Thursday, August 26, 2010

This week's LVW Col: The Nutty Prognosticator

It's that time of year, so I figured it was time to check back in with the irascible Jerry Lewis. I hadn't interviewed him since 2007 when, you might recall, his then-publicist set off a firestorm by trying to charge me $20,000 for an hour's conversation with the MDA Telethon icon. Here's the 2007 column that came of that. (I got both interviews for free.) Audio of the new chat will be played on the next episode of the podcast -- and it's really good stuff -- but for now, here's the LVW column that came out of it. -sf

The &#@*! Strip

Jerry Lewis gets blunt about the evolution of Las Vegas

“You cannot keep putting up hotels with 3,000 rooms and expect not to smother one another. They will suffocate one another to the degree that 20 years from today, they will not be in business. Talk to me in 20 years.”

That was the comic Jerry Lewis, and I thought he was a little nuts when he said this. It wasn’t 20 years ago, of course. Sadly, it didn’t take nearly that long for his miserable prophecy to begin to prove true.

He made this remark to me in August 2007. At the time, I argued back that the gaming numbers and visitation continued to rise. Listening back on that conversation is painful now, looking around at what’s happening to unemployment, hotel room rates and more.

Lewis couldn’t have known that the mischief of Wall Street would cause something that would become known as the subprime mortgage meltdown, which rendered our property worthless and bankrupted millions of potential Vegas customers. Yet this week when I went back for another helping of Lewis as he prepares for the 45th Labor Day Telethon to raise another $61 million or so for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, I listened a little less dismissively.

Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com