The 2,000 Year Old Man

Inside the National Recording Registry

Friday, May 03, 2013

It began as a time-filler during a lull in the writer’s room; became a favorite party gag; then was captured on a 1961 album — “the comedian’s Bible,” says Billy Crystal. Carl Reiner, as the straight-man interviewer, would paint Mel Brooks, his millennia-old guest, into a corner, and Brooks would invent ingenious ways out. (Explaining his longevity: “I never run to catch a bus.”) The routine shifted comedy from a series of jokes toward more complex, character-based scenarios. Crystal and Carl Reiner’s son, Rob Reiner, explain why "2000-Year-Old Man" will live forever.

The album 2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks was chosen for preservation in 2008 in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

Studio 360’s series Inside the National Recording Registry was just honored with a 2012 Peabody Award.
Listen to more stories from the series

(Originally aired: December 18, 2009)

    Music Playlist
  • Two Thousand Years
    Artist: The Who
    Album: Endless Wire
    Label: Universal
    Purchase: Amazon

Produced by:

Ben Manilla and Devon Strolovitch

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.