Nobody loves Albert Brooks more than myself…nobody. I’ve worshipped him since the early ’70s…a long time. In fact, please listen or re-listen to this relaxed 2012 phoner I did with him…sounds good, nobody’s trying too hard, only 11 years old.

Rest assured I’ll be watching Albert Brooks; Defending My Life (HBO, 11.11) without fail, but I wish these tribute docs could occasionally be different or surprising in some way. You know what I mean. I wish they could somehow unfold without the same old talking heads delivering the same old praise cliches. Make no mistake — Brooks deserves all praise and more, but he also deserves ingenuity and unusualness from his admirers.

I would rather watch an essay piece in which some bright person analyzes Brooks’ best material (stand-up, SNL, self-directed movies, performances for other directors) and then ties them all together…ties his life together in terms of universal themes and how his films reflected the changing zeitgeist, etc. I’d like to see an Albert Brooks tribute doc that’s conceived, written, performed and directed by Brooks himself…how about that?

VF: What is your idea of perfect happiness? Brooks: Not sure what happiness means. Need to look that up. VF: Which historical figure do you most identify with? Brooks: Pete Best. VF: What is your most marked characteristic? Brooks: Let’s just say Milton Berle and I share something other than comedy. VF: What do you most value in your friends? Brooks: That they dislike the same people I do. VF: Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Brooks: The second of the three little pigs. In normal usage his stick house should have been sufficient—he just happened to come across a once-in-a-lifetime event. The first pig was stupid; the third pig had obsessive-compulsive disorder.