Carl Reiner's son Rob Reiner and best friend Mel Brooks are remembering the late comedian ahead of what would have been his 99th birthday.
Rob, 74, and Brooks, 94, appeared on Today Friday, the day before Carl's birthday, to discuss his legacy. The pair also celebrated the news that Carl's archives — including his scripts, footage, creative papers and other artifacts — will be donated to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York.
"He had a great life; he didn't have any emotional loose ends to tie up," Rob said of the Dick Van Dyke Show creator, who died in June of natural causes. "I talked to him that day and told him how much I love him, he told me how much he loved me and he even said to me that day, 'I've done everything I've ever wanted to do in my life.'"
Brooks remembered his late friend as "so good, so giving, so loving" and reflected on how he helped others shine.
"He'd always let me take the spotlight," the Young Frankenstein director said. "He was one of the funniest guys that ever lived and yet he stepped back graciously and said, 'You're the comic, I'm just the straight man.'"
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"And I said, 'Carl, first of all, you're much taller than I am and just for that you deserve a round of applause,'" Brooks joked.
Rob said Carl "set the best possible example for how to live a life" as a father.
"I watched the way he conducted his life, the way he treated other people, the way he handled himself in his show business world, the way he handled his fame — I never met anybody who ever said anything mean or nasty about him," said the When Harry Met Sally director.
He continued, "He was just a good guy, he was a good person. He set the best possible example for how to live a life and that's what he taught me."
Rob added that it's "very exciting" to see Carl's archives heading to the National Comedy Center, of which Carl was a founding Advisory Board member.
In addition to serving as a home for the Reiner Archives, the center has created The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation, a "central hub for all archival and preservation work within the Comedy Center, as it continues its mission to present the history of comedy and preserve comedy's heritage for future generations," according to a release.
A multimedia exhibit on Carl's work and contribution to comedy will debut at the National Comedy Center in 2022 in honor of what would have been his centennial birthday.
"People called our father a comic genius, and his gift was his ability to transform discomfort or pain into pleasure and fun," Rob and his siblings, Annie and Lucas, said in a joint statement. "His humor made people feel good, starting with those of us around him, and then pretty much the whole world. He would be so thrilled to know that the National Comedy Center's archives department is being named for him and that his work will be preserved there, that he would jump in the air, do a scissor kick and sing La Donna e Mobile at the top of his lungs."
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