Monday, November 30, 2015

Jerry Lewis: Wind him up, watch him go

Jerry Lewis wants those kids from "American Idol" off his lawn.

Jerry Lewis: Wind him up, watch him go

Jerry Lewis, then 82, in a 2008 photo.
Jerry Lewis, then 82, in a 2008 photo.

Update: On Wednesday, the MDA announced that Jerry Lewis would not appear in this year's Sept. 4 telethon and was no longer its national chairman.

Jerry Lewis wants those kids from "American Idol" off his lawn.

"They're all McDonald's wipe-outs. They've all been dumped.  They've worked there and now they're doing that. And of course they all play a guitar, which takes the place of music," the 85-year-old comedian told reporters at a luncheon Friday to discuss an upcoming Encore documentary, "The Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis."

People in television -- Lewis refuses to call it TV because, he said, he has too much respect for the medium -- are "running around knocking their brains out trying to see how we beat the fat lady at 375 pounds, and in four months she's going to be 240.  Who gives a s---?"

So what does Lewis want to see on television?

"When I watch it, I want it to grab me.  I want it to be like [when] I ran home and I made sure to be there before goddamn 'Law & Order' went on, and long before [that]  the Jack Webb. . .cop shows.  Where we ran home  to see [Milton] Berle on a Tuesday night.  Nobody wants to  run home now and see anything.  They run home and hope there's something. And we got to fix that."

And what of Twitter and Facebook? Although the question was clearly asked in hopes of keeping the quote streak going, Lewis at first sounded downright thoughtful.

"I think it's wonderful for people  that enjoy using it.  It's a wonderful technical advancement," he said, but "when they find out they're getting   their life cluttered, they'll make those decisions themselves.  They don't need to be told by some celebrity, 'Well, that's a lot of crap.' It's not         a lot of crap.  If you want to load up your life with all of that stuff, it's there for you.  And  use it to your own best interest.

"But we're not going to have human beings in 20 years, that's all."
Come again?

"People are not conversing with people.  People are not talking to human beings and getting a sense of what maybe they missed, and then they come back to us with something meaningful," he said, going on to describe himself as "caste-conscious," whatever that means to a guy from Newark, N.J.

Lewis, who this spring announced that he'd be retiring  as host of the Labor Day telethon that's raised a reported $2.6 billion to fight muscular dystrophy since 1966, refused to say exactly what would be happening to the telethon after this year, telling one reporter, "It's none of your business."

He's planning another press conference -- an "international" one -- on Sept. 5, the day after this year's telethon, to get that word out.

This is just a wild guess, but I don't think he'll be replaced by Ryan Seacrest.


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Daily News TV Critic
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