Brooks and Reiner first collaborated as writers on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, going on to form a comedy duo in 1960. They created the classic routine “The 2,000 Year Old Man” together, with Reiner playing straight man to Brooks’ ancient character, and remained close friends in the decades that followed.
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“Carl was a giant, unmatched in his contributions to entertainment,” Brooks wrote in a statement posted on social media. “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.”
In recent years, Brooks would go over to Reiner’s house almost every night to eat dinner and watch Jeopardy! and a movie, preferably one featuring the line “Secure the perimeter” and/or “You better get some rest.” (A 2012 episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee documented this ritual, with host Jerry Seinfeld joining Reiner and Brooks for the evening.)
Asked for the key to their decades-long friendship in a 2009 New York Times interview, Reiner replied, “Our wives liked each other.”
“We all were just in perfect harmony. We liked the same kinds of things,” Brooks added, to which Reiner quipped, “Except food. He can’t eat onions.”