Jerry Lewis: "Refugees Should Stay Where The Hell They Are!"

"Nobody has worked harder for the human condition than I have!" says noted statesman Jerry Lewis.



My mother wasn't an educated person but one of her iron laws of wisdom was that celebrities generally make pretty piss-poor guides to the big questions in life.

You could be inspired by them, sure, and find their lives interesting and diverting but, come on already, she'd argue, they get paid for acting or singing or playing ball, and most of them were even dumber than her. She loved Gregory Peck, for instance, but rejected his politics (not because he was a lefty; she just rejected politics generally). She went to see Cary Grant on his farewell speaking tour across the country but refused to try LSD. She liked Joan Crawford but only drank Coke products. Go figure.

Which brings me to Jerry Lewis' fascinating, hour-long interview on EWTN's World Over program. For the past several decades—at least since his never-finished, much-discussed Holocaust picture The Day The Clown Cried shut down—Lewis has been a punchline, mostly for the wrong reasons.

As Brian Doherty and I wrote many years ago for the late, lamented, when it comes to comedy and much more, we are all Jerry's Kids now. The 90-year-old Lewis wasn't simply a little bit great but a truly transformative cultural figure whose influence on Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, and countless other mirthmakers is obvious, enduring, and almost always unacknowledged.

And that only scratches the surface of his influence and creative genius:

Jewish Voice

An early dadaist in the straight entertainment world, the pre-Dino Lewis employed a self-designed advertising postcard featuring such phrases as "Platter pantopatter!" and "Naive Frank Sinatra imaginational imagery," like a man playing surrealist word games with himself and losing.

His films regularly broke the fourth wall, with the "real"Jerry entering the action and insisting that he was only acting (often badly), even when pitching cancer sticks (during his disastrous early-'60s ABC variety show, his cigarette pitch involved holding up a pack of L&M smokes and shrugging, "Here it is. You wanna smoke it? That's your business"). When ersatz tough guys like Joe Pesci and James Caan brag of mob connections, they are not impersonating Sinatra so much as ripping off Cinderfella, who helped usher in the age of Mob Chic every bit as much as Ol' Blue Eyes (Lewis performed asimilar trick for Jewish consciousness as well).

Indeed, Jerry has always puffed up with pride regarding his connections to La Cosa Nostra, bragging that goodfellas and goombahs galore give generously to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Need we point out that through his yearly self-immolation for the MDA, Jerry is the Australopithecus africanus from which all glory-hound,"altruistic" stars ultimately trace their ancestry?

He also created a video system for monitoring on-set filming that revolutionized moviemaking and is still in use.

More in that vein here.

On the EWTN show, though, Lewis is every bit as awful as the character he played in The King of Comedy. Lewis gives honest and self-important appraisals of contemporary comedians (Tina Fey's humor comes from her "brain"), late-night-show hosts (he loathes Colbert, likes Fallon), and his enduring popularlity in France. "When you show up in Cannes," says his fawning interviewer Raymond Arroyo, "Forget Angelina Jolie. It's Jerry Lewis everyone wants to see." "Pretty much," says Jerry.

Terry Colon,

He is a yuuge supporter of Trump, too, as Raw Story transcribes things:

"He's a showman, and we've never had a showman in the president's chair," Lewis said.

"You had Ronald Reagan — he was a bit of a showman," Arroyo noted.

"That's different. You can't make a comparison with Ronald Reagan," Lewis countered. "I can do three hours on him with just praise, he was so good."

And he is steadfast in keeping Syrian refugees out of the home of the brave and the land of the free. When Arroyo asks about "the refugees" and notes that "there's a humanitarian crisis" in the Middle East, Lewis interjects:

Refugees should stay where the hell they are!…

Hey, nobody has worked harder for the human condition than I have, but they're not part of the human condition….If 11 guys in that group of 10,000 are ISIS, how can I take the chance? I don't want to lose another Frenchman or another Englishman. That bothers me.

I'm sure it does, Jerry, I'm sure it does.

And mom, if you're looking down on all this, I just want to say: You were right all along about celebrities.

Click below to watch Lewis' comments about refugees and la condition humaine. 

 Hat Tip: Mediaite.

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  1. Didn’t we stop listening to him when he called someone a faggot during a telethon?

    1. Stop listening to who?

        1. Maybe you all are homosexuals too!

          1. BOOOOOOOOOO

  2. but they’re not part of the human condition….

    “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.”

    1. Is there where the “Jew York” gag goes?

      1. Hymietown is the preferred nomenclature.

  3. Alright, everybody choose sides.

      1. Professor Frink from the Simpsons or The Director from Animaniacs.

      2. Froinlaven or mavenschoil.

        1. I don’t know these ones… Which has a dental plan?

    1. Cripple fight? I’ll take the retard over the wheelchair. Brains are overrated

    2. Do I really have to?

      Lewis is awful on multiple levels but Nick’s smug is equally nauseating. I’m sitting this one out.

  4. The interesting thing about rejecting refugees is that it’s one of the few examples of average Americans refusing to be shamed into submission by charges of bigotry.

    When’s the last time there was an issue about race, national origin, or religion in which average Americans shrugged off such charges?

    1. Hitler.

      1. Soviet Union.

        Maoist China.

        Khmer Rouge.



        Pretty much all the time really.

    2. Timing helps. With all the silly debates on campus being dragged into the spotlight, racist lost a lot of its power. No telling if it will last.

    3. It’s not bigotry. Trumps “no Muslims” is bigotry. Whether or not to take refugees from a country the US is currently bombing is just a policy dispute.

      1. That’s the kind of defiance I’m talking about.

        Put a camera on an average American and suggest he might be a bigot if he doesn’t toe the line, and most of them will sing from the progressive song book like they’re in the choir.

        That doesn’t seem to take on this issue. I’m not even sure progressives are generally on board with Obama bringing in more Syrian refugees.

        “When Arroyo asks about “the refugees” and notes that “there’s a humanitarian crisis” in the Middle East, Lewis interjects:

        Refugees should stay where the hell they are!…”

        It isn’t just Lewis that isn’t being intimidated into capitulating on Syrian refugees. I’ve seen progressive types–with my own two eyes–react the same way to being invited to provide lip service on that issue and staunchly refuse to do so. Social justice warrioring seems to start breaking down on this issue.

        1. My point wasn’t “defiance” of anything. Its just a fact.

          The US had a (in my view, terrible) policy vis a vis Iraq during the war that kept *even* State-Dept approved-and-screened asylum-seeking persons in a waiting line for 10 years.

          And many of them were killed/died while waiting. Congress stepped in (i think around 2007-2008) and passed a bill attempting to ‘expedite’ people like military translators and those who had directly aided US-efforts, and were already cleared-and-approved for *years*. By 2012, that program had still only taken in about 1/3 its goal… only a few-thousand out of a (if i recall right) 15,000 target.

          Notably, Obama halted that program when there were concerns of ‘terrorist infiltration’.

          Of course, when he did so there were no cries of Bigotry or Xenophobia from anyone at Reason, or anyone in the comments (tho i bitched about the failure to provide terps asylum a few times). Because sophisticated people see some important distinction, i’m sure.

          1. My point was that average Americans typically capitulate to charges of bigotry when they’re leveled–regardless of the facts.

            This issue seems to be an exception.

            The defiance I was talking about was sticking to the anti-terrorist concerns despite the bigotry narrative. Like I said, I’m even seeing people you might think of as SJWs defy the bigotry narrative and cling to anti-terrorist concerns.

            That’s notable.

            1. It seems like this is basically a NIMBY issue for a lot of them, no? And that reaction never surprises me.

        2. That means those of us (like me) who think refugees should be allowed in must really believe it.

    4. A couple of things have happened over the past 15 years – and not just more terrorist attacks. The average American know knows far more about Islam than they did pre-911 years ago – most now have a lower opinion of the religion.

      And hundreds of thousands of people in our military have had the opportunity to see up close how Islam works in practice in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has driven public opinion of the religion and its adherents way down.

      1. ‘This has driven public opinion of the religion and its adherents way down.”

        ENB posted info just yesterday pointing out that “only 48%” of americans think the US has a problem with Islam.

        Looking at pew data, this isn’t much different than it was before 9/11. Or so much as to justify you claim that there’s been any opinion being driven “way down”. It was always pretty low on the scale of things, because people tend to rank things they have least experience with lowest. (again, contraire your claim)

        Muslims have always ranked just above Athiests in the “least loved” category. We’re also shitloads more favorable of the Moozies than Europe, despite 9/11 and Iraq and whatever.

    5. Rejecting “refugees”, more like. Sure, some people are fleeing evil. And some people are the evil the others are fleeing from, and we have no way of knowing which is which.

      1. Nick Gillespie and his ilk can tell the difference just by looking at them. Or by asking some ingenious questions, such as “Are you a terrorist?”

    6. ISIS death porn, enslaving women, etc. tends to allow such thinking.

  5. Choose sides? It’s too fucking cold to be a “skins” so “shirts” it is.

    1. Take your shirt off right now.

  6. Has anyone here ever seen The Day The Clown Cried? It sounds…breathtaking.

    1. Nope. It’s like the elephant graveyard for cinephiles. Everybody knows about it, nobody has seen it.

    2. “Has anyone here ever seen The Day The Clown Cried? “

      Is that one of those 1980s post-apocalyptic movies?

    3. Reading the wiki summary, I was like, “Okay, I can see this. I get why a clown who entertians jewish kids in the camp may be controversial, but its Sullivans Travels- yknow, for a moment they laugh instead of feeling fear.” Then I got to the part about the clown leading the kids into the gas chamber, Pied Piper style, at the end.

  7. Alright, which one of you regular yokels is actually Jerry Lewis?

  8. Absurdist humor or pointless, unfathomable idiocy?

    Eye of the beholder, one supposes.

    1. Leave Robin Williams out of this.

  9. The Day The Clown Cried? It sounds…breathtaking.

    The stuff dreams are made of.

    Horrible, sweaty, screaming dreams.

    1. So…like watching soccer?

  10. The mark of a good refugee is sticktoitiveness.

  11. Notice that Western Europe and the U.S. were a lot less terroristy before we imported lots of Muslims? (I know, Guy Fawkes and Timothy McVeigh, but they are pretty rare)

    Yes, I’m a terrible racist yokel for suggesting that we would all be a lot better off if Muslims stayed in Muslim countries – and we stopped invading those countries and trying to make them into western democracies. That was accepted logic from about 650 AD through some time very recent. Maybe all those people weren’t wrong for 1300 years.

    1. “Western Europe and the U.S. were a lot less terroristy before we [sic] imported lots of Muslim “

      Citation needed.

      What exactly do you think qualifies as suddenly especially terroristy lately?

      The US-muslim population has been fairly steady and very small. there’s no particular spate of domestic terror to point to, even when you include the “FBI-sting operations” that turn every loudmouthed moron into a new headline.

      The European muslim population ‘grew’ the most between 1990 and now, from 4% to 6%. Yet the peak of European ‘terrorism’ was back in the 1970s.

      You’re not a “yokel”, but i don’t think you actually have a point.

      1. In the 70’s, Reds were competing with the PLO. Now that they run most of western Europe, terrorism is pretty much a Muslim game. Other than lone nut shooters, when was the last big non-Muslim terrorist act?

        So 6% of the population (way higher in places like Paris and Brussels) is responsible for all the acts of terrorism and all the reactive state security measures? Sounds like a financial justification for keeping their population low in the West.

        1. I’m still waiting for your citation of any ‘upsurge’ in European muslim terrorism since the early 1990s

          1. Citation

            Pre-911 seems like Muslim terrorism in Europe was mainly PLO and Libyan operations planned abroad and executed by non-Europeans. Now there are more small acts being committed by citizens and immigrants.

            1. Interesting link – shows rise and fall of Jim Crow violence, then Leftist and IRA attacks. Now all gone.

            2. “Now there are more small acts being committed by citizens and immigrants.”

              That link doesn’t actually substantiate anything you say.

              It actually gives more credence to my point, which is that terrorism was more popular in the 70s and before in Europe. You’d need actual ‘statistics’ rather than some spaghetti-throwing of anecdotes.

              1. e.g.


                plus this

                aside from the madrid train bombing, the post-2000 incidents are far lower than what happened pre-1990

                and they also note the recent trend… which slopes down

                1. That chart is through 2013 – and doesn’t include the most recent attacks in France. It doesn’t provide the number of deaths either. While the questions was about the number of attacks, I’m pretty sure the muzzies win in terms of the total number of deaths.

                  apples to oranges, perhaps.

                  1. In January 2015, The Economist compiled data regarding deaths due to political violence in western Europe since 2001. These data show that the death toll associated with Islamist terror is particularly high, especially when compared with the low overall proportion of religiously motivated attacks reported by Europol

                    From your link.

                    1. Yes, but we were talking about historically charting the trend.

                      If you want the trend on “number of deaths” you might have to scrape deeper for the data. As I pointed out, most of the deaths are due to the Madrid bombing.

                      Its notable that the NYT recently tried to claim that “non-muslims” cause almost! as many deaths than the moozies using exactly the same kind of dishonest argument – by cutting out 9/11….

                      and whenever they want the “white terror” deaths to seem more equivalent, they’ll start their charts with OK City bombing to overlap with 9/11….

                      I’m just pointing out that if you want to cherry pick, you can find stuff to suit your case. My point is that there is no trend of increasing terrorism “Due To” immigration policy, in US or EU. There’s certainly terror…. but the case of X therefore Y is not very solid.

                    2. Right. The number of terrorist attacks (per your chart) have decreased, but would that decrease have been steeper without Muslim terrorism? Yes, of course it would have been. The leftist Red EU terrorism was in part replaced by Islamic terrorism. Yippee!

                    3. I’m just going to point out that the EU “terrorism” numbers include incidence of animal rights activists spray painting or lighting fires. Those are counted as “acts” of terrorism. While the Madrid attack was counted similarly as an “act”. They’re very different in their nature – don’t you think? One had a mass body count, the other was barely worth mentioning.

                    4. “They’re very different in their nature – don’t you think?”,

                      sure, but if you have a better idea about how to demonstrate growing or decreasing “trends” that are indicative of some widespread cause-effect claim, then you’re going to have to do better than anecdotes and pointing to singular Mass Killings.

                    5. It’s really in how you choose to frame or how you measure determined by categories. We can demonstrate “trends” by measuring in any number of ways – as your example illustrates. Measure the number of attacks without measuring the death toll or property damage provides little context. Change how you define “attack” and you change the results.

                      FYI, I haven’t provided any anecdotes.

                    6. “would that decrease have been steeper without Muslim terrorism? Yes, of course it would have been”

                      Given that 90% of it was secular-separatist stuff, i doubt it would register any effect at all.

                    7. Yeah. Again, weighting a Greek separatist attack composed of one guy throwing a molotov-cocktail into a coffee shop with one person killed (the attacker) with Charle Hebdo is fucking idiotic.

                      Your insist on the number of attacks to show trend (technically correct) without further context feels like pedantry.

                    8. You can call it pedantic, but as i keep pointing out – there’s no “better measure”

                      If you want to chart “deaths only” and ignore the “acts of politically motivated violence against public-targets” (aka Terrorism) incidents…. feel free. Get back to me when you have some argument.

                      Meanwhile, everyone else in the business of analysing the issue of terrorism counts ‘incidents’. There’s certainly a lot of qualifying the data about issues of ‘magnitude’, but in general that practice has served to overweigh the few, spectacular attacks and lead people to make misleading statements about false-equivilence… e.g. the previous mention of the Oklahoma bombing, etc. which was never indicative of any particular trend at all.

          2. Do acts of terrorism committed by Muslims born in Europe but committed in Muslim countries count? I heard a rumor – and it cannot be true – that European born Muslims are traveling to Syria/Iraq/IS controlled areas and joining the Jihad.

            While the number of terrorist acts committed in Europe probably haven’t increased (I don’t know and don’t feel like googling) is it likely that this trend continues indefinitely, or is it more likely these acts increase in frequency? Or, is that just pants shitting?

            1. “While the number of terrorist acts committed in Europe probably haven’t increased (I don’t know and don’t feel like googling)

              Per the above links, its lower now than it was 20+ years ago

              is it likely that this trend continues indefinitely?

              No, because most of the terror attacks in europe seem to have been historically the product of secular-leftist political / separatist groups, and still are

              Will there be more attacks by EU moozies? no doubt. Europe has been and remains far more fucked up over its muslim minorites than the US. And they’re more terrorism prone in general. Will the short-term attitude re: immigrants/refugees make a difference? Doubtful.

              I don’t really care what happens to Europe. Let them stew. I don’t think the US faces any similar problems with US born muslims, berdoo shooter aside. If anything, people like him and the (failed) Times Sq bomber are most notable for their relative absence. You’d think in a big country with pretty lax policies, that at least a few morons would jihad a little every year.

              1. See above about the number of attacks v. the total death tolls.

                Possibly, the reason American Muslims are less prone to terrorism is because overall we have a much smaller population (as a percent of total) of Muslims in the US. Possibly, the way to prevent radicalization is the US is to keep the overall level of immigration (of Muslims) low.

                1. “the way to prevent radicalization is the US is to keep the overall level of immigration (of Muslims) low.”

                  Its already very low. Most immigrants are wetbacks, if you hadn’t noticed. If you mean “make it harder for moozies to currently immigrate to the US”, i’m not sure that would be any deterrent of anything. If people are going to do some shit, they’re just as many (if not more) disaffected native-born to recruit as there are immigrant ISIS-plants

                  as I already said, the most remarkable bit of data is that there have been so very little US-domestic-terror attacks at all since 9/11. We have lots of people here, plenty of freedom for them to fuck shit up, and yet there’s been bupkiss. Most of the notable attempts have been outsiders (richard reid, the undy bomber, the Times Sq failure), or complete retards who got busted in an FBI sting job (the ‘dirty bomber’, countless others)

                  1. Actually, we don’t have plenty of people here. Less than .8% of the population identifies as Muslim. Your argument relies on America Exceptionalism, “our” ability to assimilate, which is quite patriotic of you. It’s also very romantic and romanticism isn’t really the best foundation for national policy.

                    My basic question is: Are immigrants more likely to assimilate or integrate when their population as a percent of total is low. Or, inversely, are immigrants less likely to integrate when they’re able to live in self-contained communities and agitate for political power via democratic institutions that seek to purchase their votes with accommodation.

                    1. “we don’t have plenty of people here. Less than .8% of the population identifies as Muslim”

                      Sure. and given that doesn’t capture nearly everyone present, most people give estimates between 3 and 5 million.

                      3-5 million is, by anyone’s measure, “plenty of people” from which to find the occasional domestic terrorist.

                      “Your argument relies on America Exceptionalism, “our” ability to assimilate, which is quite patriotic of you. It’s also very romantic and romanticism isn’t really the best foundation for national policy.’

                      No, its a realistic assessment that there’s plenty of muslims in the US, and that given our current decades-long conflicts in the middle east there’s very very little actual domestic terrorism.

                      If you think i’m being romantic, you haven’t been paying attention.

                      Your points about ‘assimilation’ are a different topic from what was being discussed, which was that “terrorism has increased in US/EU due to ‘increased immigration”… which is pretty obviously not the case.

              2. There have been other attacks.

                Fort hood
                UC Merced

  12. As much as I really, really hate to say it, I think Jerry Lewis is right. If refugees are unwilling to fight to defend freedom in their own country, what makes you think they would defend freedom here? Give all those Syrians an AK-47 and airdrop them back over Syria.

    1. I don’t think people have an obligation to a region just because they were born there. None us us chose our parents. If you want to leave a shit hole for a better life you should be able to do it. I think it’s unreasonable to force an individual to stay put and reform a country. I want a freer America but I have zero chance of making that happen.

    2. On which side they ought to fight?

      I grew up in a Communist country, and I was drafted into the “People’s” Army (like most of my contemporaries). I detested being in the army; I was exceedingly bad at it; and I left my home country (emigrated) before they had a chance to bring me back into the army for the remaining half a year or so which I should have ‘served’ after university.

      I think it is fundamentally anti-libertarian to force a young male to fight for anything: for his homeland or for freedom in his homeland or for the regime in his homeland or against the regime in his homeland. I’ve found more freedom in my adopted country; and (legal) emigration was my preferred method of finding it, not fighting for it. And I don’t think that anyone has the right to tell anyone that they’re duty-bound to fight for their freedom … if they can find it by emigrating.

    3. The idea that they want “freedom” is itself a fallacy.

      1. THIS.

        But…if its true they don’t desire freedom, bringing them here may not be a good idea.

  13. A diaspora for a new age.

  14. Anyone who thinks Jerry Lewis is funny must be at least half-French. Nick, did you have snails for breakfast, and do you have a secret longing for nationalized health care?

    1. Hey, I thought Lewis was funny…when I was 6. I respect the man, but he is NOT funny.

      *reputed by some to be the fastest draw in Hollywood though he had some stiff competition

  15. I have yet to see a sane discussion of the issue of immigration yet.

    Open borders advocates talk about immigration as an undiluted good with no distinction made between the Russian shopkeeper fleeing socialism to ply their trade in a relatively free market or the English PhD who can’t find employment because of their accent fleeing class restrictions and the uncivilized, non-english speaking, educated solely by mullahs, shariah law proponent.

    I wonder if Lewis also thinks that Australians seeking second amendment protections should also stay home? I haven’t heard any anti-immigration rhetoric about Venezuelans fleeing Bolivarian socialism. Why on earth is that?

    1. Transnationalist progressives have more or less succeeding in killing the “nation” part of the nation state, at least in the West. They imagine that out of the resulting chaos, they can build a new, more governable world order, but I’m pretty sure that either the entire world is going to turn into a violent third-world shithole, or people are going start organizing again in new bottom-up, distributed, ethos-based polities that will destroy the old megastates, assuming the chaos didn’t already bring them down. Probably a little of both. It’s Stephenson’s world, we’re just living in it.

      1. Stephenson’s world

        Which Stephenson is that?

  16. Refugees aren’t part of the human condition? Geez, Jerry.

  17. Jerry’s red state noseover looks better than Donald’s blue state combover

  18. I never understood why it was so popular to hate on him or his product. I understand he can be hard to work w, but that’s so common in show biz, it’s easily discounted as a reason.

  19. wow. Great to see celebrities refuse to toe the liberal politically correct line.

    1. I believe you mean “tow the politically correct lion.”

  20. For what it’s worth, it’s many many times cheaper to settle and subsidize refugees in the Middle East than it is to bring them here. Meaning for the same amount of money, they can help far more refugees by resettling them in the Middle East than importing them into the high cost of living west. Not including the burden these refugees place on all sorts of tax payer provided goodies that aren’t considered “welfare”.

    For what it costs to resettle one Middle Eastern refugee in the United States for five years, about 12 refugees can be helped in the Middle East for five years, or 61 refugees can be helped for one year.

    But if we don’t import them, the Democrats long term strategy to dot the landscape with disaffected groups will not come to fruition. And since everyone seems to be all about accepting the Democratic policy proposals at face value that would be just unacceptable. Clearly if the goal is really to help as many refugees as possible, importing refugees would be off the table, so maybe there’s at least one good reason or two not to take this policy proposal at face value.

  21. The increased flow of refugees from Syria coincides with Saudi Arabia’s four million tonne wind- down of subsidized wheat production in the region.

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