For old school comedy aficionados, no one holds a candle to the genius of Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Jerk), Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights), Norman Lear (All In The Family, The Jeffersons), George Shapiro (Seinfeld), and Dick Van Dyke (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Diagnosis Murder). Having been friends for decades, when Reiner decided to make a film about folks in their 90s who continue to blossom, he turned to his friends first! If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast is as inspiring as documentaries get. Not only do viewers get to learn about the friendships between the aforementioned men, but Reiner also interviews other nonagenarians like Betty White, Kirk Douglas, 98-year old yogi Tao Porchon-Lynch, and comic book writer Stan Lee. We were lucky enough to attend the premiere of the film earlier this month in Beverly Hills, and had the chance to speak with Dick Van Dyke and George Shapiro on the red carpet. Read our interview below, watch the trailer, and get inspired by watching If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast today, only on HBO!
Is there an overarching message that you’d like viewers to come away with after watching the documentary?
Dick Van Dyke: Well, I think keep moving is it! That’s got to be the thing! Eating right and all that is fine, but the body was made to move. The mind/body connection. They’re finding that people who exercise don’t get Alzheimer’s and don’t get senile. The brain works along with the body so you’ve got to keep moving!
George Shapiro: I think when viewers see this they’re going to be inspired! I’ve often said that if you asked me about three or four years ago if I’d like to make it to 100, my answer would have been “absolutely not.” I would say, “no thank you, thanks for the offer, but you know, early 90s is plenty,” but I’m seeing these people like Norman Lear, at 95, just starting a new series! It got picked up for 13 episodes!
Dick, you spoke a little bit about your goals around exercise in the trailer for the film. You said at 30 you did it to look good, but now in your 90s you’re just doing it just for the hell of it, right?
Yeah! When I was 50 I did it to stay fit. In my 70s I did it to stay ambulatory. In my 80s I did it to avoid assisted living. Now I’m just doing it out of pure defiance!
George, there seems to be two schools of thought about the way to live life, you’re either going to live a healthy life, treating your body like a temple or you’re going to indulge in vices and live the best life you can live. What do you think is the right path to follow?
Well I think that the key is not to go to extremes. Like, for instance, I never deprive myself. I’ll eat anything at any time that’s exciting. I just found this great pizza place in New York—Jerry Seinfeld took me there and it was incredible!
When it comes to keeping your body in good shape, like Dick said, you have to keep moving. I do run in the morning. I run every other morning! And when I don’t run, I work out, so I do keep active. Also, another big asset for me and Jerry Seinfeld is transcendental meditation. We both do TM. It’s an incredible asset. It’s that plus keeping in motion, but also not depriving yourself. That’s the true joy of life, and you just tweak and make adjustments along the way!