Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Jerry Lewis Telethon

What would Labor Day be without Jerry? To get you in the mood for this year's telethon, here again are my thoughts on last year's extravaganza.

Okay, I admit it. I unabashedly love the JERRY LEWIS TELETHON. I look forward to it every year…for both the right and wrong reasons.

It does benefit a very worthy cause, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The videos of the kids are both heartbreaking and inspiring. Let’s hope someday there’s a cure.

But the JERRY LEWIS TELETHON is the absolute height of entertainment cheese, a time warp to a Las Vegas scene that everyone but Jerry realizes has long since passed, and is the home of the most insincere sincerity that only show business can create. The treacle just oozes out of your speakers. Born in the swinging 60s, nurtured by Sammy Davis Jr. (combining over-concern, hipness, gross sentimentality, and jewelry), this style was perfected by Jerry Lewis who added his own special touches. No one could beg with such passion while sticking a cigarette in his ear. No one could deliver a biblical sermon, break down crying, then go into his spastic retard character for comic relief.

The Frech call him Le Roi du Crazy. They still shortchange him. Since his auteur movie days he has developed his own unique and delicious blend of condescension and humility. Every year I know what I’m going to get and am always richly rewarded.

This year Jerry called local New York co-host, Tony Orlando: “Only the best Puerto Rican to ever come to this country.”

Now how can you NOT love this???

Nowhere do superlatives fly like the JERRY LEWIS TELETHON. In only one half hour I caught “infamously wonderful”, “exceptional talent”, “most talented”, “most amazing”, “most exciting”, “unmatched”, “extraordinary”, “a true legend”, and “a treasure in every sense of the word.” On the other hand, Jerry described guest David Cassidy as “that little cocker”. He’s probably right but still!

And of course, hugs for all. Except one. I'll get to that later.

Jerry looked better than in years past – especially that one where he was on steroids and looked like a Macy’s balloon. And his hair is no longer jet black. Finally, at age 80 he’s starting to grey.

I miss the fact that he doesn’t emcee all 21 hours anymore. By hour 16 he used to be slobbering about Dean even when the media director from Safeway markets was trying to hand him a check.

And then there’s Ed McMahon. For sixty years America has been wondering – just what IS this guy’s talent? Say what you will, the man has made a wildly successful career for himself by playing the toady to the host. And we only get to see that obsequiousness one time a year now.

There was also Jann Carl and Tom Bergeron to interview people and pronounce the big words. Jerry is quoted as saying, “They’re GIANTS in their field” and he’s “Proud and humbled” to have them.

Since Jerry and Ed now take the late night hours off, who fills in and emcees? This is not a joke. Puppets!!

In LA we had three crawls going constantly. I’m sure other stations had local storm warnings, sports scores, news headlines, and promos for the new season of JUDGE JUDY so there were as many as six crawls.

The telethon is a throwback to a better Vegas, a classier Vegas – where all performers dressed, dyed their hair, and drank. It was elegance as only the mob could imagine it. There were dinner shows and late night lounge shows, and no gift shops right outside the showrooms. You couldn’t buy Keely Smith t-shirts, Rosemary Clooney refrigerator magnets, or Frank Sinatra lunch pails. But I digress…

Celine Dion recorded a gooey-gram and then sang a pre-taped song from her overblown Vegas show. Dancers were flying all over the place. Dion was raised on a large hydraulic pedestal as she belted out a song she selected just for the occasion. I kid you not, the song she felt most appropriate for the Muscular Dystrophy telethon was called “Drove All Night to Make Love to You”.

Other guests included some fat comic doing alfalfa sprouts jokes (“you call that food?”), a ventriloquist who used Jerry as his dummy, Ace Young, the cast of GREASE, super entertainer Ivanka Trump, John Tesh, Vonzell, Tony Danza, and of course the best Puerto Rican to ever come to this country.

Jerry’s son, Gary performed two songs. In the middle of the second song (a touching teen ballad Gary dedicated to his father called “Everybody Loves a Clown”) Jerry wandered onto the set, stood next to Gary for twelve seconds, obviously felt uncomfortable, and then just left. After the song, nothing. Jerry just moved on to the next thing.

So I guess the only one of Jerry’s kids who wasn’t showered with love and emotion turned out to be his own.

But it's that kind of weirdness that keeps me coming back for more. On the other hand, nothing would please me more than to hear that the telethon has been canceled because a cure has been found. And maybe Jerry could spend next Labor Day fishing with Gary.

Last year's telethon collected $63.7 million dollars. Let's beat it this year.

44 comments:

D. McEwan said...

I am always amazed on the extremely rare occasions when someone tells me that they never miss The Jerry Spazathon - ah - Telethon. ("Spazathon" refers to Jerry, not the kids. Don't picket me.)

I've done just the opposite. I have never seen it. Not ever. Not even 5 minutes of it. For one thing, I always figured there was a better-than-average chance of seeing Jerry Lewis, which is more than enough to keep me away. It always looked to me like the opposite of entertainment. (For that matter, I have always avoided Las Vegas, anything Rat-Packish, and anything at all Vegassy.)

Not that I don't get the horrid pleasures Jerry Cheese Factor. Once, somewhere around 25 years ago, Jerry hosted a talk show for a week. (5 shows and it was GONE!) In the first one (All I could stand was one), Jerry introduced Mel Torme. (An entertainer whose appeal was always a mystery to me, though I know some revere him, or at least Harry Anderson does.) Jerry and Mel had an exchange that remains forever fresh in my memory.

Jerry: "Mel, you take a song beyond the limits of forever and back again." (I will go to my grave still trying to figure out what that random collection of words mean.)

Mel: "You know how I do it?" (Mel didn't even consider saying "No I don't." He accepted the meaningless praise as factual.) "I think of you. No, really. Before I go on, every night, I think of you and it inspires me to sing the way I do.

There was NO TRACE of irony in this. I was amazed I could hear them so distinctly, given how extremely DEEPLY they had their tongues up each other's asses.

The following night on David Letterman's old Late Night show, Paul Shaffer, dripping with irony and filled with joyous glee, told Dave, "You take a joke beyond the limits of forever and back again."

Jerry doesn't even see that calling Tony Olando "Only the best Puerto Rican to ever come to this country.” insults ALL the other Puerto Ricans in the country. In fact, given he said it about Tony Orlando, it DEEPLY insults them.

You can freeze food on Jerry's warmth.

When about to open in DAMN YANKEES, Jerry said of the character he was playing, Mr. Applegate, in an interview in the LA Times: "He's the same character I've been playing all my life, a mischievous little kid."

I wrote a letter The Times ran the next week, in which I pointed out to Jerry, "No he isn't a mischievous little kid. He's SATAN, THE LORD OF HELL!" And then expressed the thought that perhaps Jerry was good casting for the role after all.

About a year later I was performing a musical comedy act I sometimes do in a gay club. I do one piece as a Frenchman, which includes the line: "You know how to get all the French people to leave Paris? Tell them Jerry Lewis is touring Spain in DAMN YANKEES and there's free wine at intermission, and then get out of the way fast!"

Now this line always gets a laugh, but that night, one table of 6 people in the front row just about exploded. They shrieked, cheered, and barely managed to avoid falling off their chairs. When I added that "CINDERFELLA is a better movie than CITIZEN KANE!" Another explosion from them.

When I got done, I came over to talk to them. Turned out that the extremely good-looking young man at the table had just spent that last year playing Joe Hardy on tour in DAMN YANKEES with Jerry Lewis. He spent the next half hour regaling me with horror stories about what an INCREDIBLE evil bastard Jerry was to work with. Apparently no one had ever told him that DAMN YANKEES wasn't a one-man show.

So the added attraction is Ed McMahon? A GIANT among non-talents. Durward Kirby's hero. I'd feel bad about Ed's current financial problems if he hadn't made more money in one year (Every year for 30 years) than I've made in 50 years.

Poor Gary Lewis. As I recall, the lyrics to that song (It's been a few decades since I last heard it) are "Everybody loves a clown, so why can't I?" It's for his dad all right.

But the telethon is genius. Over the years, whenever I've gone off on Jerry, there is always someone, including undoubtedly someone posting below me here shortly, who will defend him in a tone of outrage. It always boils down to "How DARE you snipe at someone who has unselfishly done so much to help those poor kids? Jerry is a SAINT!"

The money that he's raised for MD over the years (Much of which I'm sure actually went to that cause) is a very fine thing, but the goodness is an incidental by-product, collateral-non-damage if you will, of Jerry's self-aggrandizement. He does the telethon, and always has done the telethon, for himself, to make himself appear to be that saint in the eyes of others. Jerry has never performed an unselfish act in his life.

Just ask Gary.

Jamie said...

I have chosen your blog as one of my picks for BlogDay 2008.

Happy birthday to your daughter, as well.

Tim W. said...

I think d.mcewan thought he was doing the telethon himself. I'm reading his comment in parts over the next couple of days.

I've also never seen even five minutes of The telethon, but I've also never seen even 5 minutes of American Idol or any reality show in the last ten years (no, I'm not exaggerating), Lost, any of the CSI shows, 24, Two & a Half Men, Grey's Anatomy. I've found better things to do with my time instead of sit in front of the TV all day. Now I sit in front of the computer all day and read blogs and visit websites like Stuff White People Like (okay, maybe I've only been there a few times). Just so you know that means I'm more productive because I'm reading instead of watching. Really.

What all that has to do with Jerry's telethon, I have no idea, but it just goes to show you that it's not just television that shortens people's attention span.

qrter said...

The bit about Jerry standing next to Gary is priceless!

Mike McCann said...

Vonzell appeared? That's great! Harry was Ed McMahon's role model as "America's Announcer" and gave us so many wonderful scenes on Burns & Allen.

On another note, the one thing I never recall the MD telethon having was a theme song. The former CELEBRITY PARADE FOR CEREBRAL PALSY, out of New York's old channel 9, fronted by Dennis James, Jane Pickens -- and for several years, Steve and Eydie -- would frequently bring out during the broadcast a dozen or so kids on crutches or limping on canes with braces on their legs to show the progress they were making after being born with C.P. In what was designed as an encouraging, uplifting moment, the kids were accompanied by Pickens (a former Broadway ingenue) singing a mawkish song whose lyrics, "Look at us we're walking, look at us we're taking, we who never walked or talked before. Look at us we're laughing, we're happy and we're laughing, imagine walking to the candy store." A scene guaranteed not to leave a dry eye in the house.

However, there was a large section of the audience (starting with my wife) who HATED that and considered it the crassest form of exploitation.

Amazing how that song never escaped my memory. Did Jerry's kids ever have their own "anthem?"

Winston said...

Very soon we'll have the technology where once you've made a donation you get the option to go back to regular programming. Maybe they should schedule part two of some cliffhanger season finale for Labor Day, and you have to donate to Jerry's Kids before you get to see it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to defend Jerry Lewis, merely point out that he spent his career being a star of TV and MOVIES as a writer, director and star And, in live performances and films, in his partnership with Dean Martin, was probably the hottest comedy act in America during most of the 1950's decade.

Okay, to be fair now, I'm also going to defend d.mcewan and his career... He makes comments on other people's blogs.

Rachel from Dean and Rachel in the morning.101.5 KGFM said...

You always deliver!As I sit here on what I call my "Sunday couch" my all too audible laugh woke up the husband on the other side of the house.
Great blog.I especially liked the observations on Celine,Ed and Ivanka.
Rach(from Bakes:)

jbryant said...

I used to watch parts of the telethon occasionally, out of a ghoulish fascination with the maudlin Vegas-style shtick. So I can't really argue against d's characterization of Jerry's ego and all the negatives it conveys. Luckily, being a first class asshole is no deterrent to talent. It didn't stop Sinatra from being the greatest popular singer of all time, and it only adds to the fascination of Jerry Lewis' love-it-or-hate-it body of work.

Anonymous said...

I wait for the annual no trace of irony-thon too.
My appetite was whetted when Nancy Pelosi called Obama "a leader that God has blessed us with at this time."

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Horns of a dilemma. Like everyone, I'd love to see this disease conquered, but I'm not about to abide Jerry Lewis to do it.

Don't know if it's true, but someone I knew swore that Jerry was paid a small fortune for running the telethon every year. Anyone know for sure?

My favorite comment about this came from a comic whose name, alas, I can't recall. Thanks to Jerry Lewis's telethon, a crippled little girl in Nebraska struggled to her feet, walked across the room without crutches--and turned off the TV.

Barry said...

Hey, Ed McMahon was very good as co-host of TV Blopers and Practical Jokes.

SharoneRosen said...

if you love Jerry, you must be overcome with glee watching a yarmelked Jon Voight and the dancing Hassids at the Chabad Telethon! It's my personal favorite fund raising spectacle.

D. McEwan said...

Harry Von Zell was in a whole differnt class than Ed McMahon. Harry had actual talent, and was wownderfully funny on BURNS & ALLEN. The way his face fell and his lip quivered every time George fired him was priceless.

Mike, your CP song lyrics from Miss Pickens made me giggle like a school girl for about five minutes.

Anonymous, I do other things besides write blog comments, and one thing I do is sign my real name to my remarks.

Cap'n Bob, that joke about the kid in Nebrska is hilarious!

Tim W, would it help if I inserted cliff-hangers, to enhance your serial reading experience?

Anonymous said...

I worked foer many years at summer theaters that annually featured Jerry Lewis for a week at a time. When anyone asks me about the celebrities I worked with (and there were many of that era), I tell them that the absolute worst (in terms of behavior) were Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle. turns out Lewis was on pain pills during the period, but he was also drinking heavily (heavily stocked bar in his dressing room). My "favorite" story was one night when I went to the stage to lead him up the aisle and to his waiting car that would whisk him away from the idolizing fans before they could get a close look. This happened every night, but, on the one in question, a young boy -- maybe 9 or 10 years old -- broke through the live security barrier and breathlessly asked his hero for an autograph.
Came the reply: "Yeah, sure kid. Get the f--- out of my way, you little s---."

See, it wasn't just his own kid that he didn't love.

I applaud Mr. Lewis for his fund-raising, and I do believe he has not been actually paid money for his efforts. The publicity, though, is more than any entertainer could buy.

(By the way, Berle was worse. Much worse. Lewis had moments when he could actually be charming and friendly. Few and far between, but they were there. Berle? Not so much...)

And the best of the "names"? Lou Rawls. Duke Ellington. Louis Armstrong. Some might recall Jane Powell -- a wonderful person. Frankie Valli. And a lot of others, many of whom weren't quit household names but who had their moments.

MattDW said...

I saw Gary Lewis get some Jerry love on the telethon about ten years ago. After he sang "This Diamond Ring" Jerry forced Gary to sit on his lap, kissed him on the lips, and made a joke that they should get a room. I am not kidding. I am not exagerrating. I was not on drugs. I've told people about this for years and few have believed me. (Even fewer have cared.) If anyone out there can back me up on this one, please do.

Anonymous said...

Telethons just remind how good Second City TV was in satirizing those "cats" and their lives.

The list of Gary/Jerry Lewis cringeworthy scenes is long. I recall already back in the 60s there was something similar that Jerry did while Gary played (back on drums then), even exactly just walking out there and trying to break up the scene (mostly signalling he felt it needed it as it wasn't good) and it felt as forced and whacked out then as it sounds now.
He's got an interesting interview on the Television Archives, where he does not come off as a pussy cat or even hip cat but tough. I can't imagine being - what is Gary, 60? - and getting that from my Dad. (the same Dad who on Larry King and other chances to get a word, only goes on and on about the light of his life - his young daughter.

Anonymous said...

I thought the fat comic was very good and I've been trying to find out his name. Does anyone know it?

kelrus said...

I feel sorry for those of you who are so jaded and cynical about this world that you can't see the good in the telethon. Sure, Jerry Lewis is a has-been to those of you under the age of 50 but, guess what?, he's been doing this for more years than you've been alive and the MDA does amazing things for those afflicted with this horrible disease. No, no one in my family has had it but I did work one summer at an MDA camp when I was a teenager and those children are just like any other children except that they're in wheelchairs and on crutches and need help for most of what they need to do.

How many of you have made a donation this year? How many of you have taken the time while you're surfing through the Internet to find all the juicy tidbits, to look up the facts on the telethon and MDA? Reputable sources will tell you that everyone involved is a volunteer, they don't get paid for their time or their performances, and MDA actually gets close to 75% of the money raised by the telethon. And Jerry Lewis, the master b@#$%rd of show business, gets nothing except for the publicity, which I hardly think he needs to keep his career going since he's over 80 years old now.

No, I don't watch all of the show anymore, like I actually did a few years when I was younger, but I do check in from time to time to see what's up. My prayer for all of you naysayers is that no one in your family ever develops one of the diseases that MDA is working so hard to cure. Of course, perhaps if someone did, then you'd find out just how great an organization it is.

Happy Labor Day to all!!

jbryant said...

kelrus: To be fair, no one here has criticized the work of the MDA. Some of them simply don't dig Jerry's style.

Pat said...

I don't wacth the Telethon. It's just a really long, tedious bad variety show.

And If I remember, doesn't the "King of Crazy" sing " You'll Never Walk Alone?" to a kid in a wheelchair at the end of the telethon?

If Don Imus did something that insulting..well, you KNOW what happened.

But NOT Jerry. No one says a word because the MDA are okay with his method of fundraising.

He's okay with being a misogynistic unfunny piece of dry ice and Hollywood seems to be okay with him dragging out crippled kids and showing them off.

It's the only day they are.

The rest appear on "TMZ".

D. McEwan said...

Kelrus,

I am proudly cynical, but I did not say I could not see the good in the telethon. In fact, I said, "The money that he's raised for MD over the years (Much of which I'm sure actually went to that cause) is a very fine thing, but the goodness is an incidental by-product, collateral-non-damage if you will, of Jerry's self-aggrandizement." (And I did NOT mean that I think Jerry skims any of the money for himself. I do not believe he profits financially, but some of that money is swallowed up by "Operating costs".)

I am not under the age of 50, Jerry has not been doing the telethon longer than I've been alive (Though it can seem that way), and I remember a time when Jerry was not yet a has-been. In fact, there was a time in my life when I loved him, and was a HUGE fan.

But then I turned 6.

Nice work with the standard guilt trip wish: " My prayer for all of you naysayers is that no one in your family ever develops one of the diseases that MDA is working so hard to cure. Of course, perhaps if someone did..."

Lovely. I usually get that sort of stuff from devout Christians, and the word "prayer" makes me suspect that that traditional Christian holier-than-thou hypocrasy lives in you too. Were I one to pray (I'm a godless atheist.), I would pray that no one at all ever gets MD, MS, CP, or any other horrible, crippling disease, and were I a Christian, I would find a god that allows it unworthy of worship.

Summer theater anonymous,
I have heard many such stories about Milton Berle. I am not doubting your account, but I must say, as I have posted here on earlier occasions, the one time I worked with Milton Berle, he showed me kindness, respect, and class, and impressed the hell out of me. I suppose I just got him on a very good day.

Now Steve Allen, on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

Anybody watch really carefully this year on the LA version?

I hear that Jerry insisted that Shotgun Tom be replaced with the rouge monkey, wearing a tuxedo and Smokey The Bear hat...

Research told him that the monkey had better stage presence, and that he smelled better....

Anonymous said...

would they really stop if they found a cure? I've never head of this guy, but it sounds like it was originally abut polio, and once that was over, they moved on to "muscular dystrophy"..

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Kelrus: Most of what d.mcwean said goes for me, too. I remember the telethons from the dawn of memory (being an old fart of 60) and I never cared for them, mainly because of Jerry's unctuous begging.

And I wonder, after 50 years of fundraising, how close they are to curing that terrible affliction. I mean MS, not watching Jerry Lewis.

Anonymous said...

I marvel how every year Jerry says, "each year I want just one thing .... ONE DOLLAR MORE!"

And I keep thinking, shouldn't you just be wishing for a cure.

Anyway, here in NY/NJ the co-host Russ Salzberg, known for his abrasive personality, told a poor sick kid to "hurry up!" as he was very slowly and emotionally reading from the teleprompter before a break.

Cant make this stuff up.

Chris in NJ

Anonymous said...

HELLO JERRY LEWIS THIS IS JULIE LORRAINE JACKSON JERRY YOU LOOK BETTER NOW AS STUPID SOMEONE PUT YOU FAT FACE AS NOT RIGHT. NOW YOU LOOK BETTER MUCH THIN FACE. I BORN CEREBRAL PALSY AND DEAF. 65 MILLION DOLLARS GOOD FOR MDA 2008.NORM AND TONY, ED ARE YOURS FRIENDS. FROM LOVE WITH JULIE LORRAINE JACKSON

Anonymous said...

HELLO JERRY LEWIS THAT'S GOOD FOR RAISE THE MONEY FOR MDA AS MORE WHEELCHAIRS AND BRACES FOR KIDS AND ADULTS TOO. 65 MILLIONS. FROM WITH LOVE JULIE LORRAINE JACKSON.

Anonymous said...

Hello JERRY LEWIS
MY BROTHER STUART JACKSON DIED FROM MASSIVE HEART ATTACK HE DIED LAST FEB 29/08. AGE 49 FROM WITH JULIE LORRAINE JACKSON

Anonymous said...

this is Julie Lorraine Jackson 45 yrs old right now but january 7th I will be 46 yrs old anyway. to Jerry Lewis and my address is 166 Talbot St E
LEAMINGTON ON N8H 1M2 write me a letter please Jerry Lewis

Anonymous said...

HELLO THIS IS JULIE LORRAINE JACKSON, I born cerebral palsy and deaf as my life anyway. Jerry Lewis help kids find cure as md ms dmd and als too and kids and adults more people. Mattie Stepanzaek died 2004 as very sad. from Julie Lorraine Jackson

Anonymous said...

The real fame whores are the local wannabes who anchor the cutaways. There are certainly pure-spirited "talent" who do these for the right reasons. Yet, to me, a ton of them do it for the "Q".

What happened to Jackie Johnson in L.A. this year? Vera Jimenez was nice and all, but where was Jackie?

Now...a Jerry Lewis anecdote. In 1973, Jerry was told about my neighbor, and father to a very good friend of mine, who had contracted terminal brain cancer at the age of 48. Jerry insisted that he and his family come to dinner that night. The family spoke glowingly of how Jerry made them feel instantly at ease, and how he had them feeling good the entire evening. Yes, Jerry bought dinner. That was the only night of peace they knew until long after that very good man succumbed to his disease.

Note well that this had nothing to do with a neuro-muscular disease.

If all of us did even a small fraction of the good that Mr. Lewis has, this world would be ever so much better. YMMV.

Tom Quigley said...

From what I understand about Gary Lewis and his music career, he went about pursuing it on his own without his father's knowledge or approval. I wonder if the general feeling in the family was maybe that the old man wouldn't be able to deal with having two stars in the family, and he's resented Gary's success ever since?....

Anonymous said...

I remember how terribly disappointed I was as a youngster, to see Jerry interviewed. I loved his silly characters in movies...and really HATED the man himself. He's an example of a Sinatra ego to the nth degree- insincere, egotistical, bravado, smug... so many negatives! The swaggering hollywood movie star males of the 50's-70's are a real turnoff.
I donate money to this charity despite Jerry's involvement.
Thanks for the pics.

Anonymous said...

I read all of these blog posts about the telethon and Jerry Lewis and whether people like Jerry's approach, his comic schtick, his refusal to leave the 50's and 60's topic humor behind - and I have to set it all aside and say wow..$65 million in donations from a public who by and large is having a hard time making ends meet - whether due to unemployment, increase cost of fuel, and other factors. Jerry is a "brand" of fundraising. He is also a "brand" of comedy. Think about it....how many Americans sit and watch re-runs of All in the Family and dont still laugh at the racial, and bigoted humor of Archie Bunker? It was 70's humor at its best - it just so happens that Jerry is still a creature of that era. Stand up comics of his era made millions by doing jokes on peoples appearance, gender, denomination, sexual preference, etc. I'm not condoning it as we live in different times....I only think we owe it to Jerry to evaluate him on results. His humor may be outdated...we may take issue that he pulls on heart strings by showing us images of children in wheelchairs...but, he'd wildly successful at doing what he does and a 21st century America votes year after year with their wallet.

Do I like to hear the "N Word" or the "F" bomb to describe people of other races or sexual preferences? No - they make me cringe when I hear them...but I am able to separate that from the intent which is to make people laugh just as hard as they did in the 60's and 70's. I only wish when I die I could say that I was responsible for raising over $1 billion for a good cause.

alienamh said...

Oh, yes, it's easy to throw dirt at people, it's sooo easy to criticize their work while siting and watching, sometimes just without even watching, but you feel good when you criticize, you feel important. It's easy to say "Jerry Lewis has been doing this charity thing and has been raising so much money, but hey, it's not his merit at all! It just happened!"... and others go even farther, and say "Jerry Lewis is Satan himself!!". God help us!!!
I wonder if any of the guys that diss Jerry's Telethon and all his activity with such pathos contributed in any way to any charity acts?? Was any of them nominated for the Nobel prize, like him? Made any inventions? (Jerry is known for in the film industry as the inventor of the 'video follow', which is now standard equipment on big-budget movies . Is any of them by any chance close to having a career as successful as Jerry's?
His talent is denied by some, but it cannot be denied. His career had ups and downs, but it was real, and nobody can take that away from him.
I think real values don't throw dirt at other people's work, even if they dislike it; they don't have time for that.
You don't like the Telethon, it's ok, you don't have to watch it; you can't stand Jerry Lewis, or anything he stands for, it's fine, we live (or should live)in a free world. But as I said, it's easy to criticize somebody's entire life just sitting, watching, and eating popcorn.
I dedicate to all who enjoy posting all those malicious remarks the song "Walk a Mile in My Shoes".

alienamh said...

Me again. Just one more time.
I might be wrong, but from what I know Jerry was not against Gary's career, on the contrary, he was very proud at his son's success.
I also got a question for the guy who wrote that Jerry Lewis is Satan himself, the question is, "Are you for real??"
And the last issue, Jerry Lewis' genius has been praised by great directors and actors (not only French, but also many Americans, like Mankiewicz, Coppola, Scorsese, Tarantino, Jim Carey etc); and I think that talentless people, just because they are talentless, or less gifted, or less successful, or just because they are sad persons, get satisfaction from attacking those who prove to be more gifted and successful. They would attack any good deeds, even raising millions for charity! It's a messed up world we live in.

D. McEwan said...

"how many Americans sit and watch re-runs of All in the Family and dont still laugh at the racial, and bigoted humor of Archie Bunker? It was 70's humor at its best"

Well, actually THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW was 70s humor at it's best to me and is still very funny, but we didn't laugh at "the Racial & Bigoted and bigoted humor of Archie Bunker" even then. We laughed AT Archie himself for being such a tool that he'd say those horrible things. You have the appeal of that show ass-backwards, whoever you are. Do you suppose Sammy Davis Jr. would have guested on the show, and kissed Archie, if the show was ENCOURAGING us to laugh with rather than at Archie's POV? Get a clue.

"I only wish when I die I could say that I was responsible for raising over $1 billion for a good cause."

You might want to say that before you die, as when you die is too late to say anything.

So what's stopping you?

"alienamh said...
Oh, yes, it's easy to throw dirt at people, it's sooo easy to criticize their work while siting and watching, sometimes just without even watching, but you feel good when you criticize, you feel important."

Who "feels important" from posting comments? Do you, alienamh? Interesting psychology. Thanks for the analysis.

"I wonder if any of the guys that diss Jerry's Telethon and all his activity with such pathos contributed in any way to any charity acts??"

Wonder is all you can do, since you have no way of knowing what charitable acts any of us have performed. I was taught young that charitable works should be performed anonymously, so it's pure charity, and has no taint of self-aggrandizement. This is a concept quite alien to Jerry, who has done a lot of good work, and reaped a LOT of benefit from it's publicity, though to be fair to him, what he does, by it's very nature - using his fame to attract donations - it can not be done anonymously. (And why do you assume that all the negative comments are from "Guys"? I'm a guy, and I'm guessing Cap'n Bob is too, but it's not determined by gender.)

Look at the number and vehemence of the defend-Jerry responses. (Predicted by me in the very first post on this comments page) Neutral responses to Jerry are impossible.

"His talent is denied by some, but it cannot be denied."

Ah, if it can not be denied, then how could some deny it? In any event, no one, not one poster up here, not even me, has denied his talent. His ego, his style, his mindset, his inability to love the kids of his first marriage, his general creepiness, all these have been had at, but no one has denied his talent. More often, we bewail that his talent is imprisoned in him.

"I think real values don't throw dirt at other people's work, even if they dislike it;"

I don't either, since "Values" are a concept, and are incapable of performing acts of any kind. People however, especially in the snarky world of comedy this blog inhabits, take verbal shots at work they don't like all the time. It's called criticism, and it is a recognized craft. I took courses in it in college. Tell Roger Ebert he shouldn't write mean things about the movies he hates. He won a Pulitzer for doing it.

"it's easy to criticize somebody's entire life just sitting, watching, and eating popcorn. I dedicate to all who enjoy posting all those malicious remarks the song "Walk a Mile in My Shoes".

It is practically impossible to criticize someone's work while eating popcorn. Your mouth is full, so speaking is out, and your fingers are greasy, so hands off the keyboard.

You keep assuming that none of us have ever made contributions to anything, let alone - gasp! - Jerry's MDA Association, on the basis of no actual knowledge, to gain what you perceive as a moral high ground. You don't know what we have or haven't done, and even if we bragged about what we have done, you wouldn't know if it was true or not. The cliche is "Never assume, as it makes an ass of you and me" but in this case, your assumptions only make an ass of you.

Will your shoes fit me? I wear a size 13. (You know what they say about men with big feet! That's right! A big mouth!) And I try to avoid walking entire miles these days. And do I have to listen to that awful song as I do?

D. McEwan said...

Alienamh, you went and posted more while I was writng my resonse to your last cockoo nutty (Too much Sinatra, sorry) remarks.

I didn't say Jerry was Satan. Everyone knows Kathy Lee Gifford is Satan. I said that the CHARACTER he played in DAMN YANKEES is Satan, which he literally is, and implied that Jerry was good casting in the role, meaning he's well-suited to playing villains. (Actually, Jerry's best work is as a serious actor, as in his WISEGUY role and his performance in Scorsese's KING Of COMEDY.) Did you fail Reading For Comprehension?

"not only French, but also many Americans, like Mankiewicz, Coppola, Scorsese, Tarantino, Jim Carey etc"

The inclusion of Jim Carey [sic] on that list made me laugh quite a good deal, although it is an insult to Mankiewicz, Coppola, and Scorsese. (I don't think Tarantino can be insulted.) Certainly Jim Carrey is extremely influenced by Jerry Lewis, which is why his work makes my flesh crawl also. Scorsese directed Jerry in Jerry's best-ever performance. On the other hand, Scorsese didn't just say, "How can I direct The Master? Jerry, you take over. I'll sit and watch." We know this because no scene in KING OF COMEDY has Jerry trying to deal with an out-of-control firehose.

"I think that talentless people, just because they are talentless, or less gifted, or less successful, or just because they are sad persons, get satisfaction from attacking those who prove to be more gifted and successful. They would attack any good deeds, even raising millions for charity! It's a messed up world we live in."

Until you've read my books or seen my acting perfomances, you are unqualified to judge whether I'm talentless or not. There are many people who are more gifted and succesful than I whom I do not attack, but rather praise to the skies. Go back and read the stuff on Ken's blog on the 4th of July about Buster Keaton, a TRUE comic genius and cinematic innovater, the brim of whose hat, Jerry is not worthy to touch. In any event, I'm not sad. In fact today I'm in a particularly happy mood.

But NO ONE atacked Jerry's good deeds nor the raising of the money. You just have to keep saying we did, to attempt to invalidate our criticism of Jerry's style and our suspiciouns regarding his motives.

Your final statement: "It's a messed up world we live in." is the only thing you've written that I whole-heartedly agree with.

Jack Ruttan said...

He wrote a very good book about film making. I don't know why this isn't still in print, or appreciated more, despite his persona.

Tulip said...

AH, the Telethon! I remember figuring out at a very early age that the syllable 'thon' meant 'goes on forever'. My strongest memories of that telethon of telethons, besides squirming on my grandmother's green commercial carpet in front of the black and white TV with the rabbit ears, was hearing Florence Henderson sing "With a Little Luck" in a sort of speeded-up cadence, and hearing Robert Blake of Baretta fame make a plea for donations that went "Look folks, just give these damned kids some damned money..."

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ChicagoJohn said...

Just a thought; but if all of the writers and talent on here pitched in for 24 hours for the telethon, it wouldn't be so crappy.

I get that its bad. It doesn't need to be. Imagine a 2012 telethon that had updated acts, actual funny bits, and a host like Ricky Gervais, Tom Hanks, or any of the hosts and talent that Hollywood keeps for its own aggrandizement?

Heck... the Oscars already close in on 6 hours long. Just expand it to a full day, make it a telethon, and skip the awards portion...

Anonymous said...

I like Jerry Lewis as he help kids camp anyway FROM Julie Lorraine Jackson as I am cerebral palsy and deaf.