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This comedy duo were the perfect example of 1950s pop culture comedy and showed the importance of connecting with an audience.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were and are still regarded as the greatest comedy team in the history of show business. From 1945-1955, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis transformed and reinforced a lively form of comedy and created a unique chemistry that people were completely devoured by. They created this electrifying mix of two opposites and worked off each other brilliantly, it was new and fresh and it worked. They took the world by storm and entertained anyone who watched. Jerry's outlandish and eccentric slapstick style coupled with Dean's slick, suave and smooth charisma and charm made for one of the most prolific and enchanting duos in comedy history.
They were brought into the public mainly by their own rotating series "The Colgate Comedy Hour" which showcased their individual talents and made them even more known to the wider public. Their relationship sparked a partnership that would last a decade to the day and in that decade, they created innovative and entertaining comedy that people then were very surprised by, pushing the limits of what people expected on live television. Their routine focused on Jerry being a dumb-witted imbecile and Dean being the cool-headed and sensible adult which made for a funny yet balanced humour and selflessness of the comedians that would go on to be the centre of the majority of their sketches on "The Colgate Comedy Hour".
They made television history as they were the first comedy team to really make such a financial impact and gather such popularity on television. Their form of comedy was very physical and 'in your face', making for funny and bizarre moments of unprofessionalism making the audience more comfortable and relaxed in their presence, showing a sense of rough and uncultivated humour especially with their constant breaking of character adding a sense of realism and heart beneath it all. No one could really fully explain why Marin and Lewis worked so well but they did a tremendous job of creating humour. You could not even call it fourth wall breaking because really there was no wall to break, it was all very transparent and real, dynamic and had elements childish maturity and mature childishness.
Not only did their comedy warm the hearts of millions but it made a lot of money for studios as they made a total of 16 films as a duo and they all made a lot of money showing how much profit this sort of pairing could make. Profit became such a large part of film production and it became a leading decision making factor, if the film was unlikely to make money then it would most likely be scrapped rather than considering the creative integrity of it, the indie film movement is later introduced in new Hollywood a lot more.
The lovable and honest ideas of their sketches made it easier to laugh at them especially with how funny it was, filled with perfect timing and fresh jokes and recurring ones alike made their work one of a kind and it wasn't only till later that people appreciated their comedy and were now seen as kings of comedy. They transformed comedy on the big screen and created a sense of partnership and connection with the viewer, people that others could laugh at, a very important part of modern comedy today but not as witty or physical. They were important figureheads for comedic duos to come after them, they were very influential and their work is still relevant and funny today showing how ahead of their time and in tune with the world they were to be able to keep their comedy fresh 75 years later. Duos like Martin and Lewis were very important as they showed relevance and light heartedness in a period of political unrest and not to mention WW2 which had just ended. They were a place of relief and happiness and made a lot of people appreciate laughter on television in the 1950s.
Jerry Lewis sums up their partnership very well in their interview on Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow in 1954 as quote: 'We knew that Dean was the good looking guy and I was the goof and it would make for a good combination, but at the same time I think that the affection that Dean and I show in our work and the potentness involved in our performance that so many older people feel that Dean is more or less a boss or the authority and I am the underdog and so many people in life go through this everyday that they can laugh and chuckle at reality'
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