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Jerry Lewis Criticizes Current State of TV

Jerry Lewis
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

People "rush home and hope they see something good" on television," the comedian said.

Jerry Lewis made his mark at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour on Friday, criticizing the current state of television and touting his upcoming Encore doc Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis.

"I love the industry," he told reporters. "I don't allow peple in my family to use the term 'TV' around the house. It's television. It's a miracle."

"When I watch it, I want it to grab me. I want it to be like I ran home and I made sure to be there before Law & Order went on and long before Jack Web," he added.

But the comic legend did say that the perception toward television has changed dramatically.

"No one rushes home anymore to watch something good," he said. "They rush home and hope they see something good."

The 85-year-old comedian also criticized the various screens made available to people for watching movies, television and videos. "We're not going to have human beings in 20 years; people don't know how to have conversations with each other," Lewis said of smartphones and Twitter.

It was clear that Lewis wasn't a fan of American Idol, when he called the contestants on Fox's juggernaut "McDonald's wipe-outs." "They've all been dumped," he said. "They've worked there and now they're doing that. And of course they all play a guitar, which takes the place of music."

He continued: "We don't have the soul in our industry that we had when I was working. And the soul has been desperately deteriorated, only because you got a guy that's running a network whose aunt died and left him some stock."

Later on, Lewis went off on other reality staples. "Proctor & Gamble says, 'Are you nuts? You want me to spend $1.6 million for that variety show when I can get the fat lady to lose weight for $62,000. Let's go with that one. We'll call it reality,' " he said. "And that's what they've done."

Lewis commented on reports that he was stepping away from the Muscular Dystrophy telethon, saying that that is simply not true. He also mentioned his upcoming projects, including The Family Jewels with John Travolta.

Lewis canceled a tour date while in Australia earlier this year after falling ill.