American comedian Jerry Lewis is a notoriously difficult person to interview, but a recent chat with The Hollywood Reporter might have set a new standard for awkward celebrity encounters.
The 90-year-old sat down with the magazine to talk about his new movie and how he manages to keep working despite growing older, and he was not having a bar of it.
“I had a bad feeling about how the conversation with Jerry Lewis was going to go the second I walked into his Vegas house,” journalist Andy Lewis admitted.
“[I] saw him watching TV with his headphones on. He looked angry.”
It turned out Andy’s concerns were spot on – he proceeded to spend an uncomfortable seven minutes with the star, who rebuffed, ignored or rolled his eyes at every question.
“Lewis had worked up a full head of steam, and it seemed like he was punishing THR by doing the interview, but being as uncooperative as possible,” Andy revealed.
The comedian, known for his slapstick humour, seemed to take particular issue with questions about whether he planned to retire in his old age, to which he simply responded: “Why?”
Watch the uncomfortable interview below
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 19, 2016
To be fair, Lewis, who found fame as one half of a comedy duo with Dean Martin, has always had a reputation as a controlling perfectionist and has made a living from insulting and heckling audiences.
In an interview with the LA Times in September, journalist Mark Olson asked Lewis why he thought there were so many rumours he was “difficult”.
“Because I am,” Lewis responded. “I expect people that come to the studio to work to come with the same energy I come with. If I see less than that, I get very strong about, if you want to do this, come with a sense of pride, come with eagerness and anxiety.
“And those people that think you’re difficult, respect you tremendously. Because the creative aspect of film will never change. They may not like it, but they respect it.”
Watch the trailer for Jerry Lewis’s new film Max Rose
This month, Marc Maron, an American comedian who hosts a podcast called WTF, recounted how Lewis decided to bail out of an interview with him midway through, with no explanation.
“It was an awkward moment for me,” Maron said in the podcast, before replaying a clip of their interaction.
“I’ve been sitting here a half hour and that’s it,” Lewis said.
“We’re done?” Maron asked.
“Yep,” was Lewis’s blunt response.
— Elizabeth Renzetti (@lizrenzetti) December 19, 2016