Jerry Lewis is no longer going to be on the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon or Chairman of MDA. He is 85 and has been hosting the show since the 1966, on Labor Day. I grew up with that show and my father looked forward to it every year. It was on practically the whole weekend. He loved watching the money totals go up. The telethon raised over one billion dollars over the years. Last year alone they raised 59 million.
No one explained why Jerry Lewis won’t be there this year. He had planned on retiring and saying his final goodbyes. It’s too bad they didn’t allow him to do that, it’s the least they could have done to honor him for all his time, work and dedication.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of Jerry Lewis. I never liked his comedy. I never found him funny. If anything I found him annoying. But I do believe in giving credit where it’s due, and he does deserve to exit with some show of dignity and respect and not cut off at the knees. I seem to recall some outlandish statements he made in recent years, which might be behind this decision. We all know when people get to a certain age they feel they are entitled to speak their minds about everything and anything…either that or their mental censor is burnt out.
I just looked up what I was trying to remember. In 2007, Jerry Lewis called someone an “illiterate fag” during the telethon. That caused a ruckus with the gay community and rightfully so, but he was 81 at the time and, as I say, people are not always in charge of their utterings after a certain age. In June of this year he cancelled a tour in Australia because he was suffering from exhaustion. Maybe his health is not up to doing the entire weekend, maybe he is suffering from senility? Who knows?
All I know is there goes another remnant of my childhood out the window. Another reminder that not only is Jerry Lewis getting old, but so am I. There is nothing to be done about it but wallow in pity and blog about it. Now I feel better. Thanks for listening.