Question: Who do you think were the comedians in the greatest comedic team ever to step on a stage?  To me, there is one, simple answer:  Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.  Do you want to debate this with me?  You won’t stand a chance.  Consider the following facts:

  • These two performers had the number one TV show – The Colgate Comedy Hour.
  • These two performers had the number one Radio show – The Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Radio Show.
  • These two performers had the number one movie – The Caddy.
  • These two performers had the number one song – “That’s Amore.”
  • These two performers had the number one nightclub act; They performed five shows a day at the Atlantic City’s 500 Club.

Pretty impressive, huh?  Now, what if I told you that every accomplishment you just read happened simultaneously? Together, their success was unrivaled, and yet individually, they were each forgettable.  While Dino Paul Crocetti was struggling as a nightclub singer, Joseph Levitch was struggling with a comedy act in which he lip-synched to records.  But when they linked up, they created a performance chemistry that I believe will never be duplicated again.  However, the formula that they followed that lead to their success is something that can be duplicated.

Dean was the stability.  He was the voice of reason that reached out and made you care.  But too much reason can bore an audience, and put them to sleep.  Jerry was the energy.  He was the spark that reached out and grabbed your attention.  But too much energy can overwhelm an audience and wear them out.  Together they created performance magic because the combination of stability and energy left audiences breathless.  They were the perfect combination.

Now think about how you present material in a presentation you’re giving.   You need the stability that Dean represented.  You need that voice of reason.  That comes through in the information you present.  No audience wants to sit through a presentation that consists solely of stories, poems, and jokes, but provides little actual information.

Of course, you need that energy that Jerry represented too.  You need that spark.  That comes through in the interest sustaining ideas you weave into your presentation, such as humor, mobility, and various presentation aids.  No audience wants to sit though a presentation that grinds on and on, and overwhelms attendees with too much information.  But when you can put the information and energy together, you have the perfect combination.

This is a message I take very seriously, so seriously I carry a private little reminder with me every time I step on a stage.  Fourteen years ago, I stumbled across an online auction that was selling a pair of Jerry and Dean cufflinks.  In 1954, Paramount Pictures was releasing their newest movie, “Living it Up,” and they produced 150 of these cufflinks as a promotion.  I jumped in on this auction and I bought those cufflinks for a reason: I wanted that reminder with me each and every time I stepped in front of an audience.

The next time you see me on stage, you might want to come on up and ask to take a look at these special cufflinks.  It will be no coincidence that you will always find Jerry, and that energy, on my left wrist.  I happened to be left handed, and that’s where my power comes from.  But Dean, and that voice of reason, is on my right.  Without him, I’m just a guy who makes people laugh without any real substance.  Ah, but when you put the two together and establish that perfect combination, your performance and message can become unforgettable…

 

 

 

 

 

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