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Jerry Lewis: Female Comedians Still Aren't Funny, He Says at Cannes Film Festival

Entertainer Jerry Lewis, who caused controversy through his proclamation that "women aren't funny", has added more fuel to the fire in a statement at Cannes.

By Kevin Jacobsen, EnStars on May 23, 2013 04:01 PM EDT
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U.S. comedian Jerry Lewis attends a special screening of the feature-length documentary "Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, December 7, 2011.
U.S. comedian Jerry Lewis attends a special screening of the feature-length documentary "Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, December 7, 2011. (Photo : Reuters)

Entertainer Jerry Lewis, who caused controversy through his proclamation that "women aren't funny," added more fuel to the fire in a statement he made at the Cannes Film Festival. 

In a press conference on Thursday, Lewis was asked which female comedians were his favorites. He sarcastically responded, "Cary Grant and Burt Reynolds," before adding, "I don't have any."

The 87-year-old comedian elaborated: "I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator. I just can't do that."

Lewis was asked if he had changed his mind about the issue, given the success of female comedians like Melissa McCarthy or Sarah Silverman. The comedian remained steadfast in his opinion, bluntly saying, "I can't see women doing that. It bothers me."

Lewis was in Cannes for the premiere of his new film Max Rose.  The film stars Lewis as an aging jazz musician who learns that his wife of 65 years is cheating on him.

He famously stated, "I don't like any female comedians" at a comedy festival in 2000. Ever since, female comedians have commented on the statement.  In reference to the comment, Tina Fey wrote in her 2011 book Bossypants:

"When faced with sexism . . . ask yourself the following question: 'Is this person in between me and what I want to do?' If the answer is no, ignore it and move on."

"Who cares if 90-year-old Jerry Lewis thinks women aren't funny?" Silverman said in 2009, "Women who get offended when people say that women aren't funny probably aren't funny, you know?"

Lewis is most known for his leading role in the 1963 film The Nutty Professor and the 1982 Martin Scorsese film The King of Comedy.

He is also famous for his yearly telethon to fight muscular dystrophy, which he presented from 1966-2010.

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