MDA dropped Jerry Lewis as host of the annual Telethon. Laugh Factory comedians held a press conference in his support.
After the Wednesday MDA announcement that the association had relieved Jerry Lewis of his duties as host and chairman of the annual telethon, despite his May assertion that the upcoming Labor Day telethon would be his last, many of the Hollywood’s famous Laugh Factory, as Paul Rodriguez, Larry Miller, Tom Dreesen, and Norm Crosby rallied to support the 85 year old comedian.
Jerry Lewis has been let go from the MDA Telethon
Last Friday, they held a press conference at the Laugh Factory club to reprimand the MDA for the decision to drop the man that was the face of telethon and they see as a member of the family.
The comedians demand that Jerry Lewis at the very least should attend the telethon and be given a proper send-off to celebrate his 45 years of hosting.
“If this is the way we’re going, we should also tell grandpa we don’t need him for Thanksgiving,” joked Larry Miller to reporters.
Jamie Masada, Laugh Factory owner said that his club is holding a petition to present to the MDA.
“The charity should have a better, bigger heart,” he said.
The petition has already gained over 10,000 signatures, but Jamie Masada said he is hoping for 100,000 signers expressing disapproval about MDA decision.
“We don’t want to boycott the charity of the kids,” Masada continued.
“We want to to raise money but they didn’t have to be cold-hearted.”
The MDA’s reasoning for replacing Lewis has not been announced, but Laugh Factory owner, Jamie Masada claimed he and the comedians support Jerry Lewis regardless of the reasons for his dismissal.
“He’s not dead,” said Paul Rodriguez during the press conference.
“He’s very much alive.”
The event was full of bitter-laced humor.
“We’re gonna host our own telethon,” Rodriguez said.
“We’re trying to find a cure for disrespect and ingratitude.”
Paul Rodriguez speaking for Jerry Lewis’s departure from MDA Telethon
Norm Crosby called the MDA’s decision as being “abrupt” and “cruel.”
“If it was time for him to leave, that’s debatable. If he was cranky and nasty and difficult, that’s possible too,” Crosby said.
Jerry Lewis and the Telethon – Norm Crosby at the press conference
“But it was all because of the passion he had for these kids and the money they raised and for the telethon. Certainly there could’ve been a much more pleasant, easier way for him to go.”
On this year Labor Day, the Laugh Factory is planning a fundraiser from which all proceeds will be donated to research for muscular dystrophy.
46th annual telethon preparations are under way as planned at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas, where the event will be held, according to casino spokesman, Tom Mikovits.
There is no comment from the MDA after the press event, according to Jim Brown, the MDA’s vice president of public relations.
Jerry Lewis has been criticized many times by the members of the disability rights community.
In 1990, he wrote a first-person essay entitled “If I Had Muscular Dystrophy” for Parade magazine, in which he characterized those with muscular dystrophy as “being half a person”. Many in the disabled community viewed his remarks as prejudicial, contributing to the idea that people with disabilities are “childlike, helpless, hopeless, non- functioning and noncontributing members of society”. Members of the disability rights community object to Jerry Lewis receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
In February 2000, Lewis stunned an audience gathered to honor his work at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival by saying he doesn’t like female comics. Jerry Lewis said,
“I don’t like any female comedians. A woman doing comedy doesn’t offend me, but sets me back a bit. I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”
He later defended the remark, saying it was taken wildly out of context, and added that he made 11 movies with comic character actress Kathleen Freeman.
During the 2007 Labor Day Telethon, Lewis almost let slip the word “faggot” while live on air. While talking to a cameraman, he joked: “Oh, your family has come to see you. You remember Bart, your oldest son, Jesse, the illiterate fag–no…”, at which point he turned away from the camera.
Jerry Lewis health concerns
Jerry Lewis has suffered years of back pain after an injury that almost left him paralyzed when he did a comedic pratfall from a piano on March 20, 1965 while performing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.
Jerry Lewis Synergy EZ Muscular Dystrophy
He became addicted to the pain killer Percodan, but says he has been off the drug since 1978 and has not taken one since. In April 2002, Lewis had a “Synergy” neurostimulator, developed by Medtronic, implanted in his back, which has helped reduce the discomfort. He is now one of Medtronic’s leading spokespeople.
Jerry Lewis has battled prostate cancer, diabetes I, and pulmonary fibrosis and has had at least two heart attacks. A third heart attack, claimed to have been sustained while filming Cinderfellain 1960, has not been confirmed officially. Prednisone treatment in the early 2000s for pulmonary fibrosis resulted in weight gain and a noticeable change in his appearance.
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.
Now that’s not happening, according to R. Rodney Howell, the chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s board. Mr. Howell also said in a statement that Jerry Lewis had been “released” from his position as national chairman of the association, but did not explain why. Representatives for Jerry Lewis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Muscular Dystrophy Association said,
“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.”
MDA did not say who would replace Jerry Lewis as the host of the 24 hour event.
This announcement came a few weeks before the telethon, which Jerry Lewis has hosted since 1966. This May Jerry Lewis said he was retiring from the show, a television staple, but he had planned to appear on it this year. But while Jerry Lewis fans won’t be able to see him on this year’s telethon, the Encore cable channel announced today that on October 22 it would offer the premiere of “an original documentary” about him.
2010 MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon Final Total and Ending
Jerry Lewis Wants To Smack Lindsay Lohan and Paris hilton
The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s decision might be partly because of comments Jerry Lewis made last weekend at the TCAs. When asked what his role would be with the telethon, he answered:
“I didn’t mean to sound rude. But you have to assume the question you asked was motivated by something, and it had to be a little emotion. And I have to tell you the truth. September the 5th, the day after that program, I will have an international press conference with press from Reuters and London and China and Taiwan and all over the world, and I will have plenty to say about what I think isimportant. And that’s the future, not the past. Okay.”
It seems he will show us what really happened the day after the Telethon that no one will be watching.