Amidst an otherwise stale procession of fall season promotion and obvious renewal announcements, the breakout star of the Television Critics Association press tour may well end up being 85-year-old comedian Jerry Lewis, who dropped by the Encore panel—officially to promote the upcoming documentary Method To The Madness Of Jerry Lewis—then proceeded to drop some science on why this whole farkakte industry is officially hoyven-glavined. As reported by our own TCA correspondent Todd VanDerWerff, Lewis burst onto the scene by first interrupting CEO Chris Albrecht from the audience, then took the stage to unleash an unfettered tirade on reality television, social networking, and all of this business we call "show."
“This business is scrounging around for what to do," Deadline quotes Lewis as saying, adding, "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?" (That depends: Is she Italian and/or haunted?) But beyond the lack of creativity, Lewis went on to diagnose a much deeper spiritual problem that’s affecting all of humanity—and if his predictions are correct, may even lead to its extinction and/or a robot uprising:
“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?... [Twitter and Facebook] are 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.”
Later, Lewis went on to lament the loss of our very souls to cynicism: “The spirit of the child is being sucked out of the industry,” Lewis said. “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.” (Truly, it was the day the clown cried.)
Fortunately, Lewis hasn’t yet abandoned all hope, as he refused to confirm those recent reports that this year’s Labor Day Telethon would be his last, while announcing he would hold a September 5 press conference to “discuss not the past, but the future.” And he also avowed that he couldn’t truly fulfill his life’s destiny until he helps find a cure for muscular dystrophy—fortunately for him, a disease that may prove easier to eradicate than whatever spiritual cancer is eating away at our very essence.
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