Hollywood director, writer and producer Mel Brooks is the master of genre parody. 

He’s taken on the Hollywood Western in Blazing Saddles, horror films in Young Frankenstein and  Hitchcock thrillers in High Anxiety and sci-fi in Space Balls.

He pioneered parody on American TV in 1965 by producing, with Buck Henry, the spy spoof Get Smart, with Don Adams as the not-so-suave version of James Bond,

He had us laughing at The Producers — the parody of Broadway that features the song Springtime for Hitler — first on screen in 1968 and then on stage, in 2001.

Brooks has won Tonys, Emmys (including one for acting in Mad About You), Grammys, and an Oscar (best screenplay for The Producers)  along with a Kennedy Center honour and a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

In an interview with CBC Radio's cultural affairs show "Q", Brooks talks about his career in comedy and what he finds funny.

"There's always the need, the wish and the inevitability in any creative comic of telling the truth, dropping the other shoe," Brooks says.

This summer, he will receive the American Film Institute's highest honour, the lifetime achievement award.

He also the subject of the latest PBS American Masters documentary called Mel Brooks: Make a Noise to  premiere on PBS on Monday, May 20.