UPPER WEST SIDE — Legendary comedy team Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller branched out for a good cause Tuesday, shooting a public service announcement for the city's MillionTreesNYC initiative.
The two showbiz vets filmed the ad on a tree-lined block at West 84th Street and Riverside Drive, where they've lived since 1965 — the same year their son, actor Ben Stiller, was born.
The ad features Jerry Stiller, 84, and Meara, 83, cooing over a baby carriage at an unseen infant, debating whether they're too old for rearing a newborn.
The punchline? They're talking to a baby tree.
The promotion is meant to encourage New Yorkers to adopt trees so the city can reach its goal of planting 1 million new trees across all five boroughs by 2017.
So far, 560,000 new trees have been put in the ground, said MillionTreesNYC director Morgan Monaco.
"We want people to personify trees and think of them as people," Monaco said. "When you think of someone as your family member, you're more likely to look after them and care for them."
The city offers free tree care classes and free buckets to anyone who wants to adopt and care for a young tree, which can require 15 to 20 gallons of water per week during hot dry summer months, Monaco said.
Like many Upper West Siders, Meara and Stiller answered with a mix of wisecracking and genuine appreciation for nature when asked why they agreed to film the do-gooder ad.
"You want [me to say] noble s--t, right?" quipped Meara, who added that trees improve the air and "lift the spirits" of New Yorkers.
Stiller and Meara worked side-by-side as a comedy team in the 1960s, appearing regularly on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Stiller was also well-known for his role as George Costanza's father on "Seinfeld," and Meara has acted in dozens of movies and on TV in shows like "The King of Queens."
Stiller confessed to a lifelong love affair with trees that was sparked when his sixth-grade teacher in Brooklyn sang the Joyce Kilmer poem, "Trees." Stiller, who said he moved from one tenement to another as a kid, added his family was thrilled to find two trees on their street when they moved to East New York.
"That was very new to us," Stiller said. "That changed my life."
Meara shot back, "You were poor, I wasn't. I was much better off. I lived in the country and we had trees."
Stiller said he's such a fan of trees that he wouldn't mind coming back as one in another life.
"I used to walk in Central Park, and if I'd see a clump of trees that seemed to appeal to me, I’d stop," Stiller said. "Then I said to myself, some day when I go, I wouldn’t mind being one of these trees. You get to be a certain age, and a tree ain’t a bad place to go to."