Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Sunday Memory Drawer - My Lunch with Mel Brooks

Well, sort of. We were in the same place. We were literally one table away from each other. I could pretty much hear his whole conversation. If I talked as loud as he did, he could pretty much hear my whole conversation. And he could see what I was eating.
That's where the root of this story lies.
Years ago, I was lunching with a producer-friend of mine at the 20th Century Fox commissary. If you think this is particularly glamorous, you've been watching way too much Entertainment Tonight. I've eaten at both Fox and Warner Brothers, and all the people around you tend not to be stars. They're office people, prop masters, and computer programmers. The closest I ever got was seeing George Clooney stop at the cashier for a pack of Altoids.
But Mel Brooks behind me at Fox was very real. You couldn't miss the manic voice. It bounced off all four walls. I knew he was there, but my friend and I just kept talking. The trick is that you really try to zone in and not focus on the people around you. The waiter brought our food. Mine was a club sandwich and a side of French fries. I started to chow down. I noted that the cacophony at the table behind me had subsided. Mel was off peeing. But his companion was not. She tapped me on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, you're eating French fries."
"You'll have to hide them before Mel comes back."
"Mel loves French fries but he's on a very strict diet right now."
"He can't see you eating French fries."
How does one respond to a request for covert dining? I wondered what kind of consequences would result if Mel Brooks saw my French fries.
"He'll go nuts."
I had no idea why, but I suddenly became conscious of offending Hollywood royalty. I took a piece of leaf lettuce from my sandwich and tucked the French fries underneath it. Mel walked by a few moments later. There were no air raid sirens. He had seen nothing.
Until he left about ten minutes later.
In a comfort zone, I had gotten a little loose with my fries. One had sidled over to the other side of my plate. Mel saw it as he walked by.
An icy glare. His companion quickly hustled him out the door.
I exhaled. Another day in Hollywood.
Dinner last night: Chorizo and scrambled eggs at Lucy's El Adobe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mel is still kicking so you did your part well enough. Why the breakfast at Lucy's for dinner+