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View Full Version : Jerry Lewis out as MDA chairman and off telethon



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MacMadame
08-07-2011, 09:42 PM
It'll happen to everyone eventually.

Well, yes, but it was going to happen next year anyway by his own request. Why not let him have one last year?

PRlady
08-07-2011, 09:47 PM
Taping may be the only solution. His recent quotes make me worry about early signs of dementia, making a live appearance tricky at best.

He's said crap about gays and women publicly in just the last few years. And I have to say his public persona has creeped me out for years, the hostility just beams out from under the comedian. I'm sure MDA concluded it was too dangerous to put him on the air live and I'm also sure we're going to get some Charlie-Sheen-style histrionices from Lewis.

skatesindreams
08-07-2011, 10:14 PM
We might,

I agree, his opinions on a number of "social issues" - including the place of persons with disabilities in society, have not necessarily reflected "politically correct" thinking,
He is not alone. Many of his generation have had trouble adjusting their views to reflect changing attitudes.

That said, the MDA could have handled the situation much more gracefully than they did,

numbers123
08-07-2011, 11:04 PM
He's said crap about gays and women publicly in just the last few years. And I have to say his public persona has creeped me out for years, the hostility just beams out from under the comedian. I'm sure MDA concluded it was too dangerous to put him on the air live and I'm also sure we're going to get some Charlie-Sheen-style histrionices from Lewis.

I would tend to agree with this. He has had some questionable statements/performances on the telethon lately. All in all, most telethons have had less air time - going from a weekend air time to 24 hour air times to 12 hour airtime, etc. TV airtime has gotten more costly in this day of other types of fundraising - such as internet donations, text donations. We don't know if the MDA was getting pressure from its air stations to rein in Jerry.

I think that blaming the MDA for a less than graceful departure is a bit premature since we don't really know what was the driving force.

Karina1974
08-08-2011, 04:00 AM
Good thing the telethon's been shortened from 21 to six hours because without Jerry it won't be worth watching anyway.

I tuned in to last year's telethon after not watching since 1994. I had stopped watching in 1995, the year I first went away to college, and for some reason never got back into it. He was barely in it last year, undoubtedly due to his health issues and age. I know he's cut back in recent years the time when he is on the air.

I remember the "old days" watching the telethon. We sat down to it on 9:00 PM Sunday, we kids watched until we were sent to bed around midnight, and the TV was literally on all day on Labor Day until the end.

Guess this is another thing to add to that list I posted, about stuff your kids don't know about.

Civic
08-08-2011, 04:20 AM
He's said crap about gays and women publicly in just the last few years. And I have to say his public persona has creeped me out for years, the hostility just beams out from under the comedian. I'm sure MDA concluded it was too dangerous to put him on the air live and I'm also sure we're going to get some Charlie-Sheen-style histrionices from Lewis.

I'm reminded of his guest role in "Wise Guy" when he played a garment industry tycoon who was in debt to the mob. He was very convincing as an angry and bitter aging man who regretted some of the choices he had made.

heckles
08-08-2011, 05:01 AM
IIRC he is also not popular with some disability activists, who think he uses pity and stereotyping (e.g. calling the disabled "kids" and saying they are unable to work) to raise money.


Unfounded criticism, IMO. Jerry's "kids" have been known as "National Goodwill Ambassadors" since the 1980s, and the telethon has always featured adults with MD. The telethon raises money for the MDA's Transitions Program, a resource center that assists adults with MD to attend college, find careers, advocate for accessible workplaces, and so on.

overedge
08-08-2011, 06:57 PM
Unfounded criticism, IMO. Jerry's "kids" have been known as "National Goodwill Ambassadors" since the 1980s, and the telethon has always featured adults with MD. The telethon raises money for the MDA's Transitions Program, a resource center that assists adults with MD to attend college, find careers, advocate for accessible workplaces, and so on.

As I understand it, their criticisms are based on Lewis' personal comments about the disabled, not about what the MDA has done. Comments such as "If you don't want to be pitied for being a cripple in a wheelchair, don't come out of the house".

heckles
08-08-2011, 07:49 PM
Comments such as "If you don't want to be pitied for being a cripple in a wheelchair, don't come out of the house".

That was a stupid thing to say, and it's good that he apologized for saying it. He's said some stupid things over the years but IMO it's been offset by the good he's done.

Jasmar
08-09-2011, 02:40 AM
And regardless, as many have pointed out, it would be a very easy thing to shoot a few spots ahead of time and edit them into the show, as a last hurrah.

I've never cared for JL. But the way this has come down bugs me.

Latte
08-10-2011, 07:08 PM
Maybe his health is much worse than it was when he said he would do another year, and he/they realized he could not do this year after all.
He really is in very poor health.

heckles
08-10-2011, 10:20 PM
He really is in very poor health.

He's making appearances to promote for his upcoming documentary, so health doesn't seem to be the issue the MDA has with him. The mensch deserves a proper send-off.

Too bad Jerry's pal Sinatra isn't around anymore. His boys would straighten this out.

FigureSpins
08-10-2011, 10:42 PM
Too bad Jerry's pal Sinatra isn't around anymore. His boys would straighten this out.
Given the the inappropriate Lewis remarks that other posters have mentioned, all I could think was "What would Frankie Boy say if he were alive?" That was a different generation of people who were brash, blunt and to the point with no PC filters at all.

I remember when Sinatra orchestrated the reunion of Lewis & Martin on a telethon. I didn't understand it at the time, but you're right: Frank would have had something to say and he would done something.

To that point, a number of comedians and celebrities have complained about Lewis being shunned.

heckles
08-10-2011, 11:44 PM
I remember when Sinatra orchestrated the reunion of Lewis & Martin on a telethon.

I wonder if the reunion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbQNCJHH6qU) was staged. The banter seemed a little too easy. Or, maybe they really were that good at ad-libs.

FigureSpins
08-10-2011, 11:58 PM
I'm sure they were good at ad-libbing and it was only a surprise for Lewis, right? (Although I think he suspected something.)
I think their banter is how they made a name for themselves as a stand up comedy act in the 1940's.

Thanks for the link - that whole bit was a little inappropriate (by today's standards) at a variety of points.
I kind of wonder if Martin wasn't really a bit tipsy.