One Of History Of The World, Part I’s Most Memorable Jokes Was A Last-Minute Addition From Mel Brooks

The film begins with a segment showing the discovery of fire during the Stone Age and how cavemen created the first societies and the first rules, from marriage to funerals, and even music. Apparently, the segment and the vibe on set were so illuminating that it made Brooks pivot from his original idea and write a whole segment just for the sake of a last-minute joke.

“I’d better go to biblical times,” Brooks said in an interview with the Directors Guild of America. “I was going to skip the Bible and go to Rome.” 

“I said, ‘No, I’ve got the set, just turn that thing around and it will be the mountaintop, and I did the Moses bit. ‘The Lord Jehovah has … these 15 …’ Crash! I drop one of the tablets. ‘Ten, ten commandments.'”

Sure, the “It’s good to be the king” line is quoted a lot, and is one of the most remembered lines from the film, but one could argue that the above joke about the ten commandments should be just as well remembered. It is a simple, short scene, but one that plays to Brooks’ skills. The filmmaker and comedian have long excelled at making jokes that play with audiences’ expectations and prior knowledge, whether it’s their knowledge of the plot of “Star Wars” or the number of commandments given to Moses.

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