Jerry Lewis on ‘American Idol': ‘They’re All McDonald’s Wipeouts’

He doesn’t spare the “The Biggest Loser,” either: “Who cares? The [television] industry has destroyed itself”

Last Updated: July 30, 2011 @ 5:29 PM

You must hand it to veteran comedian and "television star" Jerry Lewis, now 85 and still as fresh as ever.

At the Television Critics Association summer press tour to promote an upcoming documentary titled "The Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis," Jerry had some harsh words for "American Idol" and other current television shows.

"The kids who are on 'American Idol,' they’re all McDonalds wipeouts," he said. "They all worked there and now they're doing [reality television]."

Also read: Jerry Lewis Rushed to Hospital Before Australia Show

He ripped into "The Biggest Loser," too, saying the television networks are showing “a fat lady” trying to lose weight. "Who cares? The [television] industry has destroyed itself."

The subject of the new Encore documentary says he "deeply respects" television in general, adding: "I don’t allow people in my family to use the term 'TV.' It’s 'television,' it’s a miracle, and deserves respect."

Noting how in the early days of television, Americans used to rush home after work to watch Milton Berle, Jerry said that in 2011 "nobody wants to run home and see anything, they run home and hope they see something."

Content on mobile devices drives him crazy, he says. "They put all of their product on the stupid phone. You’re gonna put 'Lawrence of Arabia' on that stupid [thing]?"

Twitter and Facebook? Jerry had kind words, sort of, for social media, telling reporters: "I think it’s wonderful for people who enjoy using it. When they find out they’re getting their life cluttered, they’ll make those decisions themselves. They don’t need to be told by a celebrity that it’s a load of crap."

BIO Dan Bloom

Dan Bloom is a freelance writer based in Asia since 1991. During a five-year stint in Tokyo, he covered the triumphs (and occasional failures) of Hollywood movies in Japan and interviewed American actors passing through Tokyo on film promotion tours, including Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Kevin Costner.