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Yeah, so he had a hand in making Meathead. So what? Carl Reiner’s most impressive papa job was his pivotal role in the birth of the greatest comedy routine of all time: the 2000-Year-Old Man. Indeed, as Reiner’s new memoir, My Anecdotal Life, tells it, it was he—and not Mel Brooks—who originally conjured up the classic bit. It was 1950. Reiner was 28 (years before he created The Dick Van Dyke Show and directed The Jerk), Brooks was 24 (years before he co-created Get Smart and directed Blazing Saddles), and they were both working on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows. One Sunday night, Reiner heard a dead-serious radio program in which bad actors impersonated people in the news—including a plumber who worked on Josef Stalin’s toilet. When the show staff gathered on Monday, Reiner, an idea burning in his melon, motioned to an unsuspecting, unprepared Brooks: “‘Here with us today, ladies and gentlemen…is a man who was actually at the scene of the Crucifixion, two thousand years ago.’” Brooks, of course, didn’t miss a beat: “Mel, aging before our eyes, sighed and allowed a sad ‘Oooooh, boy’ to escape from the depths of his soul….I pressured the Old Man and asked, ‘You knew Jesus?’….’Jesus…yes, yes…thin lad…wore sandals…always walked around with twelve other guys…yes, yes, they used to come into the store a lot…never bought anything…they came in for water…I gave it to them…nice boys, well-behaved.’” And just like that, careers—and legends—were made. Reiner riffs through the years at 6:30 p.m., Monday, May 5, at the National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th and Constitution Avenue NW. $20. (202) 357-3030. (Sean Daly)