Jerry Lewis, icon, comedian, philanthropist, Nutty Professor, and Crying Clown died today.
He was 91.
He was also a dick.
His body is barely cold, yes, but he was a frosty individual for much of his life.
First let’s acknowledge the good:
The “Jerry’s Kids” telethons raised $2 billion for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Lewis entertained cross-generational fans for decades, namely with acts like Martin and Lewis and hit comedies The Bellboy, The Disorderly Orderly, and The Ladies Man.
Philanthropy, entertaining, and dickishness aren’t mutually exclusive, and nor is it rare for the rich and famous to espouse all three. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever, but he’s also a serial philanderer and degenerate gambler. Jay Leno killed as a stand-up comedian before transforming into a late-night thief, stealing talent and bits and ultimately screwing Conan O’Brien out of The Tonight Show. Ted Kennedy was instrumental in passing the Civil Rights Bill, as well as the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
Lewis did good deeds, made people laugh, and he was actually a dick.
He was a Misogynist
Lewis said the following about women, according to Time:
“I don’t like any female comedians.”
He was unable to enjoy their comedy because he thinks of a woman, “as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”
“Seeing a woman project the kind of aggression that you have to project as a comic just rubs me wrong. And they’re funny — I mean you got some very, very funny people that do beautiful work — but I have a problem with the lady up there that’s going to give birth to a child — which is a miracle.”
He was a Shitty Father:
Lewis was estranged from his son, Joseph, who died of a drug overdose in 2009. Contactmusic.com reported that Joseph’s brother, Gary (of Gary Lewis and The Playboys) said, “Jerry Lewis is a mean and evil person. He was never loving and caring toward me or my brothers. I don’t know if Joe’s death is drug related, but I believe it could have been prevented if he and my father had been on better terms. I believe he partly died of a broken heart. [My father] doesn’t really care. He’s more worried about his career and his image than his own family.”
There’s also the story of Suzan Minoret, the alleged love-child of Lewis and Lynn Uchitel. According to Philadelphia Weekly, Lewis never recognized Minoret as his daughter despite DNA test results. She is currently homeless.
He Didn’t Care About Syrian Refugees:
“Refugees should stay where the hell they are,” Lewis said in a 2015 interview. “Hey, nobody has worked harder for the human condition than I have, but they’re not part of the human condition…If 11 guys in that group of 10,000 are ISIS — how can I take the chance? I don’t want to lose another Frenchman or another Englishman.”
Considering refugee status is one of the hardest ways to enter the United States–one in which applicants undergo several layers of security screening and are barred from entry if they have any record of violence–it’s virtually impossible for a member of ISIS to become a refugee.
Also, Lewis was of Russian-Jewish descent, and many thousands of Russian Jews, as well as Holocaust survivors entered the U.S. as refugees.
Were they part of the human condition?
He Supported Donald Trump
Lewis showered the following praise upon Trump: “I think he’s great. He’s a showman and we’ve never had a showman in the president’s chair.”
We’ve also never had a Neo Nazi sympathizer there either. Perhaps Lewis’ last memory of Trump was hearing him say there were “Very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville.
Then There was That Time He Said “Faggot” on the Telethon Broadcast:
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