Oops. Jerry Lewis offends gays during his most recent telethon.

Poor Jerry. Comedy is hard at the best of times, but it can’t be easy when you’re 81 years-old and in the 18th hour of a 24 hour telethon. I suppose that’s why I’m willing to cut him a little slack for the slip up he had during the most recent ‘thon:

The 81-year-old showman — prowling about the stage during the live telecast Monday in Las Vegas — was goofing around and dodging his cameraman, then went into a ramble about imaginary family members.

“Oh, your family has come to see you,” he said, speaking to the camera and gesturing toward thin air.

“You remember Bart, your older son,” he said, and motioning toward another unseen character, “Jesse, the illiterate f——-.

“No,” Lewis said, quickly stopping himself before continuing.

The folks at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation were, understandably, annoyed and released a statement condemning the reference. To his credit Lewis isn’t making excuses and has offered an apology:

In a statement Tuesday, Lewis said he was making “a joking comment to a member of my production team.”

“I apologize to anyone who was offended,” he went on. “Everyone who knows me understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard. In the family atmosphere of the telethon, I forget that not everyone knows me that well.

“That something like this would distract from the true purpose of the telethon pains me deeply. … I accept responsibility for what I said. There are no excuses,” he said.

I’m not a big fan of Jerry Lewis and I have no idea how much good his telethon does for his “kids”, but it seems to be popular with some segment of the population and it’s impressive the man is still giving it his all at this late stage of his life. Personally I think we should let this one slide. Considering the crap that comes out of some Republican Senator’s mouths about gays, Jerry’s slip of the tongue is hardly worth getting too upset about.