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Fellow comedians are just outraged about the MDA decision to drop Jerry Lewis as host and chairman of the Telethone.
The yesterday, Aug. 4, Muscular Dystrophy Association announcement that Jerry Lewis won’t host MDA Labor Day Telethon raised a lot of question marks among fans and fellow comedians. All of them are just as outraged about the decision to drop Jerry Lewis as the former host of MDA Telethon TV show.
Tom Arnold, Paul Rodriguez and Albert Brooks, among others, said Jerry Lewis was treated unfairly.
Paul Rodriguez said:
“As a fellow comedian, it’s really crappy the way they treated him,”
“The man is an institution. They should have found a better was to let him go. The way they did it, it’s gonna hurt their charity.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Jerry Lewis is the face of Telethon
Jamie Masada, the longtime owner of the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, said he’s received a dozen messages from comedians, including Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle, expressing anger over the way Jerry Lewis had been dropped from the MDA annual show.
“He’s the face of the telethon,” Masada said.
“Without him, there’s no show.”
A Jerry Lewis’ spokeswoman said the star had no comment on his exit from the telethon. But others rallied to Lewis’ defense.
The decision represented an about-face from the MDA’s announcement in May that Jerry Lewis would host the telethon for a final time this year, and would appear in the closing moments of future telethons to sing his trademark number, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Jerry Lewis: “Get the cure for muscular dystrophy, then I’m fine.” [googlead tip=”patrat_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Jerry Lewis said Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills that he saw himself continuing, in part because his role as host went beyond a show business opportunity.
When a questioner asked what he would have to do to be satisfied with his life, he replied:
“Get the cure for muscular dystrophy, then I’m fine.”
According to MDA insider sources:
“The organization made an executive decision to part ways with Lewis, who, by and large, discredited the very industry that made him who he is,”
“And because the telethon is one of the biggest television events of the year, they couldn’t take a chance at more bad publicity, especially from its pitchman and host.”
Jerry Lewis, 85 comedian, started hosting MDA charity events in 1952.
Since the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon first aired in 1966, according to a June report by ABC News, Lewis calculated that after 61 years the telethon has raised $2.6 billion. Since 1966 when the telethon became what it is today – the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon – until 2010 Jerry Lewis has been the face of the Muscular Dystrophy Association .
The telethon is now called the MDA Labor Day Telethon.
The marathon telecast was once a must-stop venue for comedians and entertainers. During the height of its popularity, the telethon featured performances from show business luminaries, including Sammy Davis Jr., Liberace, the Supremes, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra.
In recent decades, the event’s appeal faded with younger viewers who found the format somewhat dated. Indeed, the telethon model itself as a fundraising vehicle lost much of its force, particularly with the rise of the Internet, which emerged as a more potent generator of donations.
Even before ousting Jerry Lewis, the MDA was poised to scale back the telethon from more than 20 hours to as few as six, primarily because stations were threatening to drop all or part of the telecast.
The telethon’s earning power had declined in recent years. According to public tax filings, the telethon brought in $56.4 million in gross receipts in 2005.
But in 2009, the latest year for which records are available, the tally dropped to $45.6 million.
Jerry Lewis 2009 MDA Telethon final hour – Youtube
The MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) has not announced a replacement for Jerry Lewis.
The MDA said it did not expect to name a new host this year and that the Sept. 4 event would be shepherded by entertainment personalities Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O’Dell.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of more than 40 disorders that affect more than 1 million Americans. The maladies, sometimes referred to as neuromuscular disorders, weaken the muscles and eventually result in profound disability. The most common form of the disease is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which affects about 1 in 3,500 males worldwide.