It is the end of an era with Jerry Lewis, the comedy legend, finally retiring from the MDA show this year after successfully hosting it for 45 years.
Known for his towering ego, Jerry announced his retirement plans earlier this year. However, he expressed his wish to make a farewell appearance in the show. His sudden absence in the show, without any reasonable explanation, therefore, raised many a curious eyebrow. The reason is still as unclear as mud.
Although Jerry has always been criticized for being abrasive and making offensive comments about women, gays and disabled people, he was extremely popular for his effort to pull in money for people with muscular dystrophy. His fascinating yet contradictory personality earned him the title of the King of Comedy and helped him fetch more than $2 billion for the cause.
With him stepping down, the Muscular Dystrophy Association ushered in a new look of the show. The usual length of the show was chopped down from 21 hours to 6 hours. The Labor Day show was not aired on the said day and was hosted by a bunch of fresh faces. Top Hollywood celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Lady Antebellum, Richie Sambora and Jordan Sparks made appearances to add their star value to the show.
The MDA Regional Coordinator, Katie Lukhard, defended the change in the show format saying it was a cheaper and more effective way to pull money in for the organization. From a logistic standpoint, it's just so much easier for our producers, for the telethon staff, said Lukhard.
However, the sudden no-show and the unceremonious dismissal of the comedy legend from his own show has irked his fans.