My friend Marc Myers of JazzWax sent me this terrific guest appearance by Jerry Lewis on ‘The Tonight Show’ from 1984. Unlike many of Jerry’s appearances which were often fraught with tension and humorous banter with Carson that had a curious edge of unease, this one is straight-up delightful. Jerry comes out as his ‘kid’ Jerry-self and plays much of the show with his old-school Jerry voice, mannerisms etc. From whence came this user-friendly Jerry? Apparently he’d just had open-heart surgery so perhaps he was on that ‘pink cloud’ (or whatever they call it in rehab) where the fresh blast of a new chance at life invigorates the survivor. I’ve searched all over the place and not been able to find a clip of Jerry that I recall seeing on the news when he was released from the hospital after the surgery. He was in a wheelchair and, as they wheeled him out, he lit a cigarette and said to the reporters: ‘You don’t need to quit smoking–just get open heart surgery!’


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