Initially I felt two things when I watched the new trailer for HBO’s upcoming documentary, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” which features some well-known Jewish entertainers answering the question: What’s the secret to living into your ’90s? I felt a mixture of sadness and love for relatives and friends I’ve lost throughout my life, then an undeniable appreciation for the numerous stars featured in the doc who remain, well, inspirations. We’re talking: Reiner, Mel Brooks, Betty White, Stan Lee, Dick Van Dyke, Tony Bennett, Kirk Douglas (the oldest, at 100), Fyvush Finkel, composer Irving Fields (who died in 2016 at the age of 101), actress Patricia Morison, and Jerry Seinfeld who, though he isn’t even close to 90, has “already reserved the stage at Caesar’s Palace for his 100th birthday show,” which just makes so much sense.
Also featured are Ida Keeling, a 101-year-old female runner, and 98-year-old female yoga teacher Täo Porchon-Lynch.
Somehow, watching these nonagenarians and centenarians makes me feel old. Their energy and zest for life is incredible, which, of course, is the point.
Here’s Reiner, Seinfeld, and Brooks in Jerry’s series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which is just a hoot. Brooks, who turned 90 last June, spoke with Tablet’s Ivor Davis, sharing with the writer perhaps a clue as to his longevity: Brooks eats “a pumpernickel bagel—the thin half only—with cream cheese and seedless raspberry jelly and a glass of Ovaltine—with cold, nonfat milk” before shows to prepare. He also talks about his favorite Jewish movies, the 2000 Year Old Man, and so much more.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.