WEIRDLAND: At Home with Jerry Lewis, It Takes a Lot to Laugh

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

At Home with Jerry Lewis, It Takes a Lot to Laugh

Jerry Lewis (It Takes a Lot to Laugh) video. Featuring photos and film stills of Jerry Lewis and his co-stars and Hollywood friends Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Connie Stevens, Janet Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, Natalie Wood, etc. and his wives Patti Palmer and SanDee Pitnick. Soundtrack: "It Takes a Lot to Laugh" by Bob Dylan and "Laugh at me" by Sonny Bono.

Jerry Lewis beams towards his wife SanDee: “She is the love of my life,” he said, and there seemed no reason to doubt him. “Most people are embarrassed to admit there’s another human being that’s in control of them, that your heart beats three times as fast because you’ve given yourself to someone else.” His adventures on screen, once a source of pleasure, were, he said, right up there with the night he thought he was going to have sex with Marilyn Monroe. Mr. Lewis, who has boasted in the past of an affair with the legendary siren, went silent when pressed. “I could have been talking about Bette Davis,” he offered at last, opaquely. Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences never honored Mr. Lewis for his film work, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charitable activity in 2009.

“I'd made 41 movies in thirty years; in the next seven years, I made only one. I wouldn't play the game. There weren't many people in the business who wanted me. I usually said what I believed. And there is no place in the corporate structure for a man with convictions, who also happens to be ruthlessly honest. The two archenemies of film corporate enterprises are 'conviction' and 'honesty'. If you have those qualities, you will labeled 'difficult,' 'egomaniacal,' and 'tough to get along with' but it's the people who have earned those reputations who know their craft and care about the films they are making.”

Mr. Lewis knows he can be slippery, his distrust of the interview process deep and abiding. “I almost always can tell when the interviewer is going to give me a spritz,” he said, punching the air by way of illustration. “For that, you’ve got to be prepared. You’ve got to be out in the world. And my tendency is to be alone.” Many critics interpreted his performance in Scorsese's The King of Comedy as a projection of his dark side. Mr. Lewis scoffs at it: "there is no darkness. I've got news for you. In comparison to the nerd, if the reverse of that is silence, it could be interpreted as dark." -"Jerry Lewis: In Person" (1982) and "At Home with Jerry Lewis" (2016) by Ruth La Ferla

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