Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Eighty-five-year-old Jerry Lewis took over the room this afternoon during an Encore session at the TCA tour to promote the original feature-length documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, slated to premiere this fall. Outfitted with a platform and a microphone, the comedy legend didn’t disappoint, holding court and sparing no opinion about an industry that he believes has lost its way. He refused to confirm that his forthcoming Labor Day Telethon in September would be his last, noting that he’d have a press conference Sept. 5 to discuss not the past but the future (presumably both his and the telethon’s).
Earlier, Lewis rolled off on a tangent about why Hollywood needs fixing. “This business is scrounging around for what to do,” he said. “The medium is busy knocking its brand out to display the fat lady at 375 pounds (who) in two months is gonna be 240. Who gives a shit?” He continued, “The industry has destroyed themselves. It’s no longer relevant because it puts out all of its product on a stupid phone. You’re going to put ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ on that goddamned stupid sonofabitch?” (Speaking of Twitter and Facebook) “They’re wonderful technical advances. But once people see how much it’s cluttering their life, they’ll figure it out for themselves. … We’re not going to have human beings in 20 years. People won’t be talking to other human beings.
“The spirit of the child is being sucked out of the industry. People all need to remember they have a child within them. If they don’t have some of that in them, an industry will just go by like a strong wind. And that hurts my heart.” Asked if he felt he’d fulfilled his destiny, Lewis concluded, “I’m coming close.” What would nee to happen for him to be satisfied? “Get a cure for muscular dystrophy.”