Lewis & Martin’s 50’s Love Makes Today’s Bromance Look Like Bromide

grey Lewis & Martins 50s Love Makes Todays Bromance Look Like Bromide

This month’s Outfeatures a column by yours truly, called ‘In Defense of Jerry Lewis’, explain­ing how my child­hood love for early Lewis made me the man I am today — and why his anarchic com­edy part­ner­ship with Dean Martin in the ‘repressed’ 1950s was a kind of queer punk rock before even rock and roll had been invented:

Their heads were so close together in those tiny ‘50s cathode-ray tubes — gaz­ing into each other’s eyes, rub­bing noses, occa­sion­ally steal­ing kisses or lick­ing each other’s neck to shrieks of scan­dal­ized pleas­ure from the audi­ence. They were a prime-time study in same-sex love. And they were adored for it — lit­er­ally chased down the street by crowds of scream­ing women and not a few men…’.      (‘In Defense of Jerry Lewis’)

Though these clips below prob­ably explain it all rather better.

They also show how com­pared to Martin and Lewis, today’s much vaunted ‘bromance’ com­ed­ies are more akin to brom­ide. Lesbian bed death without the hon­ey­moon. Instead of going out of their way to purge their stage romance of any hint of pas­sion or any­thing phys­ical in the way that annoy­ingly self-conscious, college-educated 21st Century buddy com­ed­ies do (the word ‘bromance’ itself sug­gests that any hint of erot­ics would be akin to incest), Martin and Lewis’ blue-collar, mid-century love-affair con­stantly injects it. Flags it up. And slaps your face with it. Theirs is lit­er­ally a much more tick­lish affair. And a shit­load fun­nier for it.

What’s more, it looks very con­vin­cing.

(Oh, and yes, it may be that I still feel fond of Jerry Lewis because his telethons never made it to the UK.…)

An exploi­sion of D&J kisses in this cheeky and charm­ing clip painstak­ing com­piled by a YouTube fan.

‘It’s phys­ical attraction.’


The noise made by the audi­ence when Dean falls on top of Jerry in the bath wouldn’t be heard again until Elvis shook his pel­vis.


Jerry gets some big pricks in the Navy and then sprays every­where.


Dean and Jerry join the Army as para­troop­ers. Watch Dean’s eyes dur­ing the blanket scene.

‘I was loinesome.‘



Spot a (very tiny-looking) James Dean giv­ing a boxer a rub-down while scop­ing the com­pet­i­tion.


A slightly fic­tion­lised account of how our boys met, com­plete with closet clinch cli­max.


Never been kissed… Yeah, right.



Special thanks to the Canadian play­wright Elise Moore and Hannah for re-kindling my unhealthy Lewisian love-affair, offer­ing insight­ful obser­va­tion — and send­ing me some really great YouTube Martin & Lewis love.


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