Writing this article is going to be more painful than watching the interview itself as I have been a Jerry Lewis fan since before I was old enough to understand how big he really was.
As a child, I watched EVERY Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. I fell asleep with the television on and it stayed on that channel until the credits rolled. I couldn’t give money, but I could support in any way I could. I watched in eagerness as that tote board rang higher and higher. I rooted for Jerry to surpass last years total with everything I had.
As a young adult, I began to realize why he was who he was. Such talent! He was so funny, so goofy, and so larger than life. In those days before Netflix, I waited patiently for one of his movies to come on TV. I never missed one if had half a chance.
Jerry, you have burst my bubble. You were an obnoxious prick to this reporter who was only doing his job. This interview was not for him or for the Hollywood Reporter, it was us…your dedicated fans. You put this image in my head and now it will never leave. You sir, have just showed me you are an idiot who needs to get his head out of you know where. You have passed your prime. Time to retire.
Just watch… but it’s painful.
Andy Lewis at The Hollywood Reporter explains:
The Hollywood Reporter set out to interview 10 nonagenarians in the business — people in their 90s and beyond still vital and working — and nine of the interviews went great. One was a trainwreck.
I had a bad feeling the about how the conversation with Jerry Lewis was going to go the second I walked into his Vegas house — the interview was scheduled for a few off days in his touring schedule — and saw him watching TV with his headphones on. He looked angry. I already knew Lewis’ reputation for being difficult and acerbic with his audiencesand in interviews. And he’s a well-known control freak.
Throughout the photo shoot, Lewis complained about the amount of equipment in the house, the number of assistants and how the shots were set up. By the time we sat down for the interview about an hour later, Lewis had worked up a full of head of steam, and it seemed like he was punishing THR by doing the interview but being as uncooperative as possible. As awkward and funny — and it’s pretty funny — as the interview is, it weirdly proves the point of the entire package: 90-year-old Jerry Lewis is vital and completely engaged. He’s just engaged — almost happy — in being difficult.
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