Clay Aiken – Are You Having A Picnic?

 

Labor Day is more than just a day off from school and work. It’s a great time to think about the history of the national holiday and its importance in American history. Not only is it a day to enjoy picnics, festivals and barbecues; it’s a national dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Labor Day is viewed as the official end of summer. While the Fall Equinox is still a couple of weeks away, kids go back to school and summer vacations are over. So this marks the end of the season. Many people celebrate this weekend with one last picnic or BBQ.  It is also the date that many people close up the pool, put away the boats and get out the sweaters.

Labor Day is observed in many different ways.  Parades are annually organized in some places today, as this was the tradition many years ago. In many places rallies and political demonstrations are organized that highlight the problems faced by workers. Speeches by union leaders and political figures at these rallies attempt to create a general awareness about the condition of American laborers.

This year more than  50,000 people are attending Burning Man, a week-long annual event held in Northern Nevada.   Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.

One of the traditions of Labor Day is the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.  The star-studded variety show usually lasts 21 ½ hours and entertains, informs and more importantly, raises funds for MDA.

But wait…this year there is no “Jerry Lewis” MDA Telethon.  This year’s telethon is scheduled for Sept. 4 and will reportedly last only six hours during prime-time programming…without Jerry Lewis!

If you were looking forward to joining the rest of the nation in giving a heartfelt thank you and goodbye to Jerry Lewis during the 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, you were disappointed.

The organization that has partnered with Lewis for more than 45 years announced that the comedian would be stepping down immediately as its national chairman. This statement contradicts a May release from MDA in which Lewis stated that he would continue as chairman after his final telethon this September. Now it appears that he won’t even get to do that.

MDA said:

“Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the telethon.”

Whoa — what? So that’s it? After more than four decades and $2.45 billion raised, that’s how you drop the news that your celebrated host will not be returning for one more run?

It’s rather puzzling…is it Jerrys health or something else.  Lewis said last week:

“September the fifth, the day after that program, I will have an international press conference with press from Reuters and London and China and Taiwan and all over the world, and I will have plenty to say about what I think is important. And that’s the future, not the past.”

… and the plot thickens.

This year’s telethon is scheduled for Sept. 4 and will reportedly last six hours during prime-time programming. If you want to learn more about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, please visit the official site here.

I will always remember when Clay Aiken performed on the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon.    Clay sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and received glowing comments from Jerry Lewis.

The following video shows Clay’s performance and the wonderful praise he received from Jerry.

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain clayaiken.com.

Comments

  1. I will always remember Clay singing on the MDA Telethon also – the audience that they showed
    while he sang seemed to appreciate him, too. I have it on tape – and also the wonderful comments that Jerry said to Clay when he brought him back out on stage – quite a memory!!!
    The year after that – they repeated his performance by tape.

  2. Very strange as last week I got a request in the mail to donate to MDS and it was signed Jerry Lewis, chairman. I hope there is no dirty laundry to air as it is a nonprofit organization.

    Happy Labor Day!

  3. Happy Labor Day to all!!! It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. Jerry is such a big part of this telethon. Loved when Clay Aiken performed!

  4. Happy Labor Day everyone! Boy, that was a fantastic performance by Clay that year!

    I don't know what is going on behind the scenes with Jerry Lewis and MDA but it is sad they couldn't give him the respect he's earned after all these years. On the other hand Jerry shouldn't have called American Idols "McDonalds Wipeouts", especially after the praise he'd given Clay and many other Idols who have performed on the MDA telethon through the years. It's a very sad situation indeed and I don't know what to make of it.

  5. I WILL MISS JERRY, BUT HE HAS HAD A GOOD RUN AND HIS HEALTH IS NOT REAL GOOD SO I THINK IT IS TIME TO HAND THE REINS TO SOME ONE ELSE AND SIT BACK AND ENJOY HIS CREATION. HE CAN NEVER BE REPLACED AS WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER ALL THE GOOD WORK HE HAS DONE. GOD BLESS YOU JERRY YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND.

  6. Loved watching Clay sing on the telethon from 2003. Also loved the wonderful praise that Jerry gave Clay…Theatrical Groundswell indeed. It was truly amazing. I think the AI2 tour had just ended as well.

    The MDA and Jerry Lewis were such a team. I don't know what has gone on, but I respect Jerry for the years of dedication. Jerry seems to be speaking without a filter these last couple of years, so who knows…maybe his age, sickness, but I do hope things will continue on…because it is all about MDA…and the people it helps. Such a good cause..

  7. Loved the video when Clay sang BOTW on the Telethon. Jerry Lewis seemed to really like him. It just seems strange how after all these years…he was not even given a Great Send-Off or anything. I would surely like to know what happened. I used to love Jerry Lewis funny movies. Wonder how they did this year!!

  8. Loved watching the video of Clay singing at the telethon. I am glad that he was a part of it.

    I hope that MDA will honor Jerry Lewis in some way. He put so much of his heart and soul into the telethon. He truly loved "his kids."

    Thanks for the info on this!!

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