Monday, September 7, 2009

Very Jerry

One of the chief byproducts of this whole being-in-my-late 50's thing is an increased understanding that not everyone will like what I like, nor will I like what everyone else likes, and more important, it doesn't mean doodly squat anyway.

But could I ask for a little love for Jerry
Lewis? The dean (Freudian slip!) of sophisticated, subtly nuanced comedy was born Joseph Levitch, Newark NJ, 1926 (as if you didn't know that as well as your own DOB!). Jerry has been here to entertain you since, well, 1926. Freud would have had a field day analyzing the struggles between Jerry and his father, a vaudeville performer who called himself Danny Lewis, a man who achieved perhaps 1% of the levels his son attained, but who nonetheless ridiculed, scorned and mocked Jerry, and rode his coattails all the way to the peaks Jerry attained. In fact, I can just see old Freud enjoying the transformation scene in "The Nutty Professor."

It should be mentioned here that my neutrality is lost when the topic turns to Jerry. Colossal talent, towering ego, insecurity on parade at all times. He once told a New Yorker interviewer, who happened to have been at one of Jerry's nightclub performances when something technical went wrong, "You have it easy - you don't have to live with Jerry Lewis!"

But it's Labor Day weekend, and while we all mostly have it easy, you know what that means: time for the MDA Telethon. I am not taking sides in this whole thing about people with MD claiming that Jerry is using their medical conditions to raise money to help fight the very conditions that they have. And for those who say he uses this weekend as an annual forum to force his ego on the world, I say maybe so, but at least he will raise 30 million semolians to help fight a disease, and that's more than most of us are doing.

If you like show business, the old-fashioned tuxedo and buck-and-wing dance type, well, there's not much of it left any more, so please enjoy an American original in his natural habitat while you still have the chance to do so.

Here's a little sumpin' to get you in the mood!

No comments: