Carl Reiner Interview: ‘If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast’
At 96 years old, Carl Reiner became the oldest Emmy nominee in history this year for narrating the HBO documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” which he also stars in. It’s not a bad record to break, especially considering, as he reveals, the film “fell into my lap accidentally.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Reiner above.
The idea began with Reiner’s nephew, talent agent and “Seinfeld” producer George Shapiro, who wanted to shine a light on people who have remained active well into their 90s and beyond. “He went around and found marathon runners who were running in their 100s,” Reiner explains. “I had mentioned the fact that I get up in the morning and I read the newspapers, and if I’m not in the obituary, I’ll have breakfast. Somebody thought that was a very good title,” and the TV legend became the film’s host.
Among the vital nonagenarians interviewed include fellow icons Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Norman Lear, Betty White, Tony Bennett, Stan Lee, and Kirk Douglas. “I’ve been an emcee almost from the day I was a kid,” says Reiner. All his life he’s enjoyed being a man “who points people to things they might enjoy,” and he took this film as an opportunity to do that.
Reiner already has nine Emmys on his shelf: two for “Caesar’s Hour” (Best TV Supporting Actor in 1957 and 1958), five for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (Best Comedy Writing from 1962-1964; Best Series in 1965 and 1966), one for “The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coco, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special” (Best Variety Writing in 1967), and most recently one for “Mad About You” (Best Comedy Guest Actor in 1995). In our chat, we also discuss his induction into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1999 and being honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in 2000.