First off, I just want to point out that I want to live in this world:
(Cover taken from Will Pfeifer's blog, who got it from If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger.)
I thought today that I'd include clips from Dean Martin's variety show to give readers who never got to experience it an understanding of just how the show operated. Here's a bit with Dino and John Wayne, who had just co-starred together in The Sons of Katie Elder:
Now, this bit was clearly not rehearsed at all. Dean responds to the jokes as if he's seeing them for the first time. Would it have been smoother if it were rehearsed? Yes. Would it have been better? Probably not. A big part of Dino's charm was his ability to laugh his way through the rough spots.
One of the highlights of this show was the way in which Dino and his guests would just crack each other up during sketches, which probably couldn't have happened if they had seen the scripts beforehand. Here's a wild sketch, with Jimmy Stewart, Dino, and Orson Welles at a Men's Hair Salon (Holy Crap!):
The joke about "Tab and Rock showing up" to a party "in identical blazers" is interesting, to say the least.
The feeling always was with this show that Dean was having a party, and you were invited. That's also the feeling I get from the Matt Helm movies as well, and that's what makes them so enjoyable.