Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Jerry Lewis Out as MDA Chairman and Telethon Host
My favorite TV show of all-time was canceled.
We all knew it couldn't last forever, but who would have thought Jerry Lewis' departure from the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Annual Labor Day Telethon that he created would get ugly.
It was announced after last year's Extra Special Special that Telethon '11 would be whittled down from twenty-one-and-a-half hours to a paltry six, and that Jerry's role in the annual Love-In was in the dark.
In December, word came that Lewis would appear on the show, but not as host. He would be allowed to come out at the end to sing his traditional curtain-song, You'll Never Walk Alone.
Thanks for the sour persimmons.
Reporters asked JL about his role in Telethon 2011 last Friday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. "It's none of your business," came the cranky 85-year-old legend's reply.
My first piece on Lewis for The Big Screen announced his retirement as host of The Telethon. Today, it is my sad duty to report that Jerry Lewis has called for his last "TIMPANI!" There will be no appearance on this year's program; Jerry Lewis is no longer the Chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
According to MDA.org, "Lewis has completed his run as its national chairman...Lewis and MDA announced his retirement as host of the MDA Labor Day Telethon."
MDA Chairman of the Board of Directors, R. Rodney Howell, M.D. issued the following glad-handing statement: “Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon.”
Completed his run? Not be appearing on the Telethon? Jerry Lewis and MDA announced? What's this "we" crap? NO ONE CALLS CUT ON A JERRY LEWIS SET!
Now what? MDA does outstanding work, and I don't want to come off sounding like a callous Charlie by calling for a Telethon boycott. Damn! Just yesterday I finalized plans to spend Labor Day with friends watching what little there was to be seen of Jerry on this year's 'Thon.
The same way that I support our military without being in favor of the war is the same way I'll support the MDA. I'll stuff a few bucks in a fireman's boot and buy a dozen shamrocks at my 7-11, but I'm not watching.
Walk on, Jerry. Walk on!
More like this:
- 'Love Network' leveled as Jerry-less Telethon moves to ABC — July 18, 2013
- The Jerry Lewis Telethon That Never Was — Sept. 6, 2011
- John Waters Offers Advice to "The Loyal-to-Jerry MDA Kids" — Aug. 18, 2011
- Comedians Rally to Support Former Telethon Host Jerry Lewis — Aug. 10, 2011
- Jerry Lewis announces he's retiring as host of the MDA Telethon — May 16, 2011