Mel Brooks Strikes Back!
“I kinda wink.” That’s how funnyman and filmmaker Brooks describes his attitude toward comedy in this engaging interview before a live audience. Modest, charming, and always funny, Brooks recalls his childhood in Brooklyn, his time in the Army during World War II, and, most effectively, his career, from Your Show of Shows on TV to such big-screen successes as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. Monday, Dec. 10, at 9 p.m., HBO
American Chopper—Chopper Live: The Revenge
In a two-night event that marks the finale of the decade-old series American Chopper, the father-and-son stars square off against each other as well as the stars of Outlaw Garage and Fast N’ Loud to see who can build the best bike. On Monday, viewers will vote; then on Tuesday, the contest concludes live from Las Vegas’s Hard Rock Hotel, where the guests will include rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Monday–Tuesday, Dec. 10–11, at 9 p.m., Discovery
Wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson returns to India’s Ranthambore National Park to capture what may be his final footage of Machli, a spirited tigress he has filmed and photographed for nearly 15 years. The nature documentary is part of Big Cat Week, which also focuses on lions, cheetahs, and other species. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 10 p.m., Nat Geo Wild
The Concert for Sandy Relief
Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam are among the artists scheduled to perform at Madison Square Garden to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy via the Robin Hood Relief Fund. At press time, HBO, AMC, Showtime, and Sundance Channel planned to air the event, with other networks and broadcast channels expected to join. Wednesday night, Dec. 12, various networks; check listings
Winter in Portlandia
The sketch series Portlandia doesn’t officially resume poking fun at the counterculture of Portland, Ore., until Jan. 4, but this seasonal special provides an appetizer. Sketches include artisan curators offering a winter package at their Outlet Hotel, a bohemian couple struggling to stay slim, and a holiday visit to the feminist bookstore. Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein are the show’s creators and stars. Friday, Dec. 14, at 10:30 p.m., IFC
Who keeps the peace in an Amish community? This new docuseries follows the group of men who assume the work of administering justice in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m., Discovery
Live From Lincoln Center: The Richard Tucker Opera Gala
Soprano Ailyn Pérez, winner of the 2012 Tucker Award, will be among the singers performing classic arias in this annual celebration. Thursday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m., PBS; check local listings
Saturday Night Live
Former cast member Martin Short returns to host the show; Paul McCartney will be the musical guest. Saturday, Dec. 15, at 11:30 p.m., NBC
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- 16 characters from other languages that make great emoticons
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Ban PowerPoint!
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
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