In 1998, Lewis famously said that watching women do comedy “sets me back a bit” and that he has trouble with the notion of would-be mothers as comedians.

Asked Thursday if he had changed his mind at all because of performers like Melissa McCarthy and Sarah Silverman, the 87-year-old Lewis said of women performing broad comedy: “I can’t see women doing that. It bothers me.”

“I cannot sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator,” he said. “I just can’t do that.”