Comedian Paul Rodriguez, at podium, expresses the comedians’ support Friday for Jerry Lewis to be reinstated as host of the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. With him are, from left, Norm Crosby, Jason Stuart, Angelo Tsarouchas, Larry Miller, Jamie Masada (front) and Tom Dreesen.
LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis’ separation from the Muscular Dystrophy Association is not a laughing matter for some comedians.
Paul Rodriguez, Larry Miller, Tom Dreesen, Norm Crosby and others have joined in support of Lewis, the 85-year-old comedian who the MDA said is no longer its national chairman and will not appear on this year’s telethon. The Tucson, Ariz.-based association announced earlier this week that the organization was parting ways with him after 45 years.
“If this is the way we’re going, we should also tell grandpa we don’t need him for Thanksgiving,” joked Miller.
The funnymen told reporters gathered at The Laugh Factory comedy club Friday in Hollywood that they want the MDA to feature Lewis in some capacity on the upcoming telethon.
“He’s not dead,” said Rodriguez. “He’s very much alive.”
The comedians said they hadn’t spoken with Lewis since the separation was announced, but Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said they supported Lewis “regardless of why he was dismissed.”
Dreesen speculated that the MDA told Lewis that he would be phased out of the telethon, and the group was fearful of what Lewis would say during the six-hour broadcast.
“There’s no way they would give him the microphone for five minutes,” said Dreesen.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced that legendary 85 year old entertainer Jerry Lewis will no longer serve as their national chairman and he won’t be back as the host of their telecasts, which he initially brought into the spotlight. CBSNews.com’s Ken Lombardi reports: Video
How could they fire Jerry Lewis?? - Ken Levine
Thank you, Jerry for 45 years of great work. Now get out. That’s essentially what the MDA has done to telethon host/face of the charity Jerry Lewis. Oh, I’m sure he drove them crazy. I’m sure executives dove out of their 20th floor office windows when they heard he was in the building. But without Jerry there is no telethon. I mean, seriously, you’re replacing one of the icons of show business with Nigel Lythgoe? (Who???)
The program will also be shortened this year from twenty hours to a mere six. And I bet they still have trouble filling the bill. Good luck getting Tony Orlando this year.
Once upon the time the Jerry Lewis telethon was a highlight of the year. Twenty hours of the highest camp, schmaltziest schmaltz, cheesiest cheese, and glitziest entertainment ever assembled on one stage. And it was all live. Jaw-dropping moments were as common as a check of the tote board. I even wrote about it a couple of years ago.
Jerry created this faux Vegas main showroom format, which was already dated in 1966 when he first introduced it. Over the years it became a time piece. Singers still in tuxedos and formal gowns – at 7:00 AM. Wayne Newton — the major headliner. Lounge comics trotting out material that I’m sure killed in 1955. Puppeteers. Bird acts.
And it was all held together by Jerry. No comedian has ever taken himself more seriously, and in an unintentional twisted way, that only made him funnier. One minute dripping sincerity, the next crossing his eyes and acting like a moron. Genius! Sheer genius!
Add to the mix the fatigue factor. Put someone like that on live television with major sleep deprivation and by hour 15 you’ve got real theater. Crying, badgering, doing rat pack racial slurs. You never knew what you were going to get… from moment to moment. And again, that was the brilliance of it all. That was the appeal. Once Jerry took his tie off you were on high alert for hilarity.
Plus, it was all for a really good cause.
Say what you will, Jerry raised millions and millions for MDA. His telethon became a part of American culture. He is 85. You knew it was just a matter of time. But to not let him go out in a dignified way, on his own terms, that’s unconscionable.
As far as I’m concerned there is no more MDA telethon. And it’s too bad because Nigel’s kids need the help just as much as Jerry’s.
Thanks again for everything, Jerry. I’ll never be able to hear Rockabye My Baby With a Dixie Melody ever again without crying… and laughing.
This is just another example of what is wrong with America! I am absolutely not a fan of Jerry Lewis style comedy, especially not when he was young. He was waaaaay too silly for me. But Jerry Lewis is the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon and Jerry’s Kids and Adults have received the donations and all the results from them for one reason and one reason only… Because of Jerry Lewis and his hard work and dedication.
America’s lack of respect for their elders and for the knowledge they have and the service they have given is a huge part of our failure as a people and as a nation. The youth culture and ignorance and disinterest is much of what has brought us to the place we now find ourselves in and is part of the plan of the Progressive Movement that has gripped and destroyed this nation.
Shame on MDA!! I support the the comedians and other groups fighting to bring Jerry back. I hope some you decide to join me! I will also not be supporting the telethon this year with my donation if Jerry is not reinstated as the host!!
I guess in the future, if we don’t wake up, we will have less of these old people in the way and less of these types of problems because if ObamaCare goes into affect there won’t be many 85+ year-olds around because the *death ( oh sorry… rationing) panel will have denied most of them a treatment by then that will cost them their life and keep us from being bothered these old troublesome folks. :-)
* Under ObamaCare, people over 78 will require the okay of a government administrative rationing panel to receive any major treatments, procedures or surgeries. Darn that Sarah Palin for being right…
Support Jerry Lewis, seniors and the knowledge seniors possess and America needs!!
Dedicated to Jerry Lewis and the repeal of ObamaCare:
New Car for Senator Reid
Sen. Reid goes to a local GM dealer in Washington, D.C. With the
Intention of buying a brand new vehicle.
Harry looks around and finds one he likes. After going back and forth
With the salesman, Harry settles on a price of $45,000.
Harry and the salesman go back to the office to complete the paperwork.
Harry works out a 4-year payment plan, and signs on the bottom line.
The salesman shakes Harry’s hand and says, “Thanks Senator Reid, the
Car will be ready for pickup in 4 years.”
Harry says, “What are you talking about? Where are the keys to my new car?”
The salesman replies, “No, you don’t understand Senator. You make
Payments for 4 years… THEN we give you the car.
You know, just like your health plan”.
Harry, with a choking voice, says to the salesman, “But that’s not fair”.
And the salesman says, “Yeah, No shit!” ;-)