Yeah.
So then, with that,
you go behind a curtain.
-And you say,
you're gonna get out
from behind the curtain...
-...with this.
-And it goes on, it goes on,
and there's rustling
behind the curtain--
-Yelling for help.
-And yelling, "I can't breathe!"
-"I can't breathe!"
"I can't--"
And it's like this and struggling--
And my father literally
screaming with laughter.
And finally, somebody opens the curtain.
You fall out and you're saying,
"Untie me, untie me!"
I not only remember it to this day,
but say without equivocation
that in my life,
there are but a handful of times
that I ever laughed as hard.
But at age 16,
you could make those people,
those people that we looked up to,
my dad, Mel,
those kinds of--
You could make them laugh.
And that to me was--
It was like a prodigy.
As a kid with my nose pressed up
against the glass--
Okay, so, I watched television
a tad too close to the screen.
I so badly wanted to know
what he was like as a friend,
as a neighbor, as a pal,
as a guy to hang around with.
Now, we shared a house together
for a year or so off Benedict Canyon.
You had an entrance down below,
and I had an entrance above.
We each had our own...
phones. We had our own phones.
Anytime I would bring a girl over...
I would, you know,
enjoy myself with the girl, I mean...
-They would make love and I would--
-You can say it.
-And you would listen!
-I just said it.
-They would make love,
and what's wrong with that?
It's natural to make love and--
It wasn't that we made love, Albert.
It's that when we finished making love,
you used to call me on the telephone,
and say, "Are you finished?"
"Would you like to get something to eat?"
-And you wanna know the beauty?
It was always 20 seconds.
I would time it. He's starting.
See how long I could
hold my breath. Let's eat.
I was a huge comedy fan.
I was used to people standing up and...
delivering their bit and...
Alan King and all the guys
that would do straight stand-up.
And then there's this guy.
And he would come out,
and he would do the wildest shit.
Ladies and gentlemen,
would you welcome please a new face
in an ancient art,
the exciting, Albert Brooks.
You had a routine that you did,
which was brilliant,
which was a mime.
And you came out in black leotard
with the white face,
and you never stopped talking.
I call this piece
"Walking The Dog, Albert Brooks."
Good morning, Poochie.
How are you this morning?
You feeling good this morning?
I hope you are, Poochie.
It is a lovely day.
I know, isn't it?
Let's go upstairs, Poochie.
See, there are no stairs.
I create that for you. You see?
We'll go upstairs, Poochie.
Here we are at the--
Oh, good morning, Mrs. Brown.
How are you?
Have you seen my dog, Poochie?
He's lovely, isn't he? Yes.
You'd like help with your rope?
I'll help you pull the rope.
All right, Mrs. Brown.
All right now, Mrs--
No rope. I'm just making this mime.
And then I just went
-into like a bad stand-up.
-Yeah. Yeah.
I'm married now, of course. And my wife--
Take my wife, please, you know?
She's wonderful. She's a wonderful lady.
She's on a reducing diet.
Any of you husbands know
what that's like, you know?
She come home the other day,
she says, "Honey, I lost 35 pounds."
I said, "Look behind you. You'll find it."
Albert kind of broke a sound barrier.
I was used to watching television
and seeing funny people.
And then suddenly, there's--
You know, Chuck Yeager proves
that there's this other place you can go.
There's a sonic boom
and then you're going faster than sound.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to reaffirm
the art of ventriloquism is not dead.
Would you welcome the very funny
Mr. Albert Brooks?
I do remember the ventriloquist bit.
-It's kind of an iconic bit now, right?
Well, good evening, everybody.
Yes, hello, everybody!
I'm Dave. And I'm Danny.
You know, Danny, I'm a little nervous
being here on television and everything.
Well, why don't you have a cigarette?
That always calms you down.
Well, I just can't have a smoke
and leave everybody sitting here.
They might get bored.
I'll sing a song
while you have a cigarette.
-Great idea. What are you gonna sing?
-One of my favorites, "Swanee River."
He's so good, you can't steal it.
And I mean, like, if you stole it,
you wouldn't know what to do with it.
All right, Danny.
Why don't you have a glass of water?
And so the audience
doesn't get bored, I'll sing.
Lady of Spain, I adore you
Lady of Spain, I adore you
Lady of Spain, I adore you
I was doing, you know...
-I was doing conceptual pieces.
I had the world's worst pickpocket.
Have I ever met you before?
-No, you haven't.
-No? What's your name, please?
-My name's Lou Rawls.
-I knew what it was.
Of course, we have your albums over there.
-Wouldn't you know? It's amazing.
Look at this dress.
Isn't he a wonderful dresser?
What do you--
Do you have this tailor-made or something?
-Yes, I do.
-Isn't that wonderful?
You know, I always wanted
to have clothes like that.
I never thought I could get it, of course.
-Hey, what, what? What?
-Wait a minute. Just hold it a second.
-Wait a minute.
-Wait a minute!
My first time I ever saw Albert Brooks,
he was an elephant trainer.
And the elephant was gonna do
all the tricks
except the elephant got sick
and couldn't come out.
So, Albert is going to continue the show
as the elephant trainer
with no elephant...
-Yeah. the room.
-But he had a frog.
-But he had a frog.
I will do my same act,
and you people will please
use your imagination,
and picture the frog
as my majestic elephant, Bimbo.
I'll help you along by making a noise
my elephant makes such as...
I thought it was wacky and wonderful.
Now, ladies and gentlemen,
my elephant, Bimbo...
all right, quiet...
will count for you,
will tell you how old he is.
I'll give you a hint.
He's four years old, so you know.
All right, Bimbo.
How old are you, boy?
Come on. One, two, three, four.
Stop, stop! Hold it, hold it!
And it was unlike any kind
of comedy I had seen.
I will put my face on this,
and my elephant, Bimbo,
will stand on my head,
and I trust the elephant.
All right, boy?
All right, boy? Okay, boy.
All right, boy. Ready, boy? Go.
I feel the elephant gave me
a wart in my ear.
Have a peanut.
When was the first time
you ever saw Albert?
Probably The Tonight Show.
-The Tonight Show?
-I think so. Yeah.
If you've seen Albert work...
you still don't know what he does.
He's a very inventive young man.
And he does--
He takes premises that he nurtures
in his mind here,
and then he takes them,
plays around with them,
and it's always fun to see
what he's gonna do.
Before I did Carson,
I did a hundred variety shows.
Sullivan, Johnny Cash,
Helen Reddy, Glen Campbell,
Hollywood Palace,
Everly Brothers, Flip Wilson,
-Merv Griffin, all of them.
-Yep. Right.
So, I came to Carson late,
so I didn't have that fear.
I had already been established.
He was happy to see me.
-I was happy to see him.
Not until you do Carson,
do you realize what that was.
Everyone you knew saw it.
-Watched it, yeah.
-So, your next day...
-Right. pick up your cleaning,
"Hey, great bit!"
-You go to the market. "Great bit!"
-It's like living in a Carson world.
-Right. Right. Right.
I was gonna take the time that I usually
do a spot and show a film.
Not comedy,
but a serious film that I made.
It was punk rock almost, for comedy.
He saw what was going on.
He saw the old Hollywood way.
And instead of just saying,
"This is bad. This is corny."
He showed them.
And I spent my own money,
took a film crew,
took me a whole year, and made,
The History of the Animal Kingdom
in Two and a Half Minutes.
And the film is not here.
So, I've got this.
I got together a few props
that I could at the last minute.
This is
History of the Animal Kingdom
in Two and a Half Minutes.
It was exciting. Didn't feel planned,
and it was absurdist.
You couldn't believe the nerve of it.
There was a certain Wallenda aspect.
I got no more pictures left!
Every comedian I know, and to this day,
they won't go on national television
unless they've worked it out
through in a club,
-they've tried it out many times.
-I know.
You're the only guy I know
who would go on national television
with a routine
that you had never tried out,
and you would do it for the first time
-on national television.
-No, I went in the bathroom,
I would look in the mirror,
I would come up with something,
and I would go do it.
Your brain has to work on such a level
to do comedy without trying it out.
Carson was encouraging
to do something new every time
because he used to say to me,
"If you don't have to, don't rehearse."
-"Because I wanna be surprised."
He's the first dude I ever seen
at least make a marijuana joke
and like, light it up on TV.
And he was sitting next to Johnny Carson.
You know, Johnny,
this is my tenth year on the show
and I brought something to celebrate.
And he had these
elaborate impression kits.
There are certain foods
that when they interact
with the normal body chemistry,
produce the impressions.
We're gonna show you. It's uncanny.
I don't do any of this stuff,
so maybe it won't work,
but it probably will.
I mean, it's just really
over-the-top stuff
that if he pitched it to you, you know,
your kitchen,
which I'm sure he did many times,
you probably would go...
"That doesn't sound like a real idea."
-A hot potato? Hot potato.
-A hot potato.
-Go on.
-All right.
Curly, as you take
a little bit of pepper--
You know, Curly, the great Three Stooge?
Hard to do. Not now.
Take a pepper. Put it like that.
Okay, now,
you begin to make a child's train noise.
And with the potato.
I can remember just watching
that going like...
"Who is this man?"
-I wanna say something seriously.
I'm joking tonight for a little boy
who's very ill in a hospital
in Northern California.
I promised him I would get big laughs.
If I do, he lives. If I don't, he's gone.
He did one routine with that '80s toy,
the Speak & Spell.
I am premiering tonight
the second ingredient
in the Home Comedy Kit,
the electronic dummy,
you don't need to be able
to throw your voice.
Would you welcome Buddy?
All right.
Buddy, say hi to the audience.
-All right.
Happy to be here, aren't you, Buddy?
-Yes, I know you are.
Buddy, do you know where you are?
Look around.
Do you know where you are?
-Very good, Buddy. Very good.
To me, genius is you have the idea
and then the courage to execute it.
Buddy just got back from Mexico.
Did you have a good time, Buddy?
-All right.
Buddy has a party
to go to later tonight, Johnny.
He's very excited. He and his girlfriend
have been going for two years.
-You're gonna exchange gifts, right?
-You're gonna give her a car, right?
-What are you gonna give her, Buddy?
A Jaguar. Very nice.
What's she gonna give you, Buddy?
-All right.
Albert was one of those people
that from day one,
we tried to persuade to come
and do the show.
The thing that appealed
to me about Letterman,
and the way he did talk shows
was the thing that appealed
to me about Albert,
the way that he did talk shows as a guest.
They were both
these sort of deconstructionist geniuses.
What's happening here?
-This is not what it looks like.
Let me explain to you something.
I made this movie, Defending Your Life.
-And it is just so important to me
that when my publicist said
that you don't show clips anymore,
I just had to get a clip on.
-Yeah. But you know...
-You'd understand that.
...we show clips all the time.
The first time I saw Albert
was on David Letterman Show,
and he had called in to Letterman
or somebody called him?
You called him!
It was you!
-Is he a nice man to talk to on the phone?
-Yes. Absolutely.
Nice man to talk to on the phone
or off the phone.
Listen, well, I'm here with David
and he--
-Tell him I said hello.
-David says hello.
Yes. I'm on the air with David Letterman.
-Yes? Yes?
Yeah, he can hear you.
-You can't hear him?
Hold on a sec.
Hello, Albert. How are you?
Yeah. Sure, Albert. Whatever you want.
He's doing his stupid pet trick
over the phone?
Maybe we got him at a bad time.
Yeah. What's he doing, Albert?
Hello? Can you hear that?
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have a wonderful surprise for you.
It's a gentleman who is so uninteresting,
so unintelligent, and so unsuccessful,
you would hardly believe it.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's me.
Okay, Harry Einstein was known as...
My name's Parkyakarkus.
Well, what are you doing here?
Well, I really meant to join
the Foreign Legion to forget,
but I forgot where
the Foreign Legion was,
so I wound up here,
and now I forgot
what I wanted to forget.
He was a comedian.
He had his own radio show.
Meet Me At Parky's.
He was a Greek restaurant owner.
From Hollywood, California,
Meet Me At Parky's!
I remember going over to your house.
You were very proud of him
and you had these old, big,
-like acetate...
-Sixteen-inch records
-that contained his radio shows.
-You played 'em for me.
And I don't know if you can still do it,
but he used to do a list of the menu.
The opening of his show,
the woman who ran the restaurant,
Betty Rhodes, she was late.
So he was there alone,
"Oh, my God. I gotta type out
the menu myself. What the--"
And so, he would do the--
He'd start with the typewriter.
"Roast beef. R-U-S-T B-I-F.
Doesn't look right. Two Ts."
-You know, he would do that.
And then Betty arrived and said,
"What are you doing, Parky?"
"Well, I gotta type out the menu.
Somebody has to do the--"
"Parky, you're not gonna do it."
"Here, just give it to me,
give it to me fast."
"I got a lot to do."
"Okay. You want it fast?"
Oh, my goodness.
I haven't done it in a while.
He'll do it better, but he says,
"Okay, we're gonna have,
sirloin steak, tenderloin steak,
good peas, lamb chop,
great big pork chop,
large fried onions,
fresh peeled scallions,
french-fried potatoes,
lettuce and tomatoes,
string beans, baked beans,
hup beans too..."
Cookeral, hookeral, chicken stew,
mackerel, pickerel, haddock, tripe,
lobster, oyster, shrimp or pike,
hot pies, cold pies, soft pie, mud pie,
ickleberry, bermberry, stroomberry too,
stiff cream, whipped cream,
-plain cream, no cream...
-"...squashed-up apple,
mustard, custard, ketchup, chili,
salt and pepper, and piccalilli!"
"Forty-five cents."
It's amazing that you remember.
But that just tells me
that you loved him, obviously,
and you, you know, adored him.
And you always told me the story--
-How he died?
-At the Friars Club.
He had a famous death.
By the time I was born, he was ill,
he had a disorder of the spinal cord.
He had a lot of surgeries.
He could barely walk.
And he sort of retired from show business.
But he loved the Friars Club
and he was always on the dais.
Well, in 1958, it was a big deal.
They filled up the Beverly Hilton Hotel,
and they were letting in Lucy and Desi.
They had never let in a woman.
And it was this gigantic event
and everybody was on the dais.
Milton Berle, and George Jessel,
and Art Linkletter was the emcee,
and Sinatra. Everybody was there.
And my dad did ten minutes,
and I had helped him with it.
We had a wire recorder.
I would rewind it
and then rewind it again.
And then, you know--
-He would work on the routine.
He did a routine about the Friars Club,
which was the hit of the show.
The audience just stood up,
not because he was in a wheelchair,
because he was funny.
And I'm telling you,
-he knocked the house down.
You don't even hear laughing,
you hear...
-That's what the Friars Club used to do...
-...when they liked something.
...he must first satisfy us
beyond any question of a doubt
And he finished and went back
to the dais and died.
-Put his head right down like that.
They stopped the show
soon as they realized it.
Panicked. "What do we do?"
Art Linkletter said,
"Is there a doctor in the house?"
At the Beverly Hilton. Right.
Half the audience came on stage.
They took him backstage,
they cut him open,
they shocked him with a lamp cord.
-They couldn't bring him back to life.
One of the funny moments of that,
is that they were panicking,
trying to see what they could even do,
if they could save the dinner,
but before it ended,
Tony Martin, who was a big singer,
and had a number-one hit at the time,
Milton Berle said, "Get up there!
Sing something! Get up there!"
And he went up and he sang his hit,
which was called,
"There Will Be No Tomorrow."
Oh, Jesus.
And Milton Berle's going,
"Maybe that's not good advice. Maybe..."
-So, everybody laughed.
-Yeah, yeah.
He was sick my whole life
and I always thought
-he was dying.
So every time,
when I was home alone with him
and he called me, I would think...
So, it really wasn't a surprise
because I expected it every day.
Yeah. Yeah.
I would go to sleep with my radio on,
and my mother used to turn off my radio.
-That was the little thing she did for me.
And I woke up at 2:00 in the morning
and my radio was on.
-And I said, "Daddy's dead."
-Oh, wow. Wow.
-And in that case, it was true.
This is where my dad is.
A lot of famous
old show business people here.
-Louis B. Mayer.
-Jack Warner.
-And then look at this.
-Right near my dad...
One of the original Three Stooges.
No. Wait a minute. No, no.
Curly was the original.
-No. Shemp.
-No, I thought Shemp replaced Curly.
-No. Curly replaced Shemp.
-Yeah. Yeah.
-See, I always thought
-it was the other way around.
-No. No.
Well, "woo, woo, woo" was Curly.
That I know.
It doesn't matter!
He'd still like it.
He didn't do "woo, woo, woo."
Shemp never did.
-He'd still like it.
-All right.
Wow. And look at that.
Right there.
"Harry Einstein."
Here he is.
-I miss him.
I feel I wanna be cremated.
My mother was cremated and she said,
"Honey, you know, I wanna be cremated."
I said, "Of course,
I could tell by your cooking."
So, you didn't get to live
a long time with your father
but your mom lived to 94.
And what kind of relationship
did you have with her?
Well, see my movie Mother.
-The ice cream is colorless.
-Look under the protective ice.
The protective ice?
You've actually named
the clear hard crap
that sits on the top?
I very much relate to Albert
seeking approval from his mom.
But you didn't like the book, right?
You don't think it deserves a sequel?
Well, no, honey. I love the book.
But are you sure you wanna bring back
all those characters?
That is so what a mom
would say of just,
"Really? You're gonna do that?
You're gonna wear that? Really? Okay."
I'll talk to you later.
Honey, I love you.
I know you think you do.
That's not the kindest thing to say,
but it does acknowledge
that I know you think you do.
-Yeah, yeah.
-And that's something
-and I'll give it credit.
'Cause if I tell my mom
she doesn't love me--
-Of course she does.
-Yeah, yeah.
Of course, she says she does.
It seems insane to her.
But now I know what to say to her.
"I know you think you do.
And I love you too, Mom."
How many times
were you on Carson or--
-How many times?
Thirty times? Yeah.
You were always trying to get your mother
to acknowledge the fact
that you were killing on these shows.
The standard conversation,
I would call her.
She wouldn't call me after a show.
If I waited for that phone to ring,
it would be a month later.
So, I would call her.
"Hi." "Oh, honey, you're done?"
That was the first thing.
"No, we're on the show. Here's Johnny.
Yes, I'm done."
"So, what did you think?"
And you know, she went,
"Oh, honey, it was--"
-"What did Johnny think?"
And that was every--
And I was gonna call my autobiography
-What Did Johnny Think?
Because that's what--
"What did Johnny think?"
"What did Johnny think?"
-And your mother was a singer.
-My mother was a great singer.
-My mother had a career.
She met my father on a movie set.
New Faces of 1937.
Where is that cheap chiseling grafter?
-Where is he?
-There he is.
-Parky, speak to the lady.
And she stopped and became a mother,
and would sing at parties.
And it took me a long time
to realize that,
you know,
maybe she didn't wanna talk about
The Johnny Carson Show too much
-because she wanted to be on it...
-To be on The Johnny Carson Show.
-...which is a normal feeling.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You know, you could still love your son
and still think, "God damn it."
-"I can sing better than her."
-I could be on there, yeah.
You were looking for validation from her
and she was only gonna validate you
-if Johnny Carson did.
-That's right.
And I tell you, the closest my life
ever came where that was an actual shift
was when I got nominated for an Oscar.
And the nominees are...
Albert Brooks in Broadcast News.
I took a date, her and her sister.
And that evening was, "Oh, my God!"
-Because, you know, it's so crazy there.
-Yeah, yeah.
So, she had to accept the fact that you--
-Yes. I think she did. I think she did.
-Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
But I also think
that she had normal feelings of,
-"I wonder what I could've done."
-Yes, yes.
And that's what Mother was about
because he discovers
-that his mother was a writer.
How much have you written?
Did you ever get anything published?
No. I never published.
Your father talked me out of it.
Why would he do that?
Well, you know, dear, in those days,
a woman didn't have a career.
You know, she just...
Raised children who she hated
for ruining her life,
and killing her chances of doing
the one thing she loved.
Our dads were both comedians
and our mothers were both singers.
-My mother was a singer too.
-And also parked her career...
-Right. raise children and always wanted
to get on stage.
Now, I would notice at parties,
the happiest she was is when somebody
would play the piano and she would sing.
And you naively think that your parents
or your siblings
automatically support you
a hundred percent.
-But human beings have qualities
like jealousy and being envious.
And it doesn't matter
if it's a father or a son.
-Right, right.
-It's like, "Jesus."
"I never got to play baseball like that."
-"Good! Good hit!" You know?
-Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. I mean, it's just the brain.
So, your mother is seeing
that you're starting in show business,
you're starting to succeed,
and she's a little jealous.
She wanted to have--
I know my mother loved me
and I know she was happy for me,
but I knew that I couldn't--
I didn't talk very much
when something great happened
because there was just--
-'Cause you didn't want her to feel--
-I could feel a limit.
-And I didn't want to--
-I could feel it.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
For the first time,
I don't see you as my mother.
I see you as a failure...
and it's wonderful.
I'm a failure and that's wonderful?
All right, honey,
if that's what you need.
The last time I saw my mother alive,
the last thing she says to me--
-Was Bob there?
-Bob there.
The brothers were there, coming and going.
-Right, right.
-It was in her apartment.
And a few days before,
there was no more communication.
She was already on morphine,
but, you know--
-And she was sitting in a chair.
And I looked, and she looked up.
I said, "Mom, Mom. Hi."
And she looked up,
and the last words she said to me was...
"You've lost a little weight."
And my brother, Bob, goes,
"I told you she always thought
you were fat."
-Right to the end.
-To the end, the last words.
Right to the end.
-I remember the albums.
Right? And those were great.
But they were still like sort of meta
and absurdist.
I made this album,
Comedy Minus One.
And that was recorded
at the Troubadour.
But really, for me the big thing
was when A Star Is Bought album came out.
I mean, it was life-changing.
And I did that with Harry Shearer.
And that was like a movie,
but it was a record.
We did a mock documentary about my life.
This character, "Albert Brooks."
-The idea of the album was
that he's gonna make a cut
for every type of radio station
so that the album can't fail
because it's gonna appeal
to every different radio demographic.
So, on classical music, I supposedly found
the lost words to "Bolro"
and sang that with a symphony orchestra.
When I made my first album,
I got very cocky and said,
"I'm not touring."
And I watched the record just die.
Good night, ladies and gentlemen.
It's like a rock band coming out
with an album,
-you gotta promote the record...
-That's right. going on tour.
-And I realized this after a month,
it was dead,
and I did too little too late.
I booked these clubs.
-And there was a circuit...
-Right. the early '70s.
The Bitter End, Troubadour,
Paul's Mall, The Cellar Door.
-Right. Mr. Kelly's.
-Mr. Kelly's.
-And I never loved it.
What happened on the stage
at Paul's Mall in...
-Boston. Yeah. Boston?
-Where you said, "I just can't do this?"
-It didn't happen on the stage.
I went back to my hotel in between shows,
and I don't know, it just sort of--
-The world changed.
It just sort of-- I had an explosion.
He called me. He said,
"The elephants are moving on the wall
of the wallpaper in my motel."
I said, "So, you should probably
come home now. That's a bad sign."
What I think it was,
and I could say this now.
-Yeah, yeah.
-I couldn't tell you then.
I think I got so good
at not getting close.
As a very little kid,
two, three, and four,
I was gonna outsmart God.
I'm not gonna get close to the sky
and then you're just gonna take him.
I'm smarter than that.
And I learned how to keep distance.
And that not getting close,
that being detached from everything,
I almost feel like that was waiting.
"Hello. Excuse me.
Here's 15 years you never dealt with."
-And it was all of that at once.
Could it have been the fact that,
that coincided with the fact
-that your father died on stage?
-Yes. Yes.
-It still plays in my head.
-Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
NBC's Saturday Night!
You were approached by Lorne Michaels
-to host Saturday Night Live.
-Okay. Yes. I'll tell you the story.
And this is a true story
and I never tell it
because nobody wants
to hear it, but--
-I wanna hear it.
-No, I'm just saying.
They called me in 1974.
I went to an office with Dick Ebersol
and Lorne Michaels.
-And they said,
"We're gonna do an original show."
"We'd like it to be
The Albert Brooks Show."
And I said, "You know what?
Every show has a regular host."
"You should do revolving hosts.
That's what I would do."
Then four months later,
they didn't have anybody
and they wanted my name.
At that time, they liked
what my name represented
and they wanted my name, and they said,
"What do you want to do?"
And I had made a short film
years earlier for PBS,
The Great American Dream Machine,
where I took an article
I wrote in Esquire,
"The Albert Brooks'
Famous School for Comedians,"
to teach you to be a comedian.
-Like a commercial.
"Hello! Do you think you can be funny?"
How many times
have you gotten nice laughs at a party?
Had a friend turn to you and say,
"You know something?
That was pretty funny."
"You should think
about being a comedian."
Well, your friend was right.
First today,
we'll visit comedy take class.
Here, the students practice
all kinds of takes.
The double take, the elbow take.
And today, they're working
on the spit take,
made so famous by Danny Thomas
on Make Room for Daddy.
Remember when Danny
would be drinking coffee,
his agent, Sid, would come in
with some surprising news?
Danny would spit the coffee
all over Sid and the furniture.
Let's see
how these kids are doing.
All right. Now, that was pretty good,
but I'd like to try it just one more time
in the same way.
Now, remember,
I just walked into the room.
Now, start to drink.
Good. Now, I speak.
Guess what? I just heard from the bank,
and not only don't you have any money,
but your sister is dead!
That's good.
That's much better, except, again,
Carol, you didn't put
the liquid in your mouth
and you gargled instead of spit
for the fifth straight time.
That was funny.
So, I said, "Let me make short films."
So, they made an agreement.
I would make six short films
and I would do it from Los Angeles.
He shaped the trajectory
of Saturday Night Live in two ways.
It's because of him
that they have guest hosts every week,
and it's because of him
that they have film pieces.
In an unprecedented move
to ease world tension,
the country of Israel
and the state of Georgia
have agreed to change places.
This is indeed an auspicious occasion
of the 20th century.
And I hope that New Orleans
will be easier
to deal with than Cairo.
I know that my entire state
is looking forward
to heat without humidity.
I thought it would be funny to dress up
as a cow and try and purchase
an airline ticket.
Those shorts were mind-blowing to me.
-Yeah, yeah.
-Like, they were like,
the most punk comedy thing
I had ever seen at that point.
This is my favorite part of the show
because it gives me a chance to introduce
a film written, directed,
and starring my best friend,
Albert Brooks.
-The show that you were on.
-Yeah, that was the third show.
I made a film
that ran too long for his taste.
-And Lorne said,
"We're not running it. It's too long."
-And thank God you hosted...
-...and you said, "I wanna run that."
So many of us go through life
doing one thing,
wanting to do something else.
I'm one of those people.
I'm a comedian.
Show business has been good to me.
But quite frankly,
if I had the grades in school,
I would have become a surgeon.
Well, on July 22nd of this year,
I did something about it.
I took out the following ad
in ten of the nation's leading newspapers.
"I, Albert Brooks,
professional entertainer,
wish to perform open heart surgery,
coronary bypass operation preferred."
Here we go.
-No, no, no, no.
-You stay-- Okay. All right.
I pray it doesn't hurt.
I pray it doesn't hurt.
-The hell is going on?
-I pray it doesn't hurt.
Why is he awake?
Where is the anesthesiologist?
I don't know. You're the chief.
Look, I have been up for a week,
I have a very bad sore throat.
-Don't start with me.
-He don't feel very well.
-Leave him alone.
-That's all right.
You didn't know what show Albert
-would have a film on.
So, it always felt to me
like there was this weird
J.D. Salinger comedy guy
that every once in a while
would offer something up,
and you didn't know
when it was gonna come.
-Hi, Albert.
-You got it?
Yes. It's new.
I know that you use to hang out
with Steven Spielberg.
-And he would film you.
I think he just liked to always
-run the camera.
-But he didn't run it with everybody.
-He just ran--
-Well, no, because I was giving him stuff.
-Yeah, yeah.
I started filming Albert in 1973.
We'd go down, like Sunset,
or go up La Cienega,
just so Albert could lean out the window
and interview people at a red light.
I mean, in a way,
he predated Sacha Baron Cohen.
What Sacha did with Borat
and all of Sacha's brilliant work...
-...Albert was doing that stuff
on the streets
with my eight-millimeter camera...
-Wow. Wow. the 1970s.
I can't think of any American filmmaker
whose movies I more eagerly await.
Directing my first movie, Real Life,
which beats Spinal Tap by...
-Which is the first one?
-...five years in mockumentary.
I've just completed
a motion picture so exciting
that the following announcement
will be presented in 3D,
so you can literally
"feel" the excitement.
Real Life tells the story of what happens
when a real family's life is turned
into a major motion picture.
That family could have been you,
or you, or you!
If you remember some years ago,
I think it was on PBS, they did it.
Was it on national television?
They covered a family
called the Loud family.
-The idea was exciting to do...
...because, you know,
other than the Loud family,
-no one had sort of made fun of this yet.
It was so ahead of the curve.
Everything he was talking about
is what television turned into.
I saw Real Life and I thought,
"Oh, you know-- This guy is--
He is really special."
The moment that we realize
that we were gonna
wanna follow real people
and they'd be more interesting
-than fictionalized people.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Albert satirized that,
but he was very aware
that people will be obsessed
with making it entertaining enough...
-...and that show business would ruin it
and make it impure.
Honey, do you think
it's safe for you to be eating
with your heating pad in your lap?
I have terrible cramps,
I am bleeding profusely,
and I wanna vomit on the table.
What are you doing?
No, I just wanna let them know
that this is not the way
we usually talk,
especially at the dinner table.
This actually had
some reflection of society
that are still relevant today.
I made an appointment with my gynecologist
for a quarter to 10:00 tomorrow morning.
And if you want to, you and the crew
can feel free to join me.
Film the gynecologist?
It became, for me, the test movie for--
If I was dating a girl, it'd be like,
"Let's watch Real Life."
-What are these?
-These are cameras.
Oh, no. Oh, God damn it.
What's going on here? I was clear.
-Now, come on. Get out of here, you!
-Wait, wait...
-I don't need you here.
-...wait, wait!
This is a big motion picture.
I'm Albert Brooks.
-How are you?
-I don't care who the hell you are.
Talk to my lawyer. I was cleared.
Get out. Out, out!
Dr. Rennert, these people are with me.
-They're filming my life.
-Mrs. Yeager, I'm sorry,
but I've had some bad experiences
with the 60 Minutes people.
No, no.
There's four of us here, okay?
He wants an abortion, all right?
Two. Make it two.
I'll take a hysterectomy.
She'll have the same.
How about this for parking?
You think 500 might do it?
I just wanna film her life.
Please, don't make trouble.
Oh, my God.
Maxwell Rennert, the baby broker.
Oh, God damn it! Come on.
-I can't believe it.
-Was it tough to get that made?
I have found nothing easy to get made.
Getting made
was the hard part of the life.
I was dating Linda Ronstadt.
One of her managers, he had a cousin,
who at the time owned the Chicago Bulls.
-I sat in a steam room with him,
and pitched this thing.
And he said to me,
"I'll give you half a million dollars."
"You have to take
a letter of credit out at a bank,
and anything over is yours."
-That you have to pay for?
-I have to pay for.
-And it made every moment tense.
But I wanna take this opportunity, Rob.
The man in Chicago,
he keeps calling me and saying,
"Well, I don't care
if the picture makes money,
I just don't want you to go over budget."
"I don't wanna get a call
in the middle of the night saying,
-'I need more money.'"
-They're worried?
-They're worried about it?
-Yeah, they're worried.
Taking a chance
with a first-time director?
Yeah, but I mean, I'm a nice guy.
I'm not gonna spend his money.
So, I thought maybe I could swear to God
-to him on television.
-Go ahead.
-Would that be all right?
-Go ahead.
-Can I get a-- Okay.
-Yeah, give him a close-up.
Mr. Culver is the name.
I, Albert Brooks, swear to God
I won't go over budget.
If I do, I will pay every penny
out of my own pocket,
or Rob and Penny will pay for it.
Real Life was made independently,
and Paramount Pictures bought it.
This was my introduction.
-It was like a Broadway show.
-Right, right, right.
And I get a call that said,
"We're rethinking this."
"We're not gonna go to New York.
Let's not do the critics now."
"Let's open in Honolulu,
in Dallas, and New Orleans."
I said, "I'm gonna do better with critics
than I'm gonna do
-with people in Honolulu."
-Right, right.
If you pull it out
of the critics' screenings,
it says to the critics,
-the film is flawed.
-Right, right.
And I said,
"If you do this, I won't do one show,
and if I talk to any press,
I will tell them
that you've ruined my life."
And they said, "Well, let us
call you back in 15 minutes."
Thank God that for whatever threat,
it worked.
And you know, I got the reviews
-that started my career.
If that didn't happen,
I don't know where I'd be.
So, you mentioned Harry Shearer,
that you worked on A Star Is Bought.
And Real Life, Harry...
-And Real Life.
-...worked. Yeah.
-He was one of the writers.
-Along with Monica Johnson.
And you worked with Monica...
-On many pictures.
-...on other pictures.
Tell me about your relationship
with Monica.
Well, Monica was great.
Monica understood
the Albert Brooks character
like nobody else.
She was so funny.
I wanted to be in a room
or in a car with her,
because back and forth,
I think it made me better.
-She got everything.
-And then she could throw out a line...
-Yeah, yeah.
...and you know, just something really--
She got it.
I became aware of Albert
on The Tonight Show.
I became obsessed with Albert
with Modern Romance.
-Modern Romance.
-Modern Romance.
-Modern Romance.
-Modern Romance.
-Modern Romance.
-Modern Romance.
It's my life.
-God, there's something wrong with you.
-No, there isn't. I'm in love.
-That's not it.
-Yes, I'm in love. I love you.
I called the number, okay? A guy answered.
a guy isn't your brother's girlfriend.
-So, who is he? You slept with him? Twice?
-I'm going home.
I've been this guy.
I've been this guy a lot of times.
I'm, you know, much older now.
I can still be that guy.
Modern Romance was, you know,
me willing to look
completely like a psychopath,
and how jealousy works.
I don't think
that we should go out anymore.
I mean, I just think it's over.
You've heard of a no-win situation,
haven't you?
Really no? You've never heard of one?
Vietnam? This?
I'm telling you, they're around.
I think we're in one of them.
So, the jealousy,
all of that feeling of jealousy,
-that was just...
...that's something you felt,
but you didn't--
I felt and it was weird,
-and I wanted to show it.
Look, you two didn't get along.
You said it yourself,
all you ever did was fight.
You're right. Thank you. Thank you.
That's all we ever did.
I'm telling you, we fought and fought,
and then we had great sex.
We never really could talk.
Do you need to talk?
The whole thing made me so uncomfortable
because I was at the time,
in a very unpleasant relationship.
And I thought, "Well, this is admirable."
If you can go and do a movie,
and it feel-- It makes you feel--
It magnifies what you're feeling already.
The head of Columbia said,
"You have to add a psychiatrist scene
and explain this behavior."
-Right. Right.
-"And if you don't add
a psychiatrist scene,
you won't have a second week."
Which basically meant
we're not gonna advertise.
-Wow. Wow.
-And Stanley Kubrick called me.
And he said, "You're blaming yourself.
It's not your fault."
"Studios make a decision of whether
a movie is gonna be a hit."
"It's their decision. I've watched
your movie play in front of 25 people."
"It's killer." And then he said,
"How did you do this?"
"This is the jealousy movie
I've always wanted to make."
And I'm going, "Hello. How did I do it?
How did the guy walk upside down in 2001?"
"You tell me and I'll tell you
how I screwed up the girl."
The roller coaster ride of Modern Romance,
that really always connected with me.
-It just...
I'm still looking for my Albert Brooks.
And to America, look out.
Here we come!
The Jupiter with
all the gravitational pull
is, for me, Lost In America.
What was the inspiration
for Lost In America?
People who make gigantic decisions
and are wrong.
This is what we talked about
when we were 19.
Remember? We kept saying,
"Let's find ourselves."
But we didn't have a dollar,
so we watched television instead.
I mean, we can drop out
and we can still have our nest egg.
So, these people really did everything.
They sold their house.
They, you know, like,
made the unfortunate mistake
of stopping in Vegas,
and then it was done.
-We're up! We're up!
-No. We're still down.
-How down?
-How down?
-Twenty-two down.
-How down is she?
-Come on. Twenty-two.
-How down are you?
-Down, down.
-How much have you lost?
-What does that mean?
-What do you mean?
-Everything on 22...
-What do you mean? What is happening?
-What are you doing?
-...and make it happen for me.
How much is left of the nest egg?
Well, give or take a thousand.
-Give or take a thousand?
As the boldest experiment
in advertising history,
you give us our money back.
I beg your pardon?
-I understood the nest egg--
-Please do me a favor.
Don't use the word.
You may not use that word.
It's off limits to you!
Only those in this house
who understand nest egg, may use it.
And don't use any part of it either.
Don't use "nest," don't use "egg."
If you're out in the forest,
you can point,
that bird lives in a "round stick."
And you have "things"
over-easy with toast.
It also spoke to the stuff
that we all go through
-when we have to find ourselves.
So, the movie is really a story
about his search
for who he is as a man
and also as a husband.
Good afternoon
and welcome to Judgment City.
You've just had quite the little journey,
so for now, relax and enjoy the ride.
What made you think about afterlife
and those ideas?
How'd you come up with that?
Well, one of the things
when your father exits early,
you wonder, "Where does he go
and what's going on here?"
Well, in a nutshell,
you're here to defend your life.
Defend my life?
I didn't like movies about heaven.
I don't like the clouds.
-I don't like the harps.
-I don't-- And this movie has no religion.
So, what this movie
is really about is fear...
-...which, you know,
I've dealt with my whole life.
And so, if you could live
a life without fear,
-then you would be able to move on.
-That's right.
And that the fear
-is what's holding you back.
-That's right.
There are multiple movies on this topic,
from, like, the '40s and on.
"You die. You're suspended.
Where are you going?"
"Are you going to heaven?
Is there a heaven?"
"Is there a God? Is there an afterlife?"
To me, Defending Your Life
is the finest piece of work on that topic.
-Look what I found?
-Come on. Give me that.
Make me.
Come on, chicken.
You stick up for yourself,
low-life chicken.
You see, every second of every lifetime
is always recorded.
And as each one ends,
we sort of look at it.
Look at a few of the days, examine it,
and then if everybody agrees,
you move forward.
What do you mean "move forward?"
As an astrophysicist, Defending Your Life
was one of the most insightful films
I had ever seen.
I measure the value of a movie to me
by how much influence it has
over my thoughts.
The claim is that
as a human being on Earth,
we're using some small percent
of our total brain power.
His attorney, who's defending his life,
is using like,
45 or 50 percent of his brain power.
But there's still
higher levels beyond that.
For example, I use 48 percent of my brain.
Do you know how much you use?
-I'm sorry?
And the lawyer says,
"I am deeply simplifying
my communication,
so that you can understand me."
Where were you? I'm just curious.
I'd tell you, but you wouldn't understand.
Don't treat me like a moron. Try me.
I was trapped
near the inner circle of thought.
-I don't understand.
-I told you.
And it's because of that scene,
I've always been thinking about
how stupid we may actually be
on the spectrum of intelligence
in the universe.
-Hi. How'd you die?
-On stage, like you.
You and Meryl Streep
are incredible together.
How did she wind up in that movie?
Well, I was friends with Carrie Fisher.
And she had a party,
and Meryl Streep was there,
and I was surprised
how easygoing she was.
And I said, "I just finished something,
I'm really excited about it."
And I don't know
if it was half-joking or real,
she said, "Is there a part in it for me?"
I said, "Yeah. Right. Okay."
And I went home and I thought,
"God, yes!"
Yeah, yeah.
I don't know what this is.
But it's...
well, it's...
You can tell that everything
that's real in his personality
is coming out.
But I've been defending myself
so hard these last few days,
and I just don't wanna be judged anymore.
I have this wonderful feeling
inside of me, but I'm...
I'm just tired of being judged.
It's hilarious and I cry
at the end every time.
Julia! No!
-I love you!
It's an emotional movie,
and it's about personal growth,
and that's not something
-that was in the other movies.
But this time,
he finds a way to overcome his fear.
He finds love. He wins at the end,
and it felt like a big choice
from Albert to show the lessons
that I assumed
he was trying to learn in life.
Do you have any thoughts about
what happens after you die?
I don't mind being taken out of the game.
I just don't wanna see
anymore of the game.
-Yeah, yeah.
-So that, to me, would be agony.
-To be taken away,
but you get a little peek at,
"Rob's still doing well," you know?
And by the way,
on nights you sleep and you don't dream,
how do you know--
What if you don't wake up?
-How would you know?
I mean, God,
the first time I had a colonoscopy,
it was-- I wanted one every day.
It's like the greatest sleep in the world.
And if you woke me up
a thousand years later,
-I wouldn't have any idea.
-So, I imagine that's what it is.
-What? Like having a colonoscopy?
Yeah. A big one.
So, you're feeling your way
through the world
of relationships with women.
And I'm sure, you know,
there were a lot of women,
come in and out
-of your life and all that.
And so that, I'm sure,
gives birth to things like Modern Romance,
like Defending Your Life,
like Lost In America,
all of those pictures
that have these relationships.
We're seeing Albert Brooks struggling
with the opposite sex.
So, how did you eventually find your way?
Well, I lucked out
because I waited long enough
where I had reached a point,
and if anybody ever asks me
advice about it,
you know, "How do you find someone?"
I mean, the answer is you stop looking.
Albert, you were one of the last
bachelors to go in Hollywood.
-I mean, you waited a long time.
-That's right.
Warren Beatty and I
used to huddle in the corner.
What was it about this lady
that set her apart
from all those nymphet starlets
-you'd been with?
I guess this wasn't
the romantic way to put it,
but after two days,
I looked right in her eyes and I said,
"You're the first woman
I'm willing to be divorced from."
I met Kimberly and it was just right.
Yeah. How did you meet her?
-I was set up by friends.
And she called it a blind date,
and yet Defending Your Life
was her favorite movie. So, I said,
-"Well, it was a one-eyed date."
I thought the movie was amazing.
And I said,
"This man wrote, directed,
and starred in this?
That's the kind of guy I wanna marry."
I swear to God I said that.
I was filming in San Francisco, Mother.
-So, we talked on the phone for ages.
But I'll tell you, one of these,
I'm not a big coincidence guy.
-But this was interesting.
I wrote Mother before I met her,
and she came from Marin,
and I set the character in Marin.
-More importantly...
-That's why--
...I set the character at Tam High,
-and that's where she went to high school.
-Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
So, that was weird!
Our hour-long conversations became,
you know, eight-hour long conversations,
and he made me laugh till I cried,
but this was before the internet.
He had no idea what I looked like.
So, we kind of fell in love by talking.
And we talked on the phone
and it was great,
great, great, great, great.
And we met and it was great.
And, you know, I had waited
and knew that I couldn't--
-shouldn't be waiting too much longer.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Yeah, yeah.
My line was,
"I'm gonna have to look
for high schools with ramps."
"Is Dad coming?"
"He's wheeling up. He's wheeling up."
The chemistry, everything was there
the minute we met.
Somehow, I don't know how it happened,
but we were, like, making out
to the soundtrack of Schindler's List.
That's true.
It was worth waiting for.
-Yeah, yeah.
-That's all I can say.
And I said, "Well, look, I don't know
why you've waited,
but this is what I want."
"I wanna get married, you know, have kids.
The whole nine yards."
So, then he kept saying,
"Well, why don't you move in?"
Like, when we were dating.
And I kept going like this,
"It's so empty there, isn't it?
Like, do you see anything?"
You know, like, every time.
And then he said...
"Okay, I'll take you to Tiffany's."
And I was like,
"I need to hear the whole sentence.
Like, you need to get on a knee."
"Like, you need to do it."
And so then he did it.
She thinks I proposed. I actually tripped.
-You were on your knees--
-I lost-- That's right.
I dropped a contact lens,
I bent down to pick it up...
-And you got married.
-...and she said, "Yes." Yeah.
I've known you so long,
and when you met Kimberly,
and you got married,
and you had kids,
I thought,
"This is a big thing for Albert,"
because you didn't see
that evolution for you.
I was sick of me.
I mean, if I couldn't do this
for somebody,
I think I would never have
-left my home past 50.
-Right, right.
And so you have Jake, you have Claire,
and now all of a sudden, you're a father.
How are you adjusting to that?
I couldn't imagine a life without it.
Now, do your kids know
that you're that Albert Brooks?
I haven't really shown them
the movies yet because they--
I don't wanna...
see them not like it.
'Cause then I'd have
to punish them severely.
In my will, David,
I have a detailed questionnaire
about my movies.
And if they can't answer it...
-Very shrewd.
-...there's nothing. There's nothing.
-I think you're onto something there.
-Right. There's nothing.
All right, and action!
She's a muse.
Come on.
No. I met her at a party
a couple of years ago.
-Rob Reiner introduced us.
-Rob Reiner?
The idea of the film
is that there's this woman,
who's a muse, who can get
the best things out of people,
-so that they can do their best work.
-That's right.
When you start believing that,
-it becomes something.
-Right, right.
It's the ultimate placebo.
I can see why you need me.
When he called me, I was just like,
"Oh, my God. It's Albert Brooks!"
You have a lot of talent.
-It's just that you're losing your edge.
-Jesus, I am hearing this from everybody.
That's because it's true.
And I said, "Oh, I'm in." And he goes,
"You don't even need to see the script?"
And I'm like, "No."
Sharon was so receptive.
-Yeah, yeah.
-And so much fun to work with.
-Just really, ideas and energy.
-I was crazy about her.
-Say that to them.
-Everything is her.
We had this really wonderful trust
right from the start.
And there's this scene
where I get in bed with Andie MacDowell.
So, what side of the bed do you want?
Oh, you're gonna sleep in the bed too?
And I said, "So, I wanna be naked."
And he went, "I don't know. I don't know."
-And he kept covering his eyes.
-His eyes?
Yeah, like,
"I don't know if I can see that."
You want the whole bed?
Hey, it's your house, you know?
Whatever you wanna do.
Oh, my God. You want the whole bed?
Take it.
And then you had Scorsese.
Yeah, we have these famous directors
all thinking that they might
get help from this fraud.
-Just tell him Marty was here, okay?
'Cause I gotta get this thing figured out.
I'm right in the middle of it.
-I gotta get it figured out.
-What are you working on?
-Promise you won't tell anybody?
I'm working on a remake of Raging Bull.
-Yeah. Only this time, I'm doing it
with a real thin guy. Real thin.
-Can you see it?
-Yeah, I see it.
-Thin and angry.
-Thin. Thin. Thin.
-Is there a Starbucks near here?
-Oh, Gee, I'd be careful if I were you.
-You might have had your quota.
-Yeah. I guess I'd-- Quota?
That gives me an idea
for something else entirely.
Thank you. We never had this conversation.
I don't know who you are. We never spoke.
Jim Cameron.
I just don't see you going back
to the water anytime soon.
-no sequel?
Stay away from the water.
Don't go near the water.
-And me. I was-- Yeah.
-And you.
-It's so good to see you.
-Oh, hey!
For the rest of your life
you're gonna be looking
over your shoulder.
I'm just telling you this
because I want you to know the truth.
Albert is a totally trained actor.
He has all that technique.
He has all those tools.
He can do anything.
-Notice anything?
-Then put your glasses on.
-Okay, just a minute.
-All right.
-That taxi driver has been staring at us.
-What taxi driver?
-That one. The one that's sitting there.
How long has he been there?
I don't know,
but it feels like a long time.
My first acting movie was Taxi Driver.
Right. Scorsese.
And that was a hell of a movie
to have starred in.
Why did they think
Albert Brooks would be perfect
for a movie about Travis Bickle?
You know, I think Scorsese had seen
plenty of me on the variety shows.
And he loved comedy,
and he sensed that I could do it.
But to me, just going to the set
on days I wasn't working
and watching Marty,
it was a thrilling experience.
Why won't you talk to me?
-Come on.
-Why won't you talk to me?
Why don't you answer my calls
when I call you?
You think I don't know you're here?
-Let's not have any trouble.
-You think I don't know?
-Would you please leave?
-Get your hands off.
-Okay. Then leave, okay?
-I just want you to know...
-Come on. Let's not have any trouble.
-...that I know, and I'm here.
Please. Just please.
This isn't the place to do this.
-Get your hands off--
-Okay, then just leave!
-Take 'em off!
-All right. Just leave then.
What made you decide that he was the guy
you wanted for Broadcast News?
Not decision. Just-- We talked about it
through the writing.
I mean, there was nobody else.
You can't end up with Tom
because it totally goes against
everything that you're about.
I know you care about him.
I've never seen you
like this with anybody.
So, don't get me wrong
when I tell you that Tom,
while being a very nice guy...
is the devil.
I wanna talk about this
very specific moment in Broadcast News,
and it's famous
because anybody who gets nervous,
they say,
"You're sweating just like Albert Brooks."
Tell me how that moment came to be.
In the original script,
Jim didn't have sweating.
-It was Aaron has a horrible failure.
-Right, yeah.
You're anchoring it,
taking William Hurt's place.
Right. And one night,
I saw at midnight, a new guy on CNN.
Albert called me one day,
so excited, and he said,
"I just saw a guy
on CNN sweating bullets."
I woke Jim up. "Jim! Jim! Turn on CNN!
I know what we-- This is it!"
-And it worked.
-Wow, wow, wow.
The British foreign secretary today,
pounced on what he termed,
"The nest of professional spies
and amateur traders who are turning
NATO headquarters into an instrument
whose only true function is folly."
Just how noticeable is this?
Albert really trashed
the shirt and the jacket that night.
But for years afterward,
and after anyone sees it now,
contemporaneously today...
Five seconds!
...people will find a way to ask you,
"Were you more like
the William Hurt character,
or were you the sweaty intellectual?"
A hundred and twenty people
were reported injured.
At least 22 people dead.
-I wish I were one of them.
I think that his performance
in Broadcast News
is just the North Star
for almost everything.
There's a lot of people that feel like,
"I'm kind of a decent person,
and why do I always get passed over?"
Wouldn't this be a great world
if insecurity and desperation
made us more attractive?
If needy were a turn-on?
Call if you get weird.
We thought we were Albert Brooks
in that relationship.
No comedy people thought
they were William Hurt.
I thought Albert and Holly
sort of stole the show.
Hey, Aaron!
I think you're the devil!
-You know I'm not!
Because I think we have
the kind of friendship
where if I were the devil,
you'd be the only one I would tell!
Well, you were awfully quick
to run after Tom's help
-when you wanted help!
-All right! Fine! Yes!
And if things had gone well
for me tonight,
then I probably wouldn't
be saying any of this.
I grant you everything,
but give me this.
He personifies everything
that you've been fighting against.
And I'm in love with you.
How do you like that?
I buried the lede.
I love seeing him play villains.
I've seen Drive a million times.
Kid, I want you to meet Mr. Bernie Rose.
Nice to meet you.
My hands are a little dirty.
So are mine.
And Nicolas Refn said,
"Why would I believe he was a bad guy?"
And I pinned them up against the door.
-I mean, I really did.
And I said quietly,
"There's no convincing Nicolas."
I said, "If I now took a gun
and put it in your ear,
and shot a bullet through your brain,
and smiled and left, I'd be a bad guy."
I think we would have made
a go with this business.
Don't worry. Don't worry.
That's it. It's done.
There's no pain. It's over. It's over.
I mean, he's a beautiful actor.
His character parts that he would do.
The NFL owns the day of the week.
The same day the church used to own.
Now, it's theirs.
You're a bank robber.
It's not a very marketable skill.
We don't see a lot of old bank robbers
walking around with a pension plan,
now do we?
I don't anticipate a problem.
God knows they've given money
to bigger crooks than us.
-Daddy, you never play with me.
-I do, but right now,
-look who I'm talking to!
-It's your brother!
-You don't look like my brother.
I told you, honey,
that's 'cause of the egg donor.
I am so excited.
I can't believe I'm in a car
with Albert Brooks,
Lucy Liu, and Jerry David.
-I just can't believe we're all going--
-You're so funny.
-I got my Jews confused a little bit.
-"I got my Jews confused"?
-She's funny, Albert.
-She's funny.
-Anti-Semitic, but funny.
He was actually a little nervous
the first day.
-He was?
-I could tell.
-I know when somebody is nervous, yeah.
The premise, to me, is terrific.
The idea of doing a eulogy
or doing a memorial service
for somebody before they die.
Welcome, everyone. Thank you for coming.
Albert inspired me
to become a stand-up comedian.
And that more than anything,
makes me wish he was really dead.
I hate him.
Thanks to Larry David,
we learned he was a COVID hoarder.
Oh, my God.
Albert Brooks is a COVID hoarder.
-He's a fucking COVID hoarder!
-He's a COVID hoarder.
-Albert's a COVID hoarder.
-Are you kidding? This is unacceptable.
-What's going on here?
-The fuck is wrong with you?
You're sitting over there with a closet
full of fucking toilet paper?
I just moved in here.
This used to be a CVS.
-Shame on you, Albert Brooks!
-Come back! I've got flu shots!
You've done a lot of voices
for animated stuff.
I did a lot of Simpsons characters.
Everybody on The Simpsons
when Albert came in,
it was New Year's Eve for them.
Homer, on your way out
if you wanna kill somebody,
it'd help me a lot.
The key to motivation is trust.
Let me show you what I mean.
I want you to close your eyes,
and fall backwards, and I'll catch you.
That's gonna show you
what trust is all about. Ready?
-All right.
-Three, two-- One second. Hello?
Oh, my God. A guy's on the floor.
You never saw writers
aggressively not care about their script
because of what Albert would do
when he came in.
-Meet me tomorrow for brunch.
-What's brunch?
You'd love it. It's not quite breakfast,
it's not quite lunch.
But it comes with a slice
of cantaloupe at the end.
You don't get completely
what you would at breakfast,
but you get a good meal.
-Nemo! I'm coming, Nemo!
Oh, thank goodness. It's all right, son.
How did you come to Finding Nemo?
How would-- How did that come about?
They contacted me, and to convince me,
they flew me up to Pixar.
And they did the cutest thing
I've ever seen.
They took a scene
from Defending Your Life
and put it in the fish's mouth.
Look, I'm guilty.
I didn't make enough money, okay?
Call me a hippie, send me to hell.
I give up.
I said, "All right. I'm in."
Hey, you're a clownfish.
You're funny, right? Hey, tell us a joke.
Yeah, come on. Give us a funny one.
Well, actually,
that's a common misconception.
Clownfish are no funnier
than any other fish.
There's a story I heard that
when you went to the first preview--
It was the premier.
And I think Jake was maybe four.
-And after that fish killed everybody
but my one son,
he ran out of the theater.
I was old enough to kind of understand
that like, that was my dad's voice.
But I was young enough
to not understand, like, what I was.
And my mom would say,
"That's you. That's daddy.
That's you. That's you."
Then I go to the movie.
And in my mind, I'm genuinely Nemo.
Like I'm the fish. There's no difference.
And then one scene in,
the mom gets, like, murdered by this fish.
You know, I'm processing the death.
And I'm crying, and we had to leave.
Then my mom had to be like,
"No, no, no. I'm here.
I'm here. It's not real."
Finding Nemo kind of took
the world by storm.
I remember I was, like, nine.
It was my first time
going to sleepaway camp,
and I was so homesick and nervous.
I would cry a lot.
And then all of a sudden,
Finding Nemo was playing on the bus.
And I didn't know anyone.
I was just sitting there, watching my dad,
like, "It's gonna be okay."
There, there, there.
It's okay. Daddy's here.
Daddy's got you.
-And then you also wrote a book?
-I did. I was very proud of that book,
called "Twenty Thirty, The Real Story
of What Happens to America."
And I wanted to do
a real near-future story.
The main conflict of this is the olds
versus, sort of, the younger generations.
Yes. I feel and I can see it
in my own children
that in a number of years,
these younger people
are gonna try to kill us.
You mind if I would do something?
-No, please.
-'Cause I know in this--
In the mass world of media,
things don't get attention
-unless they go viral.
-Right. Right.
Would you mind if I hold this up
and kiss you on the lips?
The president, as you know,
has a pretty darn good sense of humor.
And he felt that maybe the only way
to really understand somebody
was to see what makes them laugh.
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
was an interesting experience.
We'd like for you to head up a project.
Take a month, go to India and Pakistan,
write a 500-page report,
and tell us what makes the Muslims laugh.
You'd be doing a hell of a service
for your country.
Things were getting crazy in our world.
-And I sort of wanted to show
that you could say the word "Muslim"
and not be killed.
Tonight's a very special night
because by what you laugh at,
you're gonna teach me who you are.
Why is there no Halloween in India?
'Cause they took away the Gandhi.
All right. I've been, you know,
touring around your lovely country.
I was in Kashmir last weekend.
Went to visit one of my sweaters.
You know what I'm thinking here?
And possibly this is our fault
because we put
a couple of different languages
on the fliers.
How many understand me?
If you speak English,
would you raise your hand? How many?
All of you? Oh, God.
The picture was supposed
to come out in the fall.
They had made all the posters.
They had made everything.
Then the Danish cartoons happened.
-Oh, yes, yes.
-And Sony said,
"We can't release a movie
with the word Muslim in it."
And they said, "If you don't change it
to Looking for Comedy,
we're not gonna release it."
And I said, "I made the movie
for the title. It's the point."
So, after a big studio drops you
for a specific reason,
other studios start to go,
"Well, maybe they know something."
-"Why do we wanna--"
-Yeah, yeah.
So, anyway, they threw us to the curb,
and we went with Warner Independent.
-I remember, we had a meeting.
You know, these meetings,
where they give you the advertising plan.
And I came in
and I was waiting for, you know,
what television stations, what--
And they were trying
to make it a good thing.
"We're not gonna go TV."
"No, no. The world's changing."
"We're gonna do something
much more interesting." "What?"
"Well, we're gonna do
a little thing on Jdate."
"Oh, God!" And you leave saying,
"It's dead. There's nothing I can do."
-Wow. Wow.
-Now, let me tell you the funny thing.
You know where the movie premiered?
-At the Dubai Film Festival.
They asked me to watch it
with the head, the sheikh.
-So, I went up there
into this little balcony.
It's five of his friends
and five women sitting
in the other section.
And people were just on the phone
-the whole time.
-Wow. Yeah, yeah.
But I had a joke in that movie
that I was waiting to see
what they would do.
And that's when I was in India
interviewing assistants.
I interviewed one after another
after another.
And this one woman came
and I asked her all these questions.
"Do you think you know--
Do you know the city?
Can you type?"
And then she said, "I can do all of that.
I have a question for you."
You're not a Jew, are you?
Not this minute.
I mean, sometimes I am.
How much of the time?
And I was waiting for that,
sitting next to the sheikh.
You know, and he got off his phone.
"You're not a Jew, are you?"
Off the phone.
Looked up at the screen.
"Not all the time."
-Big laugh.
-Big laugh from the women.
Back to the phones.
I mean, I'm listening to all of this,
and I'm getting a person
who's been defending his life.
-You've been defending yourself against--
-Every goddamn minute.
-And it still doesn't stop.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
It just enters another phase of defending.
-I had a very famous agent,
and he said to me,
"I don't know why
you always take the hard road."
-Yeah, yeah.
-And my answer was,
"You think I see two roads,
-and I don't."
"If there was an easy road,
I'd have a house there."
I said, "What do you think, I get up,
I can't wait for the goddamn trouble
I'm gonna get into?"
I said, "I don't see-- I see one road!"
is the real me.
Thank you very much.
I hope to see you again some time.
I remember, the first time
I met him was here.
-At our house?
And he came up, and he said
some nice complimentary things to me.
And I thought-- Oh, well, I mean...
-that was like a big night for me...
-Yeah. Yeah.
...that I had Albert Brook's approval.
-That really meant a lot to me.
I met Albert with Garry Shandling.
And we went out to dinner with him.
I remember I went home
and wrote down everything Albert said.
I think my main memory of him
is, like, him in the house in a bathrobe,
kind of just moseying around,
but he had this lion brain
where he would just, like, you know,
he's so freaking smart.
I am like the hardest
to get a laugh out of,
so he always likes to imitate me
when he tells jokes and it's like...
You know? That's it.
He's such a mensch, you know?
Such a mensch.
When I was, like, invited
to go on a walk with him,
it was like-- I felt like
I had done something right
in my comedic career.
He suggested,
"Well, we could get together."
And he said, "You know, if that's not
a good time for you, you can say no."
He said,
"You won't be hurting my feelings."
He said, "I left my feelings
on the Warner Brothers lot in 1978."
I think he unapologetically
played to the band,
you know, which was cool.
If you're watching it, you enjoyed it.
Because if you got it,
you really felt special.
Just fearless, funny.
He's so fucking hot.
-He got a wife?
Yeah, okay. Well, you know,
I was gonna offer up my uterus...
-I see. I see.
-...but I'm cool.
If I could get one tattoo,
maybe I'd get the nest egg
tattooed somewhere on my body.
He will always be
a filmmaker's filmmaker.
You had to put him with Woody
and Chaplin and those people
who controlled all parts of their film,
who made it an extension of themselves.
And what you didn't want to happen
watching an Albert Brooks movie,
you'd never wanted the scenes to ever end.
It's just a body of work over time
that is so singular, and impressive,
and hilarious, and heartbreaking.
I would rather have
Albert's career than my career.