In the 1960’s Mel Brooks Wrote a Movie about Catfishing   Leave a comment

Mel Brooks is the greatest comedic mind of the last 100 years.  I know that is a bit of a statement, but I stand by my opinion.  He is one of only a handful of people to have achieved the EGOT.  He has three films on AFI 100 funniest films list, all in the top 15.  Blazing Saddles has been preserved by the Library of Congress as culturally significant film.  He became so well known for comedy that he even needed to leave his name off of his dramatic productions so that people wouldn’t expect them to be funny.  That isn’t to say the hammer hasn’t missed the nail a few times, but overall his career has been pretty astounding.

He will always be the king.

He will always be the king.

But, there was a time back in the 1960’s when he was a young film maker still needing to prove himself.  Brooks talked about this time in his life with CNN while promoting American Masters Mel Brooks (follow the link to see it online) a documentary about his life that aired on PBS this past Monday.  He was asked if there were any movies that he wrote but never made into films and he mentioned one from before he made a name for himself with the original The Producers:

I did a script called “Marriage Is A Dirty Rotten Fraud.” It’s about a guy who gets divorced and the only way out of his big alimony payments is if his ex-wife gets married again. But she hasn’t met anybody and it’s been going on two years, all he’s got left in his life is a grapefruit plant. He has no money. Every penny he makes goes to the alimony. So he decides to make a fictitious character — he knows what she likes — and wear a beard and marry her and then disappear in a drowning accident or something and be off the hook. I never got it sold.

Mel Brooks wrote a movie about catfishing 50 years before it was a thing.  The script is somewhere, probably in his house, and we need to convince him to make it into a movie.

The term catfishing, for those of you who are not with it, means: to create a false online identity in order to sustain a relationship with someone without ever letting them know who you really are.  The word comes from the title of the 2010 film Catfish, a probably-fake-but-maybe-real-documentary about a man, Nev, who discovers that a woman he met and started a relationship with online, Megan, is not real.  She was the fabrication of a woman named Angela, he had believed to have been Megan’s mother.  Angela maintain her fictional life with an elaborate network of fake profiles.  The movie was spun off into a TV show and was thrust into the national spot light when it came out that college football star Manti Te’o was the victim of such a hoax.

Perhaps half a century ago, Brooks, a then an unproven TV comedy writer, had a hard time selling the outlandish film concept as Marriage Is A Dirty Rotten Fraud, but today that sort of thing could actually happen.  Its not even that far fetched.  Just set the movie today and add in and it could be a story on the evening news.


Mel Brooks is in his 80’s and his career has wound down (although I am still hopeful for a Broadway version of Blazing Saddles, which he said might still happen in his CNN interview) so I don’t think that he would be the best choice to modernize this story.  His later works have not been his best.  Perhaps there is another smart writer looking to make his mark today?  One who is well acquainted with the works of Mel Brooks?


Max Brooks,  satirist author of the not shitty version of World War Z  also just happens to be Mel Brooks’ son, making him uniquely qualified to revise the five decade old script.

Edgar Wright is the only person I can see directing it and the movie coming out correctly.  Simon Peg could play the divorcee and Nick Frost would be the not-as-clever-as-he-thinks friend who comes up with the scheme (a character I assume exists because Mel Brooks movies always have a partner in crime).  With a lesser director at the helm it would easily turn into a forgettable Vince Vaugh/ Owen Wilson movie filled with tired hijinks.

I've already forgotten this movie and its not out yet.

I’ve already forgotten this movie and its not even out yet.

A movie that marries the raw writing talent of a young Mel Brooks with one of the hottest/absurd topics of the current era couldn’t be anything less than amazing, as long as it lands in the right hands. The possibility of a new/old Mel Brooks movie coming into existence should have producers knocking on his door and demanding this lost script.  Someone find it.  Someone make this happen.   Or at least get it online so I can read it.

Would a Mel Brooks movie about catfishing get you into theaters?  Who do you think could make it properly?  Tell me below!


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