Jerry Lewis' separation from the Muscular Dystrophy Association is not a laughing matter for some comedians.
Paul Rodriguez, Larry Miller, Tom Dreesen, Norm Crosby and others have joined in support of Lewis, the 85-year-old comedian who the MDA said is no longer its national chairman and will not appear on this year's telethon. The Tucson, Ariz.-based association announced last week that the organization was parting ways with him after 45 years.
"If this is the way we're going, we should also tell grandpa we don't need him for Thanksgiving," joked Miller.
The funnymen told reporters gathered at The Laugh Factory comedy club Friday in Hollywood that they want the MDA to feature Lewis in some capacity on the upcoming telethon. At the very least, they said he deserves a proper send-off on the show he made famous. Rodriguez said Lewis should be brought back in a limo and "given the accolades that he deserves."
"He's not dead," said Rodriguez. "He's very much alive."
The comedians said they hadn't spoken with Lewis since the separation was announced, but Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada said they supported Lewis "regardless of why he was dismissed." Dreesen speculated that the MDA told Lewis that he would be phased out of the telethon, and the group was fearful of what Lewis would say during the six-hour broadcast.
"There's no way they would give him the microphone for five minutes," said Dreesen.
MDA spokesman Jim Brown declined to say what prompted the decision.
Amy Winehouse's 15-year-old goddaughter performed an outstanding set at the Big Chill music festival, mirroring her late mentor by closing her show with a cover of Winehouse's "Love Is a Losing Game."
Dionne Bromfield got teary-eyed when she performed the song, barely able to sing its last few words, though the crowd cheered her on.
"She was an amazing singer," Bromfield said. "She was not only my godmother, but she was my mentor and my boss as well."
The big-voiced singer sang with ease during her 30-minute performance Saturday, the second day of the U.K. music festival.
Bromfield was a reminder of Winehouse: She stood close to the mic while belting lyrics, with her big hair and tiny build. She was backed by a five-piece band and dancers, performing songs from her two albums and singing mainly about boys and relationship troubles.
Her scratchy voice was top-notch as she sang soul songs with pop flavors, especially on the old-school sounding "Remember Our Love" and the up-tempo "Yeah Right." She also performed covers of Cee Lo Green's smash "Forget You" and the Shirelles' "Mama Said," Bromfield's first single.
Winehouse, who had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, was found dead of unknown causes at her London home July 23. Bromfield is signed to Winehouse's label, Lioness Records.
Celebrities' son jailed...
The son of the late Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony heroin possession and will remain jailed until a hearing later this month.
Redmond O'Neal's attorney Richard Pintal said he hopes to reach a deal with prosecutors that includes additional treatment for his client, who had a string of drug arrests in recent years.
O'Neal also pleaded not guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police uncovered a 9 mm handgun in a search of his apartment after his arrest Tuesday.
O'Neal's father and his half sister, the actress Tatum O'Neal, also attended the hearing.
The 26-year-old was on probation for an incident in which he brought drugs to a detention facility north of Los Angeles. In that case, he was arrested in the parking lot of the facility while still under supervision for a previous drug arrest and an incident in which he and his father were arrested at the actor's Malibu home.
He was in jail in June 2009 when his mother died after a battle with cancer and was briefly released to attend her funeral.
Until his arrest by Santa Monica police Tuesday, the younger O'Neal had stayed out of trouble for months. He was stopped after officers say they saw him run a red light, and a search of his car found the drugs, authorities have said.
He returns to court Aug. 24 for a probation violation hearing and to try to resolve the current case, Pintal said.