Jerry Lewis says women are funny, but not as crude stand-up comics.
The 88-year-old entertainer was criticised for expressing his distaste for female comedians a few years ago, but in clarifying his comments he called Lucille Ball “brilliant” and said Carol Burnett is “the greatest female entrepreneur of comedy”.
Ball “went to the lowest level of the barrel and she was brilliant because of it,” Lewis said on Saturday after leaving his hand and footprints in cement outside Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre.
“Seeing a woman project the kind of aggression that you have to project as a comic just rubs me wrong. And they’re funny – I mean, you got some very, very funny people that do beautiful work – but I have a problem with the lady up there that’s going to give birth to a child – which is a miracle,” Lewis said. “But when you have women like Carol Burnett, that’s the greatest female entrepreneur of comedy. I just saw Carol at the Smith Center, at home in Vegas, and I was stunned by how brilliant she is and how brilliantly she brings the audience right up to her.”
Lewis was accompanied by his wife and daughter at the ceremony, during which he asked his daughter to take a bow.
“This is an incredible time for me,” he said. “I have never, ever had an experience like this and had my daughter present. And this is the first time I’ve ever asked her to join me.”
Danielle Sara Lewis is Lewis’s only daughter and the youngest of his seven children.
The director Quentin Tarantino introduced Lewis at the event at which the comedians Richard Belzer and Dane Cook were among the guests.