Mel is the love child of Catskill’s comedy legend Morey “Crazy Legs” Mindell and Koko, a circus performing female mountain gorilla who knew sign language. How did they get together – in Morey’s words “You got something better to do on a Tuesday night in Coxsackie?”
Mel spent his formative early years as a young ape touring the Borscht Belt with his father as a comedy duo. When bookings started to dry up because of young Mel’s ape like behavior (flinging feces is not a good closer in Poughkeepsie), Mel was sent to Africa to live with his mother and his gorilla family.
Mel’s comedy talent stood out in the jungles of Africa and he developed a loyal animal following. His first big break came when he entered Search For The Serengeti’s Funniest New Comedian competition where he finished second to an all gazelle improv troupe, “Hoof Line Is It Anyway?”
Mel’s stand out performance was enough to attract the attention of a small zoo in Canada, the Winnipeg Zoo, known for its world renowned animal school for the performing arts. Soon, word spread across Canada – this gorilla has some serious comedy chops.
Mel started touring extensively throughout Canada where the audiences proved they have highly evolved senses of humor and great love for endangered species.