King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis (英語) ハードカバー – 1997/9
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A funny, dark, and very American success story about the man who has influenced comedians from Lenny Bruce to Jim Carrey.
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I came away from reading this book that like many, Jerry Lewis is flawed when it comes to his personal and professional relationships. His parents were no Ward and June Cleaver, but then again, many of us did not have Ward and June tuck us in at nigh either. After reading this book I realized that I would not like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Jerry. I would like to talk more with his ex-wife as well as his son, Gary. It also made me want to read a biography about Dean Martin.
A very good, in depth biography.
He provides a detailed structured background into the creation, rise and fall of Martin and Lewis, which allows the reader to grasp why the act ruptured at the height of its success. Levy is the first writer to really provide concrete answers about the breakup, since both Martin and Lewis have always talked around the issue.
Levy also provides a back stage look at the solo career of Jerry Lewis allowing the reader to see why Lewis' post Martin film career, which started with great success was over by 1970. Levy included several lines of an Al Capp, creator of Lil Abner, opinion piece that analyzed Jerry's career and it captured exactly what made the comedy of Jerry Lewis hard to watch after his split with Dean Martin. Capp felt that Martin's presence tempered the shtick of Lewis and made it watchable. Martin restrained Lewis enough that made the wildness of Lewis tasteful and the movies made after the split lacked that restraint thus making the Lewis movies of the 1960s painful to watch because there was no one to tell Lewis when to stop filming a grown man making an embarrassing fool of himself.
Though, I do not like the comedy of Jerry Lewis, I have always been impressed by personal interviews where it becomes apparent that Lewis is a gracious person, who has always credited Martin for the success of their act, whether he totally believes it or not.
Jerry Lewis has always been more impressive to me when he performed or acted as an adult rather than a child. Personally, Lewis did his best work in the movie "King of Comedy" and the "Wise Guy" television series, which were dramatic roles.