Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Comedy King on Encore Tonight

Here at the Flaming Nose, we don't try to hide our love for television. It's blatant, bigger than life and impossible to ignore. No wonder we also love legendary comic Jerry Lewis...for he is all of the above and more. Listen to what the great JL says about our beloved medium: "I love my industry. I love what it does. I don't allow people in my family to use the term TV. That's stupid. It's 'television'. It's a miracle. It's entitled to that respect."

Tonight, Encore TV will feature a wonderful special about Jerry Lewis called "Method to the Madness" by Gregg Barson. Luminaries such as Jerry Seinfeld, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino all talk about their connection with the comedy great.

My first encounter with Jerry Lewis took place when I was 12 years old. I saw The Nutty Professor and was transfixed by his transformation from the buck toothed nebish professor, to the arctic cool of lounge singer Buddy Love. It had a deep, possibly damaging, impact on my budding psychological development, when I realized I didn't like the nice professor. I liked the bad guy. Which must be why one of my favorite Jerry Lewis moments was when he played himself in The King of Comedy (with Robert DeNiro), and flashed those icy eyes that chilled me to the bone. Although I love his old comedy movies, I wish Mr. Lewis had taken more serious roles over the years, as I think he had a unique skill for communicating menace. It's probably too late now, as the 85 year old comedian, movie star, inventor and philanthropist simmers down to enjoy the twilight phase of this life.

A big fuss and many jokes have been made over how the French revere Jerry Lewis. In fact, in March 2006, the French Minister of Culture awarded Lewis the Légion d'Honneur, calling him the "French people's favorite clown".

I must be French too, then or je ne sais quoi. For I have spent a life time enthralled by his humor and take no prisoners personality. If you're a Jerry fan too, tonight's documentary on Encore will be a special treat.


Lisa said...

That old black magic of Buddy Love has me in its spell, too. I'm totally fascinated by JL and have always been. Love him in comedy and in his dramatic roles -- "Funny Bones", anyone? -- and can't wait to see this! Thanks for the heads up!

Jane said...

I'm so excited thinking about watching this tonight. It has totally made my day. Somebody in the special supposedly calls Lewis the Marlon Brando of comedy, and I totally get that. When Brando comes onto a scene, I can't take my eyes away from him. Feel exactly the same way about Jerry Lewis!

Jane said...

Now that I've seen this picture I have to say it was worth ordering Encore for. My only complaint would be that it did not have as much from his really, really early days like when he played at Grossinger's in the Catskills. Maybe that footage just doesn't exist. They did have the amazing surprise reunion moment when Dean Martin showed up at the telethon, after not seeing Jerry for 20 years. It was really touching.