CANNES, France (AP) — Ladies? Don’t make him laugh.
Asked who his favorite female comics were Thursday at a Cannes Film Festival press conference, Jerry Lewis listed Cary Grant and Burt Reynolds. He then added: “I don’t have any.”
In 1998, Lewis famously said that watching women do comedy “sets me back a bit” and that he has trouble with the notion of would-be mothers as comedians.
Asked Thursday if he had changed his mind at all because of performers like Melissa McCarthy and Sarah Silverman, the 87-year-old Lewis said of women performing broad comedy: “I can’t see women doing that. It bothers me.”
“I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator,” he said. “I just can’t do that.”
Lewis was in Cannes for the premiere of “Max Rose,” a drama directed by Daniel Noah in which Lewis stars as an aging jazz musician.
In her 2011 memoir, “Bossypants,” Tina Fey alluded to Lewis’ attitudes about female comedians: “Whenever someone says to me, ‘Jerry Lewis says women aren’t funny,’ or ‘Christopher Hitchens says women aren’t funny,’ … Do you have anything to say to that?’
“Yes,” writes Fey. “We don’t f—— care if you like it.”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle