Jerry Lewis proves continued vitality with wildly difficult interview

Jerry Lewis Star

An interview with Jerry Lewis, the comedian best known for his collaborations with Dean Martin, has become the Hollywood Reporter’s most-watched video ever, three days after it was first posted.

The Reporter prides itself on its access to A-listers, with its round-table discussions between awards season contenders pushed particularly hard as multimedia content. The Lewis interview, however, effortlessly trounced them all, taking more than 1.2m page views in a single day.

Lewis was interviewed by the trade magazine in Las Vegas, as part of a special edition focusing on performers still working in their 10th decade.

Throughout the encounter, Lewis is aggressively monosyllabic and contemptuous. He refuses to acknowledge that there are any differences between working now and in the past, and even between 1947 Vegas and the city in 2016, and will not repeat any anecdotes or speak about forthcoming projects. He mimics the laugh of the interviewer, Andy Lewis, and is actively rude as the audience is wrapped up.

His attitude, said the interviewer, was ascribable to irritation at a photo shoot which had preceded filming.

“He looked angry,” said Lewis. “I already knew Lewis’s reputation for being difficult and acerbic … And he’s a well-known control freak.

“Throughout the photo shoot, [he] complained about the amount of equipment in the house, the number of assistants and how the shots were set up. By the time we sat down for the interview about an hour later, Lewis had worked up a full head of steam, and it seemed like he was punishing THR by doing the interview but being as uncooperative as possible.”

Fellow comedians included Jerry Seinfeld and Josh Gad have backed up the 90-year-old on social media.

And Sarah Palin also expressed empathy with Lewis.

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