Delivering one of the night's funniest lines, Martin Short quipped: "The thing about Mel is he never lets his love of Scientology affect his work."
Billy Crystal recalled how, after years of idolizing Mel Brooks, he finally met him at a PTA meeting, and confessed, "It was Mel who really made me want to be a comedian -- up close, there is nobody funnier."
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro, a pastAFI Life Achievement winner, complained that Mel Brooks had never cast him in his films.
Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler paid tribute to Mel Brooks during the black-tie dinner at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Sarah Silverman, known for her button-pushing topical humor, took the stage to testify her love for Mel Brooks.
Quirky late-night host Conan O'Brien was among the starry roster of speakers paying homage to the Oscar-winning writer, performer and director.
Cloris Leachman, one of the comedy icon's troupe of onscreen repertory players, observed, "As you may know, I have an Oscar. I won it in 1971 for The Last Picture Show. I started working with Mel Brooks a year later and I haven't won one since -- not even a nomination, bupkis."
Past AFI Life Achievement winner Morgan Freeman was also on hand for the star-studded tribute.
David Lynch directed The Elephant Man, which was produced by Mel Brooks’ production company Brooksfilms.
Martin Scorsese, who presented Mel Brooks with his AFI Life Achievement Award, reminded the crowd of the long tradition of classic American film comedy, noting “that is a tradition of true greatness to which Mel Brooks does not belong because Mel has made his own tradition of greatness."
Martin Scorsese and Mel Brooks
"This is nearly an important occasion," quipped Mel Brooks, upon receiving the honor from Martin Scorsese.
Martin Scorsese and Mel Brooks
"Normally, I don’t agree with the AFI choices. Tonight, I kinda do. I thank them for this honor," said Mel Brooks in his acceptance speech.
Carl Reiner, riffing on one of Mel Brooks' most famous catchphrases, "It's good to be the king," said of his decades-long friendship with the comedy legend, "Well, Mel, it's better to be one of your subjects, because you have made your subjects laugh."
Bob Gazzale, Mel Brooks and Howard Stringer
Welcoming guests to the dinner, Howard Stringer,chair of the AFI board of trustees, proclaimed: "Yes, I know, Mel has himself said, 'I've been accused of vulgarity.' I say that’s bullshit!"
"Finally, a Lifetime Achievement Award for Mel Brooks -- wow, what an eloquent way to say, hey, let’s wrap it up," cracked Sarah Silverman from the stage.
Judd Apatow and Jay Roach
Comedy directors Judd Apatow and Jay Roach joined in on the fun at AFI's Mel Brooks tribute.
Great Gatsby actress Isla Fisher is married to another funnyman, Sacha Baron Cohen.
Richard Lewis and Larry David
"I said to myself, I can never, ever be a comedian. What’s the point? So Mel Brooks didn’t get me into comedy -- he kept me away from it. I wasted years doing nothing because of him," joked Larry David.
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