The web series “Dispatches From Quarantine” — which has been chronicling the coronavirus quarantines of famous entertainers as they stay at home — featured what turned out to be Carl Reiner’s final interview. In it, the 98-year-old Reiner, who died Monday, talks about his love of comedy, meeting his wife and having kids, and creating the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” which he calls “my best work.”
He also talks about meeting Mel Brooks for the first time on “Your Show of Shows.” It was a friendship that endured: During quarantine, Reiner says of Brooks, “He comes every night. We watch ‘Jeopardy,’ among other things. We watch movies we remember fondly, you know, old-time movies.”
On Tuesday, Brooks tweeted about Reiner’s death:
— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) June 30, 2020
“Dispatches From Quarantine” was created by Tiffany Woolf and Noam Dromi for Silver Screen Studios and Reboot, and has also featured interviews with Ellen Burstyn, Tommy Chong, Larry King and Norman Lear, among others. The Reiner interview was recorded May 12, and went live on June 22.
One bit cut from it that Variety has exclusively is Reiner talking about God. “Man invented God, God didn’t invent man,” Reiner says in the video excerpt. “If God existed, where was he during Hitler’s time?”
Reiner says that such questions after the Holocaust led him to become a “very confirmed atheist.”
He then tells a story from “God Almighty,” a play written by Tony Webster, in which a man dies and goes to heaven, and meets God, who doesn’t remember creating people. “I’m Man, I was made in your image,” he says, but God still doesn’t remember. God asks the man what he does. “He decides to do a soft-shoe,” Reiner says. “Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly doing a soft-shoe, you can’t not melt when you see something that.”