Albert Brooks: The hilarious futurist

Please don’t hate Albert Brooks because he’s brilliant and hilarious, and don’t be intimidated by his intelligence.

Whatever Brooks wants to riff on or write about, even if his next movie entirely takes place in the Q-Tip industry, it’s sure to be singularly hilarious and brilliant. 

You can imagine Brooks trying to pitch that in a meeting, it would probably be similar to his pitch to the casino owner in Lost In America where he begs for his money back: “As the boldest experiment in advertising, give us our money back! Think of the publicity! The Desert Inn has heart!”


Brooks also proved to be a bit of a futurist with his first film, Real Life, which was his comedic take on the original reality TV show, An American Family, and it also had a hilarious 3D trailer, which of course didn’t provide glasses for the audience, but like he said in the coming attraction, just borrow some red and blue cellophane from the person next to you.

Way back in ’79, Brooks told the L.A. Times that what he made fun of in Real Life is “a subject that’s really just beginning. There are kids running around today with camera filming everything that goes on…Intrusion is really one of the themes of the movie.”


Brooks doesn’t make movies as often as his fans would like, he’s spent a lot of time raising money for his films, more time than he would have liked, so he’s enjoyed taking acting roles more (you’ll recognize him as the voice of Marlin in Finding Nemo), and now he’s written his first novel, Twenty Thirty: The Real Story of What Happens to America.


Published by St. Martin’s Press, this is a novel about the future, and in Brooks’s vision of 2030, we finally have a cure for cancer, we’re living longer than ever, but the economy is still in the toilet, and we’re hit by a 9.1 earthquake. We’re looking to China to bail us out, but only if they get co-ownership of L.A. in the deal.

Publishers Weekly called a “smart surprisingly serious debut…like something from the imagination of a borscht belt H.G. Wells.” 

The Boston Globe has called It “an inspired work of social science fiction,” and The New York Times has called it “often ingenious.”


The fact that it’s more serious than people would expect from Albert Brooks is definitely surprising, but the fact that it’s very intelligent, and could prove somewhat prophetic definitely shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially fans of Brooks who also find him “often ingenious” as well.