Asked about what a young comedian needs to do to break into the business today, he instead launched into a long monologue about "The Biggest Loser" ("Who gives a shit?"), "American Idol" ("The kids who are on 'American Idol,' they're all McDonald's wipeouts... and of course, they're all playing guitar, which takes the place of music"), the lack of appointment TV (in his day, "We ran home to see (Milton) Berle on a Tuesday night. Now, nobody wants to run home and see anything. They come home and hope there's something."), the woes of the movie business ("They put all of their product on the goddamn stupid phone. You're gonna put 'Lawrence of Arabia' on that stupid sonuvabitch? That gets me crazy, pal"), and more. He even objected to the use of pop music to score movie and TV scenes, insisting, "You're putting this vocal at the top of a film's big moment, because they don't want to spend what I spend on an 80-piece orchestra to score it."Heading into Rickles territory:
The session should have been over at that point, but Lewis the old pro apparently realized he should end on a joke, rather than his tense interaction with the reporter asking about the telethon. (At one point, he said his future with the telethon was "none of your business.") So he told the story of the time he took his daughter for a ride on the New York subway, and a punk in a leather suit with multi-colored, spiked hair caught Lewis staring at him and asked, "What's the matter, old man? Didn't you ever do anything extraordinary in your whole life?"So funny we forgot to laff.
Lewis told him, "Yes, 25 years ago I had sex with a parrot. I thought you were my son!"