Jerry Lewis The Nutty Spokesperson
Last year the Muscular Dystrophy Association announced that Jerry Lewis was stepping down as host of its annual Labor Day telethon, the marathon TV event he had made his personal showcase, soap box and sentimental journey for 45 years. With the show cut from Then what seemed the sad but inevitable end of an era became something uglier. But no Jerry. But a few things have become clear in the year since the awkward public breakup. Jerry Lewis was dumped by the MDA, the charity he had been identified with since the s.
And the telethon is withering without him. Lewis, on the other hand, was interested in exploring the possibilities of the medium by utilizing the tools he had at his disposal in formally innovative and oftentimes hilarious ways. His purposeful selection of lenses, for example, expands and contracts space to generate laughs that aren't necessarily inherent in the material, and he often achieves his biggest effects via what he leaves off screen, not just visually but structurally.
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As a director, Lewis advanced the film comedy genre with innovations in the areas of fragmented narrative, experimental use of music and sound technology, and near surrealist use of color and art direction. Lewis is the only one today who's making courageous films. He's been able to do it because of his personal genius".
Intensely personal and original, Lewis' films were groundbreaking in their use of dark humor for psychological exploration.
Few comedians before him had so brazenly turned arrested development into art, or held up such a warped fun house mirror to American identity in its loudest, ugliest, vulgarest excesses. Fewer still had advanced the still-radical notion that comedy doesn't always have to be funny, just fearless, in order to strike a nerve". Pre , Hollywood comedies were screwball or farce. Lewis, from his earliest 'home movies, such as How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border , made in his playhouse in the early s, was one of the first to introduce satire as a full-length film.
This "sharp eyed" satire continued in his mature work, commenting on the cult of celebrity, the machinery of 'fame', and "the dilemma of being true to oneself while also fitting into polite society. Even post-modern in places. Lewis was an early master of deconstruction to enhance comedy.
From the first Comedy Hour s he exposed the artifice of on stage performance by acknowledging the lens, sets, malfunctioning props, failed jokes, and tricks of production. As Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote: Lewis had "the impulse to deconstruct and even demolish the fictional "givens" of any particular sketch, including those that he might have dreamed up himself, a kind of perpetual auto-destruction that becomes an essential part of his filmmaking as he steadily gains more control over the writing and direction of his features.
Remembering Jerry Lewis
Daniel Fairfax writes in Deconstructing Jerry: Lewis as a Director , "Lewis deconstructs the very functioning of the joke itself". Robert DeNiro and Sandra Bernhard both of whom starred with Lewis in The King of Comedy reflected on his death, Bernhard said, "It was one of the great experiences of my career, he was tough but one of a kind". De Niro said, "Jerry was a pioneer in comedy and film. And he was a friend.
I was fortunate to have seen him a few times over the past couple of years. Even at 91, he didn't miss a beat You'll be missed. From the outset he was generous. Jerry Lewis epitomised that. Jerry embodied the term "funny bones": a way of differentiating between comedians who tell funny and those who are funny. He was unbelievably complicated and shockingly self-aware.
Actor and comedian Jeffrey Tambor wrote after Lewis' death, "You invented the whole thing. Thank you doesn't even get close. There have been numerous retrospectives of Lewis' films in the U. Lewis is one of the few performers to have touched every aspect of 20th Century American entertainment, appearing in vaudeville , burlesque , the ' borsht belt ', nightclubs , radio , Classical Hollywood Cinema The 'Golden Age' , Las Vegas , television: variety, drama, sit-coms and talk shows, Broadway and independent films. On August 21, , multiple hotel marquees on the Las Vegas Strip honored Lewis with a coordinated video display of images of his career as a Las Vegas performer and resident.
Maisel , Lewis' signature catchphrase "Hey, Laaady! From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the entertainer. For other people named Jerry Lewis, see Jerry Lewis disambiguation. Not to be confused with Jerry Lee Lewis. Newark, New Jersey , U.
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Las Vegas, Nevada , U. Comedian actor singer film director film producer screenwriter humanitarian. Patti Palmer m. SanDee Pitnick m.
Fast Facts about Jerry Lewis - CNN
Main article: Martin and Lewis. Jerry Lewis was the most profoundly creative comedian of his generation and arguably one of the two or three most influential comedians born anywhere in this century. As a filmmaker who insisted on the personal side of his work—who was producer, writer, director, star, and over-all boss of his productions in the interest of his artistic conception and passion—he was an auteur by temperament and in practice long before the word travelled Stateside.
Further information: Jerry Lewis filmography. August 22, The New York Times. New York: Atheneum. Retrieved July 3, Jewish Journal. Martin's Press — via Google Books. Dean and Me. Three Rivers Press. ABC News. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
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Inventing Jerry Lewis. Smithsonian Institution Press. June 10, Retrieved June 15, — via Archive. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 26, New Yorker Magazine. Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 31, — via YouTube. Orange County Register. August 20, The Total Filmmaker.
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LA Times. The Straight Dope. The Washington Post. May 1, June 24, SF Weekly. The Guardian. December 18, Retrieved December 20, — via YouTube.