On Tuesday, the world lost a legend: comic writer, director, and performer Carl Reiner. He was 98 years old. Over his long career, Reiner had many triumphs: creating The Dick Van Dyke Show, directing The Jerk, and, later life, stealing whole chunks of the Ocean’s Eleven films. But he also had great success alongside his longtime best friend, Mel Brooks. The two frequently whipped out their beloved act, the “2000 Year Old Man,” in which Brooks played the titular super-old-timer while Reiner played his straight man interviewer.
The two stayed tight since the 1950s, over some seven decades, all the way to the end. On the day of the sad news, Brooks issued a public tribute to the man with whom he watched silly action movies just about every night.
Brooks released the statement on his Twitter account, which read as follows:
Carl was a giant, unmatched in his contributions to entertainment. He created comedy gems like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Jerk, and Where’s Poppa? I met him in 1950 when he joined Sid Caesar on Your Show of Shows, and we’ve been best friends ever since. I loved him. When we were doing The 2000 Year Old Man together there was no better straight man in the world. So whether he wrote or performed or he was just your best friend — nobody could do it better. He’ll be greatly missed. A tired cliché in times like this, but in Carl Reiner’s case it’s absolutely true. He will be greatly missed.
Reiner and Brooks’ routine of dining on tray tables while watching TV has been documented in a New York Times interview from 2009 and in an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It’s too bad it never became a TV show.