Jerry Lewis On Female Comedians: 'I Cannot Sit And Watch A Lady Diminish Her Qualities'

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JERRY LEWIS
AP

CANNES, France — 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."

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
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