However, the absent Lewis was on the minds of many, and Nigel Lythgoe, who co-hosted this year's telethon with Jann Carl said he was sad that his predecessor didn't participate, but that the MDA needs to move on to ensure the fundraiser continues.
Lythgoe also told the Associated Press that he'd been expecting Lewis to show up, either during the telecast, or to pre-tape his signature song 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'
"I was fully expecting him to turn up at any point and join that six hours -- and I'm sorry he didn't," Lythgoe said. "And hopefully another year he might. I mean, he knows that he is always welcome on the telethon. It's his baby."
Let's be honest here: yes, the telethon is a great event that has raised billions for the fight against muscular dystrophy – but, those are a lot of hours to fill every year and most of those hours are filled with, well, filler. But! Over the course of the last 45 years, there have been many, many memorable moments. Look: John Lennon! KISS! The Jackson 5! Joan Crawford and her daughter – a daughter who would in the future write 'Mommie Dearest.'
So, to commemorate Mr. Lewis's contribution to society (and popular culture), here are five memorable moments from his telethon.
MDA Chairman of the Board of Directors R. Rodney Howell, M.D., said in a statement Wednesday, "Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we're forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon."
Comedian and overall TV legend Jerry Lewis announced today that he'll retire from hosting his annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, with this Labor Day's event being his last.
"As a labor of love, I've hosted the annual Telethon since 1966, and I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone,'" he said in a statement. "I'll continue to serve MDA as its National Chairman -- as I've done since the early 1950s. I'll never desert MDA and my kids."
The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which just had its 45th annual show last month, has announced that starting next year the show will no longer be 21 hours long. Instead, the show will change to a six-hour primetime special format.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
It's hard to say how we should feel about this. On one hand, the telethon is a unique kind of television that they don't anymore, an annual show that runs over two days and is live and has both a strong national and local focus. On the other hand, they don't do telethons like this for other causes, and it seems like this is a relic of a TV era that has gone by (for better or worse).
On 'Inside Edition' (weekdays, syndicated), Lewis went on a tirade against young Hollywood and said that Lindsay Lohan needs a "smack in the mouth" followed by a firm spanking to set her straight.
He also talked about his love for Las Vegas and Jerry Lewis. They don't do the split screen right though. Shouldn't they be looking straight ahead instead of at each other?
[Watch clips and episodes of Jimmy Kimmel Live and other shows at SlashControl.]
Anyway, I had predicted that the Oscars would stink. Well, I was wrong, or half-wrong. Separate from whether you agreed with the winners -- I did by and large -- or you didn't, what about the broadcast? I think if you had seen all the nominees (or at least the Best Picture noms), you probably had a rooting interest and were amused by most of the show. However, the other half was pretty bad. After the jump, what worked versus what did not.
Apparently, the show also pitched help for any MDA-registered families that are victims of Hurricane Gustav. It's a good idea and a brilliant P.R. move by Lewis and company. It did get me thinking: why should all that money only benefit those with muscular dystrophy? Why can't next year's donations go towards fighting cancer or some other charity?
Now, I guess I have to go through this again. For the Muscular Dystrophy Association, cash is preferred. Checks are accepted. Firearms must be donated via a special table located in the back. I wonder what else people can donate? Marijuana or pornography, perhaps?
This does beg the question of such as thing as bad publicity. I don't know if this incident hurts the telethon's donations. On the other hand, is the 82-year-old comedian or his telethon even relevant anymore? In my youth, everybody watched the telethon for celebrity appearances. Now, it's difficult to remember even when it airs.
Lewis did say that the gift was from an engraver at last year's telethon and he didn't travel since then. What do you think? Is the story flimsy or believable?
Jay, who is in the last year of manning the desk that Johnny Carson manned for years with Ed right by his side, promises to come through for Ed. According to Leno's PR man, "Everybody loves Ed. Jay and others on the show are discussing how they can help him."
So Conan O'Brien showed up on Jay Leno's show last night. Late Night is in repeats this week and O'Brien was out on the West Coast for some reason (maybe checking out his new studio?) and he appeared as the first guest. And it was kinda funny, but mostly dull.
I didn't expect some long discussion about O'Brien taking over for Leno when Leno steps down in 2009, but I did think they'd at least bring the topic up at some point. The only thing said about it all night was a one line joke by Leno in the monologue ("Conan O'Brien is on the show...is it 2009 already?"). Instead, O'Brien just rehashed his Good Housekeeping recipe story and told stories about the Emmys and Jerry Lewis. It was odd they didn't address the issue (and it was made even more weird by the fact that Leno did make a joke about it at the start of the show).
Video of the appearance is after the jump.
No, not that F word. The other one. The one that's a derogatory word for a gay person.
Check out the video at Breitbart. In the 18th hour of his annual MDA Telethon, Lewis walks about the stage and the audience making comments on various people, and at one point stops and talks about the cameraman and his family (supposedly). He says "your family has come to see you...you remember Bart, your oldest son...Jesse, the illiterate f****t..." The audience laughs and moans a bit, but I'm trying to figure out exactly what Lewis says here. Does he actually say that word, or does he start to say "fatty" or something similar? You make the call.
Whatever he says, it's an odd piece of video for sure. I guess that what happens when you're up for 18 hours.
UPDATE: Video is embedded after the jump.
UPDATE #2: He admits he did use the word, and has apologized.
I'm too young to have watched the Dick Cavett Show, thought I did enjoy his cameo in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.
Anyway, thanks to YouTube and other such sites folks like me can finally see clips from some of these old TV shows, and I must say I'm glad I came across the one below with Jerry Lewis.
Lewis talks about his critics, and it's impressive, to me anyway, that he's willing to listen to a critic who doesn't like him if the critic is competent and has a clear love of film. He even claims to have written to critics and thanked them for negative reviews. Now that we have the blogosphere it's hard for me to imagine such an exchange taking place. If anything, I'd imagine an actor would respond to a negative review by posting something nasty about the reviewer on their own blog. And then I would write about that exchange on this blog.
The video is after the jump. After the commercial break is a brief Q&A with the audience, which isn't especially interesting or revealing.
(S08E04) This week we're back to the case and off the personal issues of the detectives. And the case is particularly disturbing. A single mother and her 10-year old daughter are found bound, raped and murdered in their apartment. The initial suspect is a very dirty, mouthbreathing Jerry Lewis.
Lewis really stole the show, didn't he? He was heartbreaking as a man who was so depressed that he became demented. He ended up being Det. John Munch's uncle who came up to NYC from Florida in June to see him but forgot what he was doing and ended up on the streets. He experienced a remarkable change in personality. Basically, he turned from crazy homeless man to, well, Jerry Lewis. And then he changed to crazy Jerry Lewis.
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