Author Topic: Jerry Lewis?  (Read 3894 times)

Kelvin

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2021, 10:01:54 PM »
Am I very childish for finding people doing cross-eyed, gormless faces funny?

No, but when it's every 30 seconds, you're pushing it.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2021, 04:31:50 PM »
Another great piece of swinging Lewis jazz mime. I mean, he was really good at that sort of thing, wasn't he? Exceptional.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EujE8pA1VI
 

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2021, 05:41:22 PM »
Another great piece of swinging Lewis jazz mime. I mean, he was really good at that sort of thing, wasn't he? Exceptional.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EujE8pA1VI

Indeed - he really was. There is such good use of sound in his films and for me, something like that clip is a visual interpretation of unconnected audio, which I think he excelled at. Thinking about it, this rather harks back to his early act of miming to records.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2021, 05:50:08 PM »
I wonder if the song recording scene in The Patsy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BVfkRTKYY0) influenced the one in Smashing Time? I'm inclined to say yes!

Echo Valley 2-6809

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2021, 05:53:36 PM »
Guests on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast often have anecdotes about Jerry Lewis and they invariably have him being an absolute bastard, but Gilbert always says, "I can use that old line, 'Well, he was always nice to me.'"

That was the podcast where I heard someone say that Lewis always had an unrequited crush on Dean Martin, and that was part of why Martin eventually fell out with him.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2021, 06:01:12 PM »
...For anyone wanting to read The Total Filmmaker, there's pdf's floating around, but it does seem to be getting a reprint in June. It's an interesting read though how often he followed his own advice in it is debatable.

Last night I saw Cracking Up which I utterly adored. Barely any story, likeable characters or sentimental subplots but it's got an incredible array of hugely inventive skits. By far his purest vision, well worth seeing. It's like he knew it'd be his final time directing so threw all he could into it.

Good that it's getting another reprint - after the last, thought it must only be a matter of time (a lot less than previously) until there's another. As for following his own advice, I guess most of us can struggle practicing what we preach. It's certainly an engaging read and found it fascinating to mull over.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #36 on: March 22, 2021, 11:42:10 PM »
That was the podcast where I heard someone say that Lewis always had an unrequited crush on Dean Martin, and that was part of why Martin eventually fell out with him.

That must have been the episode where they were talking with Rick Lertzman about his new book which I must get ASAP.

Echo Valley 2-6809

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2021, 01:36:54 AM »
That must have been the episode where they were talking with Rick Lertzman about his new book which I must get ASAP.

Thanks, yes, I couldn't remember. I need to read that too. I knew the Rat Pack couldn't have been as sophisticated as their public image, but hadn't realised what Grade-A pricks they often were behind the scenes.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2021, 08:19:30 AM »
That must have been the episode where they were talking with Rick Lertzman about his new book which I must get ASAP.

Ah, so he was touting that book? Usually when he’s made that claim, it’s been to promote his Jerry Lewis biography that was supposed to be out in 2018.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2021, 09:44:19 AM »
Indeed - he really was. There is such good use of sound in his films and for me, something like that clip is a visual interpretation of unconnected audio, which I think he excelled at. Thinking about it, this rather harks back to his early act of miming to records.

His use of sound and colour is quite something. I hesitate to call it expressionistic but... it's expressionistic.

People often misappropriate the term 'surrealism' when it comes to comedy, but how else to describe this scene from The Ladies Man?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua4suRfdbWU

He knew what he was doing when he directed all those films in the '60s. He wasn't interested in simply being funny (his critics would argue that he never was anyway), he was expressing an avant-garde impulse quite unlike any other American filmmaker at that time.

I know, I know, check out Cahiers du Cinema over here, but there's no denying that Lewis' self-directed work was unusual and distinctive.

Mr_Simnock

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2021, 11:15:21 AM »

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2021, 11:19:16 AM »
That's less funny than Lewis at his unfunniest.

I get the point, Lewis' telethons were horribly mawkish and condescending, but come on, The Frogs*, that was just shit.

* Not a racist reference to the French.

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2021, 02:09:20 PM »
Jerry Lewis always had a reputation as an asshole, someone grumpy outside of the screen.
For his views on Dean Martin, Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor is an obvious take on what he despised in him, the arrogance of the guy who takes everything for granted. Also, like Laurel & Hardy or Abbott & Costello, it was the partner who looked like a doofus who was the most creative behind the scenes, and the main "author", while recognition was split evenly. Unlike those other pairs, this particular doofus resented that.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2021, 02:23:16 PM »
Lewis might have been the main "author" of their double act, but Martin was a massively successful entertainer without Lewis, an accomplished comedy actor (when he could be bothered) and considering his notorious comedy drunk act was entirely an act, no slouch when it came to getting laughs either.

It's more likely they were simply different kinds of comedians, and Martin eventually got sick of Lewis' more controlling and perfectionist approach - by all accounts Martin's the one who pulled the pin on their partnership.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2021, 05:31:16 PM »
Nicely written piece on the M&L partnership here: https://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2021/03/10/martin-and-lewis/

Echo Valley 2-6809

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2021, 01:05:07 AM »
Nicely written piece on the M&L partnership here: https://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2021/03/10/martin-and-lewis/

Thanks - a decent analysis of their relationship/co-dependency. I think the forthcoming biography of Lewis (mentioned earlier in the thread) will go much further.

Lewis' telethons were horribly mawkish and condescending

You've probably heard this story, but anyway...
Before the Friars Club Roast for Lewis's 90th birthday, Jeff Ross was told he could say almost anything, but should steer clear of making jokes about the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon because Lewis took it too seriously. Ross saw that as an incitement, so halfway through his piece turned to Lewis and said something like, "But seriously Jerry, you've done such a lot of amazing work for those less fortunate through your Muscular Dystrophy charity work and annual telethons, raising money for research and treatment." At this point Lewis's face falls and the room tenses up...  "I'll never forget the time I saw a young boy with Muscular Dystrophy falteringly getting to his feet and slowly taking his very first steps towards the TV, so that he could turn the Jerry Lewis Telethon off."

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2021, 09:19:17 AM »
For his views on Dean Martin, Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor is an obvious take on what he despised in him, the arrogance of the guy who takes everything for granted.


I've never bought that take at all, and I actually believed Lewis whenever he insisted that Buddy Love wasn't based on Martin in any way shape or form. He always sounded quite hurt by that assumption, in fact. Buddy Love is an exaggerated version of the real-life Lewis himself, a precursor to his similarly self-lacerating performance in The King of Comedy. A cold, arrogant, narcissistic prick who treats people like shit - the antithesis of the lovable nerdy goofball he usually played on screen.

The Nutty Professor is a genuinely fascinating and commendably honest piece of self-analysis. The Jekyll and Hyde premise was a perfect way for him to explore that stark contrast between his family-friendly clown persona and the bitter, angry man who lurked beneath. 

Also, like Laurel & Hardy or Abbott & Costello, it was the partner who looked like a doofus who was the most creative behind the scenes, and the main "author", while recognition was split evenly. Unlike those other pairs, this particular doofus resented that.

I think it's more complicated than that. Lewis loved Martin and admired his talent - he was in awe of him really - but he also wanted to be regarded as a genius comedy auteur in the Chaplin/Keaton tradition. Hence why Martin, quite understandably, became disillusioned with the partnership. He became increasingly sidelined in their films, a talented comic in his own right playing second fiddle to A Great Clown. There was no longer any room for him in Jerry's grand vision. So no wonder he fucked off.

I don't think Lewis ever fully came to terms with that break-up, but he only had himself to blame.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2021, 09:23:56 AM »
You've probably heard this story, but anyway...
Before the Friars Club Roast for Lewis's 90th birthday, Jeff Ross was told he could say almost anything, but should steer clear of making jokes about the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon because Lewis took it too seriously. Ross saw that as an incitement, so halfway through his piece turned to Lewis and said something like, "But seriously Jerry, you've done such a lot of amazing work for those less fortunate through your Muscular Dystrophy charity work and annual telethons, raising money for research and treatment." At this point Lewis's face falls and the room tenses up...  "I'll never forget the time I saw a young boy with Muscular Dystrophy falteringly getting to his feet and slowly taking his very first steps towards the TV, so that he could turn the Jerry Lewis Telethon off."

Oh man, that's brilliant. I can just picture Lewis, his face like rolling thunder.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2021, 09:29:48 AM »
Nicely written piece on the M&L partnership here: https://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2021/03/10/martin-and-lewis/

Great article, ta for sharing it MD.

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2021, 10:52:25 AM »
Oh man, that's brilliant. I can just picture Lewis, his face like rolling thunder.


Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2021, 11:17:51 AM »
Well no. He's smiling there and severely bloated due the medication he was taking for his pulmonary fibrosis.

He would've looked more like this.




Echo Valley 2-6809

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2021, 10:43:22 PM »
Just remembered Martin Short's Lewis in Paris on SCTV  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgwVdVmazYA

The bit where Lewis lets his guard down while dressed in a sailor suit is superb.

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #52 on: April 02, 2021, 03:45:44 PM »
Classic, indeed. And this may be even better:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5vO9vC2fJI

Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2021, 05:03:54 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx10_oDysLM

Love this, saw Jimmy do it during a short improv thing because Zomby hadn't turned up so he went up and took requests, someone yelled this

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2021, 08:47:43 PM »
Short's impression of Lewis is amazing. It's not flattering at all, but there's obviously quite a lot of affection there. Short is a Lewis fan, and the feeling was mutual - Lewis admired that impression, which is quite telling.

The bit where Lewis lets his guard down while dressed in a sailor suit is superb.

It's just such a perfect encapsulation of how weird Lewis was. An angry, bitter, arrogant man who was also happy to make himself look utterly ridiculous for the sake of a cheap laugh. He could flit between zany slapstick clown mode and his actual self in a heartbeat.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2021, 09:22:16 PM »
Joe Piscopo on SNL also did a great older, showbiz phony Jerry. This sketch (the actual Jerry Lewis hosted the show that week) also features Eddie Murphy doing a pretty good 'comedy Jerry' impression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej-7TYJK_uY

I'm a child of the '80s, when Lewis' films were frequently shown on TV, so my image of him was always as that young goofball comedian. He rarely appeared on British chat shows, and obviously his telethons weren't shown over here, so I had no idea that he'd become this sort of strange, monstrous showbiz personality within the American psyche. 

People doing impressions of his actual voice?! The only time I'd ever heard his actual voice was when he played Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor. I didn't see The King of Comedy until I was either seventeen or eighteen, by which time I'd read enough about him to know that he was basically playing himself.

I have a slight Jerry Lewis obsession, as you can probably tell. He's fascinating.

Echo Valley 2-6809

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2021, 11:52:19 PM »
Classic, indeed. And this may be even better:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5vO9vC2fJI

Thanks, pretty sure I've never seen that before. SCTV was ace.

Echo Valley 2-6809

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Re: Jerry Lewis?
« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2021, 11:53:29 PM »
Joe Piscopo on SNL also did a great older, showbiz phony Jerry. This sketch (the actual Jerry Lewis hosted the show that week) also features Eddie Murphy doing a pretty good 'comedy Jerry' impression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej-7TYJK_uY

Uncanny. Piscopo seems to be a byword for naff among some US comedians - the bodybuilding obsession and Trump support can't help - but he's a great impressionist. Does a very accurate Letterman too.