Mel Brooks Promises He Won’t Sell His Peabody Award in Joke-Filled Acceptance Speech: ‘Humility Is Not Part of My Vocabulary’

The first Peabody Awards to take place in Los Angeles bestowed a Career Achievement Award on the legendary comedian

Mel Brooks at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Peabody Awards)
Mel Brooks at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Peabody Awards)

Comedy legend Mel Brooks joked that he won’t sell the Career Achievement Award during his acceptance speech at the 84th Annual Peabody Awards on Sunday, referencing when he previously said he sold his very first Academy Award that he won for writing the 1967 film “The Producers.”

“I promised the George Foster Peabody people I will not sell this one,” Brooks said after accepting his award Sunday night at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Before the comedian delivered his Peabody speech, a montage of his work over the years — including “The Producers” “History of the World, Part 1,” and “Get Smart” — played for the audience. Billy Crystal, who referred to Brooks as his “mentor,” presented the award.

“For over 70 years, Mel has entertained us. I just want to ask you folks: where would we be without him,” Crystal, the Emmy and Tony award-winner said in his presentation. “His incredible contribution to American culture … and becoming only the fourth P.E.G.O.T. winner … It’s a big deal, I’m just an E.T,” he said, referring the fact that Brooks now has a Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.

When Brooks took the stage, he acknowledged the Peabody committee for recognizing his creative contributions to Hollywood. And he, of course, threw in a few jokes while he was at it.

“There’s so many things to say, but I do want to say, the things on the screen, I feel redundant,” the 97-year-old said. “I mean, there’s so much … who is this Mel Brooks, who’s this guy? Anyway, I want to tell you, I wasn’t sure when they said, ‘You’ve won a Peabody,’ I said, ‘Oh, no s—t?’ I thought, ‘Oh, maybe it was for being the best looking guy in show business.”

He continued: “I’d like to say, ‘I humbly,’ but I’m not humble. Humility is not part of my vocabulary. I don’t even know how to spell it, I think humility probably starts with a ‘U.’ I have no idea. Anyway, as Bob Hope used to say, ‘But seriously, folks,’ this is a great honor. And it has been one, a distinguished group of esteemed people found me worth winning this award, and I feel a little, I don’t know, you really want me to be part of this? These are people that go to good restaurants. Anyway, but seriously, thank you for this prestigious and fabulous support. And I promised the George Foster Peabody people I will not sell this one.”

This 2024 Peabody Awards was the first Peabody Awards since the COVID-19 pandemic and the first Peabody Awards to ever be hosted in Los Angeles. The ceremony has only taken place in New York City in all of its 83-year-old existence. Comedian and actor Kumal Nanjiani served as host for the event. Brooks now falls in line with previous Peabody Career Achievement award winners Lily Tomlin, Dan Rather, Sam Pallad and more.

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