Remember that time in 1998 when Jerry Lewis told a crowd of 1,000 at the Aspen comedy festival about his disdain for female comedians and couldn’t even bring himself to admit Lucille Ball was funny? Well, it seems the 87-year-old is committed to the cause. Today at a press conference at the Cannes International Film Festival, the iconic performer was asked if he had changed his position on female comedians, especially in light of the popularity of performers like Melissa McCarthy and Sarah Silverman.
When asked who his favorite female comedians were, Lewis explained he liked Cary Grant and Burt Reynolds and then said, “I don’t have any [female favorites]” according to the Associated Press, adding, “I can’t see women doing that. It bothers me. I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator. I just can’t do that.”
Is there some sort of absurd, backhanded compliment in there? Is Lewis saying that women are superior to men and therefore it pains him to see the fairer species mixed up in the dirty sport of comedy? At the Aspen festival, he defended his opinion, saying, “A woman doing comedy doesn’t offend me but sets me back a bit. I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”