Lenny Bruce

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Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce.jpg
Bruce in 1961
Born Leonard Alfred Schneider
(1925-10-13)October 13, 1925
Mineola, New York, U.S.
Died August 3, 1966(1966-08-03) (aged 40)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Drug overdose
Resting place Eden Memorial Park Cemetery
Nationality American
Years active 1947–1966
Spouse(s)
Honey Bruce
(m. 1951; divorce 1957)
Children 1
Comedy career
Medium Stand-up, television, books
Genres Satire, political satire, black comedy, blue comedy
Subject(s) American culture, American politics, race relations, religion, human sexuality, obscenity, pop culture
Spouse
Honey Bruce
(m. 1951; divorce 1957)
[1]
Children 1
Notable works and roles The Lenny Bruce Originals
The Carnegie Hall Concert
Let the Buyer Beware
How to Talk Dirty and Influence People

Leonard Alfred Schneider (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966), better known by his stage name Lenny Bruce, was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, and satirist. He was renowned for his open, free-style and critical form of comedy which integrated satire, politics, religion, sex, and vulgarity. His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial was followed by a posthumous pardon, the first in the history of New York state, by then-Governor George Pataki in 2003.

Bruce is renowned for paving the way for future outspoken counterculture-era comedians, and his trial for obscenity is seen as a landmark for freedom of speech in the United States.[10][11][12][13] In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him third (behind disciples Richard Pryor and George Carlin) on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all-time.[14]

Early life

Lenny Bruce was born Leonard Alfred Schneider to a Jewish family in Mineola, New York, grew up in nearby Bellmore, and attended Wellington C. Mepham High School.[15] His parents divorced when he was five years old (the documentary Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth claims he was eight years old), and Lenny lived with various relatives over the next decade. His British-born father, Myron (Mickey) Schneider, was a shoe clerk and Lenny saw him very infrequently. Bruce's mother, Sally Marr (real name Sadie Schneider, born Sadie Kitchenberg), was a stage performer and had an enormous influence on Bruce's career.[16]

After spending time working on a farm, Bruce joined the United States Navy at the age of 16 in 1942, and saw active duty during World War II aboard the USS Brooklyn (CL-40) fighting in Northern Africa; Palermo, Italy, in 1943; and Anzio, Italy, in 1944. In May 1945, after a comedic performance for his shipmates in which he was dressed in drag, his commanding officers became upset. He defiantly convinced his ship's medical officer that he was experiencing homosexual urges.[17] This led to his undesirable discharge in July 1945. However, he had not admitted to or been found guilty of any breach of naval regulations and successfully applied to have his discharge changed to "Under Honorable Conditions ... by reason of unsuitability for the naval service".[18] In 1959, while taping the first episode of Hugh Hefner's Playboy's Penthouse, Bruce talked about his Navy experience and showed a tattoo he received in Malta in 1942.[19]

After a short stint in California spent living with his father, Bruce settled in New York City, hoping to establish himself as a comedian. However, he found it difficult to differentiate himself from the thousands of other show business hopefuls who populated the city. One locale where they congregated was Hanson's, the diner where Bruce first met the comedian Joe Ancis,[2] who had a profound influence on his approach to comedy. Many of Bruce's later routines reflected his meticulous schooling at the hands of Ancis.[20] According to Bruce's biographer Albert Goldman, Ancis' humor involved stream-of-consciousness sexual fantasies and references to jazz.[21]

Lenny took the stage as "Lenny Marsalle" one evening at the Victory Club, as a stand-in master of ceremonies for one of his mother's shows. His ad-libs earned him some laughs. Soon afterward, in 1947, just after changing his last name to Bruce, he earned $12 and a free spaghetti dinner for his first stand-up performance in Brooklyn.[22] He was later a guest—and was introduced by his mother, who called herself "Sally Bruce"—on the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts radio program. Lenny did a bit inspired by Sid Caesar, "The Bavarian Mimic", featuring impressions of American movie stars (e.g., Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson).[23]

Career

Bruce's early comedy career included writing the screenplays for Dance Hall Racket in 1953, which featured Bruce, his wife Honey Harlow, and mother Sally Marr in roles; Dream Follies in 1954, a low-budget burlesque romp; and a children's film, The Rocket Man, in 1954. In 1956 Frank Ray Perilli, a fellow nightclub comedian who eventually became a screenwriter of two dozen successful films and plays, became a mentor and part-time manager of Lenny Bruce.[24] Through Perilli, Bruce met and collaborated with photojournalist William Karl Thomas on three screenplays (Leather Jacket, Killer's Grave and The Degenerate), none of which made it to the screen, and the comedy material on the first three albums.[25] In 1957 Thomas booked Bruce into The Slate Brothers nightclub, where Bruce was fired the first night for what Variety headlined as "blue material"; this led to the theme of Bruce's first solo album on Fantasy Records, The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce,[26] for which Thomas shot the album cover. Thomas also shot other album covers, acted as cinematographer on abortive attempts to film their screenplays, and in 1989 authored a memoir of their ten-year collaboration titled Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet.[27] The 2016 biography of Frank Ray Perilli titled The Candy Butcher,[28] devotes a chapter to Perilli's ten-year collaboration with Bruce.

Bruce released a total of four albums of original material on Berkeley-based Fantasy Records, with rants, comic routines, and satirical interviews on the themes that made him famous: jazz, moral philosophy, politics, patriotism, religion, law, race, abortion, drugs, the Ku Klux Klan, and Jewishness. These albums were later compiled and re-released as The Lenny Bruce Originals. Two later records were produced and sold by Bruce himself, including a 10-inch album of the 1961 San Francisco performances that started his legal troubles. Starting in the late 1950s, other unissued Bruce material was released by Alan Douglas, Frank Zappa and Phil Spector, as well as Fantasy. Bruce developed the complexity and tone of his material in Enrico Banducci's North Beach nightclub, the "hungry i", where Mort Sahl had earlier made a name for himself.

Branded a "sick comic"—though it was the perceived "sickness" of modern society that he was railing about—Bruce was essentially blacklisted from television, and when he did appear thanks to sympathetic fans like Steve Allen or Hugh Hefner, it was with great concessions to Broadcast Standards and Practices.[29] Jokes that might offend, like a bit on airplane glue-sniffing teenagers that was done live for The Steve Allen Show in 1959, had to be typed out and pre-approved by network officials.

His growing fame led to appearances on the nationally televised Steve Allen Show, where he made his debut with an unscripted comment on the recent marriage of Elizabeth Taylor to Eddie Fisher, wondering, "will Elizabeth Taylor become bar mitzvahed?"[30] On February 3, 1961, in the midst of a severe blizzard, he gave a famous performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. It was recorded and later released as a three-disc set, titled The Carnegie Hall Concert.[full citation needed] In the liner notes, Albert Goldman described it as follows:[This quote needs a citation]

This was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny Bruce chose to give one of the greatest performances of his career. ... The performance contained in this album is that of a child of the jazz age. Lenny worshiped the gods of Spontaneity, Candor and Free Association. He fancied himself an oral jazzman. His ideal was to walk out there like Charlie Parker, take that mike in his hand like a horn and blow, blow, blow everything that came into his head just as it came into his head with nothing censored, nothing translated, nothing mediated, until he was pure mind, pure head sending out brainwaves like radio waves into the heads of every man and woman seated in that vast hall. Sending, sending, sending, he would finally reach a point of clairvoyance where he was no longer a performer but rather a medium transmitting messages that just came to him from out there — from recall, fantasy, prophecy.

A point at which, like the practitioners of automatic writing, his tongue would outrun his mind and he would be saying things he didn't plan to say, things that surprised, delighted him, cracked him up — as if he were a spectator at his own performance!

Personal life

In 1951, Bruce met Honey Harlow, a stripper from Manila, Arkansas. They were married that same year, and Bruce was determined she end her work as a stripper.[31]

Bruce and Harlow eventually left New York City in 1953 for the West Coast, where they got work as a double act at the Cup and Saucer in Los Angeles, California. Bruce then went on to join the bill at the club Strip City. Harlow found employment at the Colony Club, which was widely known to be the best burlesque club in Los Angeles at the time.[32]

Bruce left Strip City in late 1954 and found work within the San Fernando Valley at a variety of strip clubs. As the master of ceremonies, he introduced the strippers while performing his own ever-evolving material. The clubs of the Valley provided the perfect environment for Bruce to create new routines: According to Bruce's primary biographer, Albert Goldman, it was "precisely at the moment when he sank to the bottom of the barrel and started working the places that were the lowest of the low" that he suddenly broke free of "all the restraints and inhibitions and disabilities that formerly had kept him just mediocre and began to blow with a spontaneous freedom and resourcefulness that resembled the style and inspiration of his new friends and admirers, the jazz musicians of the modernist school."[33]

Honey and Lenny's daughter Kitty Bruce was born in 1955.[34] He had an affair with the jazz singer Annie Ross in the late 1950s.[35] In 1959, Lenny's divorce from Honey was finalized.[36]

Legal troubles

Bruce at his arrest in 1961

Bruce's desire to end his wife's stripper days led him to pursue schemes that were designed to make as much money as possible. The most notable was the Brother Mathias Foundation scam, which resulted in Bruce's arrest in Miami, Florida in 1951 for impersonating a priest. He had been soliciting donations for a leper colony in British Guiana (now Guyana) under the auspices of the "Brother Mathias Foundation", which he had legally chartered – the name was his own invention, but possibly referred to the actual Brother Matthias who had befriended Babe Ruth at the Baltimore orphanage to which Ruth had been confined as a child.[37] Bruce had stolen several priests' clergy shirts and a clerical collar while posing as a laundry man. He was found not guilty because of the legality of the New York state-chartered foundation, the actual existence of the Guiana leper colony, and the inability of the local clergy to expose him as an impostor. Later, in his semifictional autobiography How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, Bruce revealed that he had made about $8,000 in three weeks, sending $2,500 to the leper colony and keeping the rest.

Obscenity arrests

On October 4, 1961, Bruce was arrested for obscenity[38] at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco; he had used the word cocksucker and riffed that "to is a preposition, come is a verb", that the sexual context of come is so common that it bears no weight, and that if someone hearing it becomes upset, he "probably can't come".[39] Although the jury acquitted him, other law enforcement agencies began monitoring his appearances, resulting in frequent arrests under charges of obscenity.

Bruce in 1963, after having been arrested in San Francisco

Bruce was arrested again in 1961, in Philadelphia, for drug possession and again in Los Angeles, two years later. The Los Angeles arrest took place in then-unincorporated West Hollywood, and the arresting officer was a young deputy named Sherman Block, who later became County Sheriff. The specification this time was that the comedian had used the word schmuck, an insulting Yiddish term that is an obscene term for penis. The Hollywood charges were later dismissed.[40]

On December 5, 1962, Bruce was arrested on stage at the legendary Gate of Horn folk club in Chicago.[41] The same year he played at Peter Cook's The Establishment club in London, and in April the next year he was barred from entering England by the Home Office as an "undesirable alien".[42]

In April 1964, he appeared twice at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village, with undercover police detectives in the audience. He was arrested along with the club owners, Howard and Elly Solomon, who were arrested for allowing an obscene performance to take place. On both occasions, he was arrested after leaving the stage, the complaints again pertaining to his use of various obscenities.[43]

A three-judge panel presided over his widely publicized six-month trial, prosecuted by Manhattan Assistant D.A. Richard Kuh, with Ephraim London and Martin Garbus as the defense attorneys. Bruce and club owner Howard Solomon were both found guilty of obscenity on November 4, 1964. The conviction was announced despite positive testimony and petitions of support from – among other artists, writers and educators – Woody Allen, Bob Dylan, Jules Feiffer, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, William Styron, and James Baldwin, and Manhattan journalist and television personality Dorothy Kilgallen and sociologist Herbert Gans.[44] Bruce was sentenced on December 21, 1964 to four months in a workhouse; he was set free on bail during the appeals process and died before the appeal was decided. Solomon later saw his conviction overturned; Bruce, who died before the decision, never had his conviction stricken.[45] Bruce later received a full posthumous gubernatorial pardon.

Later years

Poster for Bruce's last series of performances, which took place at The Fillmore in San Francisco on June 24 and 25, 1966.

Despite his prominence as a comedian, Bruce appeared on network television only six times in his life.[46] In his later club performances, Bruce was known for relating the details of his encounters with the police directly in his comedy routine. These performances often included rants about his court battles over obscenity charges, tirades against fascism and complaints that he was being denied his right to freedom of speech.

Bruce was banned outright from several U.S. cities, and in September 1962, his only visit to Australia caused a media storm - although, contrary to popular belief, he was not banned, nor was he forced to leave the country. Bruce was booked for a two-week engagement at Aaron's Exchange Hotel, a small pub in central Sydney, New South Wales by the American-born, Australian-based promoter Lee Gordon, who was by then deeply in debt, nearing the end of his formerly successful career, and desperate to save his business.

Bruce's first show at 9pm on 6 September was uneventful, but his second show at 11pm led to a major public controversy. Bruce was heckled by audience members during his performance, and when local actress, Barbara Wyndon, stood up and complained that Bruce was only talking about America, and asked him to talk about something different, a clearly annoyed Bruce responded "Fuck you, madam. That's different, isn't it?" His remark shocked some members of the audience and several walked out. By the next day the local press had blown the incident up into a major controversy, with several Sydney papers denouncing Bruce as "sick" and one even illustrating their story with a retouched photograph appearing to show Bruce giving a fascist salute. The venue owners immediately cancelled the rest of Bruce's performances, and he retreated to his Kings Cross hotel room. Local university students (including future Oz magazine editor Richard Neville) who were fans of Bruce's humour tried to arrange a performance at the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales, but at the last minute the university's Vice-Chancellor rescinded permission to use the venue, with no reason given.[47] and an interview he was scheduled to give on Australian television was cancelled in advance by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.[48] Bruce remained largely confined to his hotel, but eight days later Bruce gave his third and last Australian concert at the Wintergarden Theatre in Sydney's eastern suburbs. Although the theatre had a capacity of 2100, only 200 people attended, including a strong police presence, and in the event Bruce gave what was described as a "subdued" performance. It was long rumoured that a recording of Bruce's historic performance was made by police, but it was in fact recorded by a local jazz saxophonist, Sid Powell, who brought a portable tape recorder to the show. The tape was rediscovered in 2011 in the possession of Australian singer Sammy Gaha, who had acted as Bruce's chauffeur during his visit, and it was subsequently donated to the Lenny Bruce audio collection at Brandeis University. Bruce left the country a few days later and spoke little about the experience afterwards.[49][50][51][52]

Increasing drug use also affected his health. By 1966, he had been blacklisted by nearly every nightclub in the United States, as owners feared prosecution for obscenity. Bruce gave a famous performance at the Berkeley Community Theatre in December 1965. It was recorded and became his last live album, titled The Berkeley Concert; his performance here has been described as lucid, clear and calm, and one of his best. His last performance took place on June 25, 1966, at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, on a bill with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.[53] The performance was not remembered fondly by Bill Graham, whose memoir describes Bruce as "whacked out on amphetamine";[54] Graham thought that Bruce finished his set emotionally disturbed. Zappa asked Bruce to sign his draft card, but the suspicious Bruce refused.[55]

At the request of Hugh Hefner and with the aid of Paul Krassner, Bruce wrote an autobiography. Serialized in Playboy in 1964 and 1965, this material was later published as the book How to Talk Dirty and Influence People.[56] Hefner had long assisted Bruce's career, featuring him in the television debut of Playboy's Penthouse in October 1959.

During this time, Bruce also contributed a number of articles to Paul Krassner's satirical magazine The Realist.[57]

Death and posthumous pardon

On August 3, 1966, a bearded Lenny Bruce was found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home at 8825 W. Hollywood Blvd.[58] The official photo, taken at the scene, showed Bruce lying naked on the floor, a syringe and burned bottle cap nearby, along with various other narcotics paraphernalia. Record producer Phil Spector, a friend of Bruce, bought the negatives of the photographs "to keep them from the press". The official cause of death was "acute morphine poisoning caused by an overdose."[59]

His remains were interred in Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California, but an unconventional memorial on August 21 was controversial enough to keep his name in the spotlight. The service saw over 500 people pay their respects, led by Spector. Cemetery officials had tried to block the ceremony after advertisements for the event encouraged attendees to bring box lunches and noisemakers. Dick Schaap eulogized Bruce in Playboy, with the memorable last line: "One last four-letter word for Lenny: Dead. At forty. That's obscene."

His epitaph reads: "Beloved father – devoted son/Peace at last."

Bruce has one daughter.[60][61]

At the time of his death, his girlfriend was comedian Lotus Weinstock.[62]

On December 23, 2003, 37 years after Bruce's death, New York Governor George Pataki granted him a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction.[63][64]

Legacy

    Perhaps the most profound and cataclysmic change in our popular culture the last few years—matching the "new sound" in music—has been the kind of humor exemplified by the Smothers Brothers, Laugh-In, Woody Allen, and that whole breed, whose secret source of strength was the late dark angel, Lenny Bruce.
    Bruce was the Gertrude Stein of comedians. Never popular himself—because he was too cryptic and too scatological for popular taste—he nevertheless influenced a whole generation of comics, just as Stein influenced Hemingway and that generation of writers. Her own work was a dead end (so was Bruce's), but out of that compost grew the buds of a flourishing school.
—syndicated columnist Sydney J. Harris, November 5, 1969.[65]

Bruce was the subject of the 1974 biographical film Lenny, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Dustin Hoffman (in an Academy Award-nominated Best Actor role), and based on the Broadway stage play of the same name written by Julian Barry and starring Cliff Gorman in his 1972 Tony Award winning role. In addition, the main character's editing of a fictionalized film version of Lenny was a major part of Fosse's own biopic, the 1979 Academy Award-nominated All That Jazz.

The documentary Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth, directed by Robert B. Weide and narrated by Robert De Niro, was released in 1998. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature

In 2004, Comedy Central listed Bruce at number three on its list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All-Time, placing above Woody Allen (4th) and below Richard Pryor (1st) and George Carlin (2nd).[66] Both comedians who ranked higher than Bruce considered him a major influence; Pryor said that hearing Bruce for the first time "changed my life,"[67] while Carlin was arrested along with Bruce after refusing to provide identification when police raided a Bruce performance.[68]

In popular culture

  • In 1966, Grace Slick co-wrote and sang the Great Society song "Father Bruce".
  • In comedian Allan Sherman's song Return to Camp Granada, Sherman mentions that Bruce is scheduled to perform at the camp because "the boys are all tired of Mother Goose". Like the song's previous incarnation Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp) which also enumerates many of the various abominable atrocities occurring at Camp Granada, the song's implication is that parents would be horrified that such an "adult-themed" performer would actually be deemed acceptable entertainment for impressionable young boys at a youth camp, further indicating how despicably debauched and alarmingly "loosely" the camp is being run.
  • Bruce is pictured in the top row of the cover of the Beatles 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band[69]
  • The clip of a news broadcast featured in "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" by Simon & Garfunkel carries the ostensible newscast audio of Lenny Bruce's death. In another track on the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, "A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission)", Paul Simon sings, "... I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce, that all my wealth won't buy me health."[70][71]
  • Tim Hardin's fourth album Tim Hardin 3 Live in Concert, released in 1968, includes his song Lenny's Tune written about his friend Lenny Bruce.[72][73]
  • Nico's 1967 album Chelsea Girl includes a track entitled "Eulogy to Lenny Bruce", which was "Lenny's Tune" by Tim Hardin, with the lyrics slightly altered. In it she describes her sorrow and anger at Bruce's death.[74][75]
  • In the 1979 movie All That Jazz, Joe Gideon (alter-ego of the film's director Bob Fosse) is editing a Lenny-like movie, paralleling Fosse's real-life editing of Lenny. The film is criticized in All That Jazz, precipitating Gideon's heart attack, again paralleling the heart attack Fosse suffered while working on Lenny.
  • Bob Dylan's 1981 song "Lenny Bruce" from his Shot of Love album describes a brief taxi ride shared by the two men. In the last line of the song, Dylan recalls: "Lenny Bruce was bad, he was the brother that you never had."[76][77]
  • Phil Ochs wrote a song eulogizing the late comedian, titled "Doesn't Lenny Live Here Anymore?". The song is featured on his 1969 album Rehearsals for Retirement.
  • R.E.M.'s 1987 song "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" includes references to a quartet of famous people all sharing the initials L.B. with Lenny Bruce being one of them (the others being Leonard Bernstein, Leonid Brezhnev and Lester Bangs). The opening line of the song mentioning Bruce goes, "...That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid."[78]
  • Lenny Bruce appears as a character in Don DeLillo's 1997 novel Underworld. In the novel, Bruce does a stand-up routine about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Genesis' 1974 song "Broadway Melody of 1974" depicts a dystopic New York where "Lenny Bruce declares a truce and plays his other hand, Marshall McLuhan, casual viewin', head buried in the sand" and "Groucho, with his movies trailing, stands alone with his punchline failing".
  • The front cover of Marillion's 1987 album "Clutching at Straws" pictures Lenny Bruce at a bar accompanied by several other famous personalities such as Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote and Robert Burns, all of whom died relatively young. The back cover includes John Lennon, James Dean and Jack Kerouac.
  • Emily Haines sings in the band Metric's song "On The Sly" that, "for Halloween I want to be Lenny Bruce"
  • The Stranglers' single "No More Heroes" includes the line "Whatever happened to dear old Lenny?" and although this does not specifically refer to Lenny Bruce, the live version featured on the album Live (X Cert) says "Whatever happened to dear old Lenny Bruce?"
  • Lenny Bruce is listed as a bohemian idol in the song "La Vie Bohème" from the musical Rent
  • The British rapper Scroobius Pip mentions Bruce in the "Introdiction" to the album Distraction Pieces: "If I say fuck a lot well then I may gain more attention. If I say cunt well then with some of you there will be tension. I find this interesting ´cause in the end these are just words You give them power when you cower man it´s so absurd. But all that was covered by Lenny Bruce back in the day. Nothing's original now I´m repeating what I say."
  • Joy Zipper's 2005 album The Heartlight Set features a track named "For Lenny's Own Pleasure."[79]
  • Nada Surf's song "Imaginary Friends" (from their 2005 album The Weight Is a Gift) references Lenny Bruce in its lyrics: "Lenny Bruce's bug eyes stare from an LP, asking me just what kind of fight I've got in me".[80]
  • John Mayall's album The Turning Point (1969) contains an opening track titled "The Laws Must Change" where he references Lenny Bruce. The lyrics are "Lenny Bruce was trying to tell you/ Many things before he died/ Don't throw rocks at policemen/ But get the knots of law untied".
  • Shmaltz Brewing Company brews a year-round beer called Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. and the tagline is "Brewed with an obscene amount of hops."[81]
  • Lenny Bruce appears as a character in the 2017 Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, played by Luke Kirby.
  • Steve Earle's 2004 song "F the CC" contains the lyrics "Dirty Lenny died so we could all be free."
  • Freedom of Speech: Lessons from Lenny Bruce is a play based on Bruce's legacy.
  • Lenny Bruce appears in four episodes of the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Played by Luke Kirby, Bruce is an inspiration and source of encouragement to lead character Miriam 'Midge' Maisel as she decides to launch a career as a stand up comic. Bruce is arrested in episode 1 for obscenity and is bailed out by Rachel Broshnahan as Mrs. Maisel. Later on in the episode Miriam is arrested on the same charge and, is subsequently bailed out by Bruce.

Bibliography

By others:

  • Barry, Julian. Lenny (play) (Grove Press, Inc. 1971)
  • Bruce, Honey. Honey: The Life and Loves of Lenny's Shady Lady (Playboy Press, 1976, with Dana Benenson)
  • Bruce, Kitty. The (almost) Unpublished Lenny Bruce (1984, Running Press) (includes a graphically spruced up reproduction of 'Stamp Help Out!')
  • Cohen, John, ed., compiler. The Essential Lenny Bruce (Ballantine Books, 1967)
  • Collins, Ronald and David Skover, The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall & Rise of an American Icon (Sourcebooks, 2002)[82]
  • DeLillo, Don. Underworld, (Simon and Schuster Inc., 1997)
  • Denton, Bradley. The Calvin Coolidge Home for Dead Comedians, an award-winning collection of science fiction stories in which the title story has Lenny Bruce as one of the two protagonists.
  • Goldman, Albert, with Lawrence Schiller. Ladies and Gentlemen—Lenny Bruce!! (Random House, 1974)
  • Goldstein, Jonathan. Lenny Bruce Is Dead (Coach House Press, 2001)
  • Josepher, Brian. What the Psychic Saw (Sterlinghouse Publisher, 2005)
  • Kofsky, Frank. Lenny Bruce: The Comedian as Social Critic & Secular Moralist (Monad Press, 1974)
  • Kringas, Damian. Lenny Bruce: 13 Days In Sydney (Independence Jones Guerilla Press, Sydney, 2010) A study of Bruce's ill-fated September 1962 tour down under.
  • Marciniak, Vwadek P., Politics, Humor and the Counterculture: Laughter in the Age of Decay (New York etc., Peter Lang, 2008).
  • Marmo, Ronnie, with Jason M. Burns. I'm Not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce (Play directed by Joe Mantegna, 2017)
  • Smith, Valerie Kohler. Lenny (novelization based on the Barry-scripted/Fosse-directed film) (Grove Press, Inc., 1974)
  • Thomas, William Karl. Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet [2] Memoir and pictures from Bruce's principal collaborator. First printing, Archon Books, 1989; second printing, Media Maestro, 2002; Japanese edition, DHC Corp. Tokyo, 2001.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1953 Walking My Baby Back Home Writer Uncredited
Dance Hall Racket Vincent Directed by Phil Tucker
1954 Dream Follies
The Rocket Man Screenplay Directed by Oscar Rudolph
1955 The Leather Jacket Actor / Writer 20 minutes of a feature film project that lost funding and was never completed
1959 One Night Stand: The World of Lenny Bruce Himself / Writer TV Special
1967 The Lenny Bruce Performance Film Himself / Writer Filmed in San Francisco 1966, includes Thank You Mask Man, VHS 1992 / DVD 2005 / Download
1971 Thank You Mask Man Voice of 'The Lone Ranger' / Writer / Director Animated short film by John Magnuson Associates
Dynamite Chicken Himself Sketch comedy film starring Richard Pryor
1972 Lenny Bruce Without Tears Himself Documentary directed by Fred Baker, VHS 1992 / DVD 2005 / Download 2013
1974 Lenny Biography directed by Bob Fosse and starring Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Hoffman was nominated for:
  • Academy Award for Best Actor
  • BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor—Motion Picture Drama
1984 A Toast to Lenny Bruce Himself TV tribute available on LaserDisc / VHS
1998 Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth Himself Academy Award nominated documentary directed by Robert B. Weide, narrated by Robert De Niro
2011 Looking for Lenny Himself Documentary featuring interviews with Mort Sahl, Phyllis Diller, Lewis Black, Richard Lewis, Sandra Bernhard, Jonathan Winters, Robert Klein, Shelley Berman and others, North American Premiere Toronto Jewish Film Festival May 2011, Screened at Paris Beat Generation Days April 2011

Discography

Albums

Year Title Label Format Notes
1958 Interviews of Our Times Fantasy Records LP / LP 1969 / CD 1991 / Download 2 tracks feature Henry Jacobs & Woody Leifer, liner notes by Horace Sprott III & Sleepy John Estes
1959 The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce LP / LP/8-Track 1984 / CD 1991, 2012 & 2017 / Download 2010 Liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason
1960 I Am Not a Nut, Elect Me! (Togetherness) LP / CD 1991 / Download
1961 American LP / CD 1991, 2013 & 2016 / Download
1964 Lenny Bruce Is Out Again Lenny Bruce LP / Download 2004 Self-published live recordings from 1958–1963
1966 Lenny Bruce Is Out Again Philles Records Totally different version PHLP-4010, produced by Phil Spector

Posthumous Releases

Year Title Label Format Notes
1966 Why Did Lenny Bruce Die? Capitol Records LP / LP 1974 / Download 2014 Interviews and recordings by Lawrence Schiller, Lionel Olay and Richard Warren Lewis
1967 Lenny Bruce United Artists Records LP / LP 1986 Recorded Feb. 4, 1961, edited, reissued as In Concert At Carnegie Hall
1968 The Essential Lenny Bruce Politics Douglas Records LP / Download 2007 Clips edited together with archival audio for historical context
1969 The Berkeley Concert Bizarre Records/Reprise Records 2xLP / 2xLP 1971 / Cassette 1991 / CD 1989, 2004 & 2017 / Download 2005 Recorded Dec. 12, 1965, produced by John Judnich and Frank Zappa
1970 To Is A Preposition; Come Is A Verb Douglas Records LP / LP 1971, 1975 & 2004 / CD 2000 & 2002 / Download 2005 & 2007 Recorded 1961–1964, LP reissues titled What I Was Arrested For
1971 Live at the Curran Theater Fantasy Records 3xLP / 2xCD 1999 & 2017 / Download 2006 Recorded Nov. 19, 1961
1972 Carnegie Hall United Artists Records 3xLP / 2xCD 1995 / Download 2015 Recorded Feb. 4, 1961, unabridged
1974 The Law, Language And Lenny Bruce Warner-Spector Records LP / Cassette Produced by Phil Spector
1992 Lenny Bruce Rhino Entertainment CD / CD 2005 Soundtrack From "The Lenny Bruce Performance Film" and reissued as Live in San Francisco 1966
1995 Live 1962: Busted! Viper's Nest Records CD / Download 2010 & 2018 Recorded Dec. 4, 1962 at Chicago Gate of Horn, reissued as Dirty Words - Live 1962 & The Man That Shocked Britain: Gate of Horn, Chicago, December 1962
2004 Let the Buyer Beware Shout! Factory 6xCD/Book Previously unreleased material, produced by Hal Willner

Compilations

Year Title Label Format Notes
1962 The Best Of Lenny Bruce Fantasy Records LP / Cassette 1990 / LP 1995
1972 Thank You Masked Man LP / CD 2004 & 2005 Enhanced CD with Thank You Masked Man short film
1975 The Real Lenny Bruce 2xLP Gatefold with inserts and poster
1982 Unexpurgated : The Best Of Lenny Bruce LP
1991 The Lenny Bruce Originals Volume 1 CD / CD 1992 & 1997 / Download 2006 / CD 2013 Reissue of first and second albums
The Lenny Bruce Originals Volume 2 Reissue of third and fourth albums
2011 Classic Album Collection Golden Stars 3xCD 2012 First 4 albums with 4 bonus tracks
2013 Great Audio Moments, Vol. 33: Lenny Bruce Global Journey Download 22 tracks, 105 minutes
Great Audio Moments, Vol. 33: Lenny Bruce Pt. 1 9 tracks, 39 minutes
Great Audio Moments, Vol. 33: Lenny Bruce Pt. 2 9 tracks, 43 minutes
2016 Four Classic Albums Plus Bonus Tracks Real Gone Music 4xCD First 4 albums with bonus tracks

Audiobooks

Year Title Label Format Notes
2000 Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Mind – The Rise & Reckless Fall Of Lenny Bruce Chrome Dreams CD / CD 2001 & 2005 / CD/Download 2006 / CD 2017 Biography read by Robin Clifford, stand up by Lenny and voices of people who knew him.
2002 The Trials of Lenny Bruce Sourcebooks MediaFusion CD/Book Features excerpts of Lenny's never-before-released trial tapes
2016 Lenny Bruce: How to Talk Dirty and Influence People: An Autobiography Hachette Audio Download / CD 2017 Read by Ronnie Marmo, Preface by Lewis Black & Forward by Howard Reich

Tribute Albums

Year Title Label Format Notes
1972 Jarl Kulle: Som Lenny Bruce - Varför Gömmer Du Dig I Häcken? Polar Music 2xLP Swedish actor performing Lenny, title translates to Like Lenny Bruce - Why are you hiding in the hedge?

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ August, Melissa (September 5, 2005). "Died". Time. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 78, ex-stripper who in 1951 married the soon-to-be-famous comedian Lenny Bruce; in Honolulu. Though the drug-addled pair split in 1957 (they had a daughter, Kitty), the sometime actress who called herself "Lenny's Shady Lady" helped successfully lobby New York Governor George Pataki to pardon Bruce 
  2. ^ a b Driven, Joey. "Joe Acis: A Brief Biography". Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (2007-07-24). "Funny, that was my joke". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  4. ^ Mendrinos, Jim (8 April 2004). "The 50 Most Influential Comedy Albums". Archived from the original on 10 June 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Carlin, George, George Carlin on Comedy, "Lenny Bruce", Laugh.com, 2002.
  6. ^ Gillette, Amelie (2006-06-07). "Lewis Black". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  7. ^ Keepnews, Peter (1999-08-08). "There Was Thought in His Rage". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Lou Reed". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Joe Rogan Experience #463 - Louis Theroux". 
  10. ^ "Lenny Bruce". nndb.com. 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Kifner, John (2003-12-24). "No Joke! 37 Years After Death Lenny Bruce Receives Pardon - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  12. ^ "Lenny Bruce, Uninhibited Comic, Found Dead in Hollywood Home". Nytimes.com. 1966-08-04. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  13. ^ Watkins, Mel; Weber, Bruce (2008-06-24). "George Carlin, Comic Who Chafed at Society and Its Constraints, Dies at 71". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ The 50 Best Stand-up Comics of All Time. Rollingstone.com, retrieved February 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Albert Goldman; Lawrence Schiller (1991). Ladies and Gentlemen: Lenny Bruce!!. Penguin Books. p. 107. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Thomas, William Karl (1 Dec 1989). Lenny Bruce: the making of a prophet. Archon Books. p. 47. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  17. ^ A.H. Goldman. Ladies and Gentlemen: Lenny Bruce!! (New York: Random House, 1971), p. 91.
  18. ^ "Lenny Bruce's Gay Naval Ruse: Unearthed documents detail comedian's discharge", TheSmokingGun.com, August 31, 2010
  19. ^ ""Playboy's Penthouse" Episode #1.1 (TV Episode 1959)". Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  20. ^ Goldman, p. 109.
  21. ^ Goldman, p. 105-108.
  22. ^ "Lenny Bruce". Reference.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  23. ^ Schwartz, Ben. "The Comedy Behind the Tragedy". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  24. ^ The Candy Butcher (2016) p. 152.
  25. ^ Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet (1989)[permanent dead link], p. 54-63.
  26. ^ Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet (1989)[permanent dead link] p. 276-229.
  27. ^ Thomas, meta tags by William Karl Thomas; web design by William Karl. "Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet". www.mediamaestro.net. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  28. ^ "The Candy Butcher (2016)". Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  29. ^ "The Museum of Television & Radio Presents Two Five-Letter Words: Lenny Bruce". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  30. ^ Lenny Bruce on YouTube
  31. ^ Kottler, Jeffrey A., Divine Madness: Ten Stories of Creative Struggle (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006), 221.
  32. ^ Goldman, p. 124.
  33. ^ Goldman, p. 133.
  34. ^ "Chronology – The 50s". The Official Lenny Bruce Site. Mystic Liquid. Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  35. ^ Gavin, James (3 October 1993). "A Free-Spirited Survivor Lands on Her Feet". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  36. ^ "Lenny Bruce". NNDB. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  37. ^ "Babe Ruth and Brother Matthias". Chatterfromthedugout.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  38. ^ "Lenny Bruce – Chronology". Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  39. ^ Bruce, Lenny. "To is a Preposition, Come is a Verb". The Trials of Lenny Bruce. University of Missouri-Kansas City. 
  40. ^ Gross, David C. English-Yiddish, Yiddish-English Dictionary: Romanized Hippocrene Books, 1995. p.144. ISBN 0-7818-0439-6
  41. ^ "Comedians in Courthouses Getting Cuffed: Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, December 1962". The Critic's Comic. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  42. ^ "Chronology – The 60′s | The Official Lenny Bruce Website". Lennybruceofficial.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  43. ^ Linder, Doug. "The Trials of Lenny Bruce". Famous Trials: The Lenny Bruce Trial 1964. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  44. ^ Excerpts from the Lenny Bruce Trial (Cafe Au Go Go) Archived 2010-06-28 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
  45. ^ People v. Solomon, 26 N.Y.2d. 621.
  46. ^ "The Museum of Television & Radio Presents Two Five-Letter Words: Lenny Bruce". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  47. ^ Richard Neville, Hippie Hippie Shake (William Heinemann Australia, 1995, ISBN 085615230), pp. 21-22.
  48. ^ Goldman, p. 372.
  49. ^ "Derek Strahan, "When I opened for Lenny Bruce in Australia", revolve.com, (accessed 2017-05-22)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  50. ^ "Lenny Bruce's visit to Sydney 1962". dictionaryofsydney.org. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  51. ^ "MIchael Adams, "When Lenny Met Sydney", michaeladamswrites wordpress site (accessed 2017-05-22)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  52. ^ "Lenny Bruce and his ill-fated Sydney tour". 18 April 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2017. 
  53. ^ Graham, Bill; Greenfield, Robert (2004). Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out. Da Capo Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0306813498. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  54. ^ Graham, p. 159.
  55. ^ Zappa, Frank; Occhiogrosso, Peter (1989). The Real Frank Zappa Book. Simon and Schuster. p. 69. ISBN 9780671705725. 
  56. ^ Watts, Steven (2009). Mr Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream. John Wiley & Sons. p. 190. ISBN 9780470501375. 
  57. ^ "The Realist Archive Project".  Issues 15, 41, 48, 54.
  58. ^ AP (August 4, 1966). "Obituary". New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  59. ^ Collins, Ronald; Skover, David (2002). The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon. Sourcebooks Mediafusion. p. 340. ISBN 1-57071-986-1. 
  60. ^ Fox, Margalit (September 20, 2005). "Honey Bruce Friedman, 78, Entertainer and 'Lenny's Shady Lady'". New York Times. p. A27. Retrieved August 20, 2017. .
  61. ^ O'Malley, Ryan,. "Lenny Bruce's daughter reaching out: Pittston resident Kitty Bruce hopes to help women in recovery with "Lenny's House"". Pittston Dispatch. Pittston, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  62. ^ Weide, Bob. "A Lotus by Any other Name", Whyaduck Productions, 1998, n.d.
  63. ^ Minnis, Glenn "Lenny Bruce Pardoned", CBS News/Associated Press, December 23, 2003.
  64. ^ Conan, Neal (2003-12-23). "Lenny Bruce Pardoned: Interview with Nat Hentoff (with audio link)". Talk of the Nation. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  65. ^ Harris, Sydney J. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, November 5, 1969, p. 36.
  66. ^ "List of Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time". listology.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  67. ^ "Pryor: I Owe It All To Lenny Bruce". Contactmusic.com. 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2018-04-22. 
  68. ^ "Profanity". Penn & Teller: Bullshit!. Season 2. Episode 10. August 12, 2004. Showtime. 
  69. ^ Roger Griffiths (2006-01-06). "Who Are They?". Math.mercyhurst.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  70. ^ Bruce Eder. "allmusic album review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  71. ^ "song lyrics". Lyricsplayground.com. 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  72. ^ Richie Unterberger (1968-04-10). "Tim Hardin Live 3 in Concert allmusic album review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  73. ^ "youtube". youtube. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  74. ^ "sputnikmusic album review". Sputnikmusic.com. 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  75. ^ "song lyrics". Ladygarfunkel.wordpress.com. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  76. ^ Paul Nelson (1981-10-15). "Rolling Stone review". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  77. ^ [1] song lyrics
  78. ^ Ventre, Michael (2005-10-29). ""Turn up the volume and cast your vote: Songs to inspire you for Election Day 2004"". Archived from the original on November 4, 2004. Retrieved 2006-09-01. . MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
  79. ^ "Joy Zipper – For Lenny's Own Pleasure". Song Meanings. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  80. ^ "Nada Surf – Imaginary Friends". Song Meanings. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  81. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  82. ^ "Seattle University". Classes.seattleu.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 

References

  • "JSTOR: College English: Vol. 38, No. 5, Literacy and Basics (January, 1977), pp. 517–519". JSTOR 376395. 
  • "Lenny Bruce: Britannica Concise". Retrieved March 27, 2006. 
  • "Bruce, Lenny – The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001–05". Retrieved March 27, 2006. 
  • "Lenny Bruce: A Who2 Profile". Retrieved March 27, 2006. 
  • "Lenny Bruce". Retrieved March 27, 2006. 
  • "A Genesis Discography". Retrieved September 14, 2012. 

External links

Articles
  • "Famous Trials: The Lenny Bruce Trial, 1964", University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law. Includes Linder, Douglas, "The Lenny Bruce Trial: An Account", 2003. WebCitation archive.
  • Azlant, Edward. "Lenny Bruce Again", Shecky Magazine, August 22, 2006
  • Gilmore, John. "Lenny Bruce and the Bunny", excerpt from Laid Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip (Amok Books, 1997). ISBN 978-1-878923-08-0
  • Harnisch, Larry. "Voices", Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2007. (Reminiscences by saxophonist Dave Pell)
  • Kaufman, Anthony. "Robert Weide's 'Lenny Bruce': 12 Years in-the-Negotiations" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 16, 2008) (interview with Swear to Tell the Truth producer), Indiewire.com, April 16, 2008
  • Hentoff, Nat. "Lenny Bruce: The crucifixion of a true believer", Gadfly March/April 2001
  • Sloan, Will. "Is Lenny Bruce Still Funny?", Hazlitt, November 4, 2014
  • Smith, Daniel V. "The Complete Lenny Bruce Chronology" (fan site)
  • "Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet" Memoir and pictures from Bruce's principal collaborator, Media Maestro 2001.
  • The Pot Smokers, a satirical article by Lenny Bruce, reprinted in The (Almost) Unpublished Lenny Bruce
  • Idioms for Marijuana Cigarettes, by Lenny Bruce, reprinted in The (Almost) Unpublished Lenny Bruce
  • [3], Lenny Bruce: Remembering a Comic Genius - by Tom Degan
  • Kringas, Damian (2012). "Lenny Bruce's visit to Sydney 1962". Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 2 October 2015.  [CC-By-SA]

Audio/video

  • "Come and Gone/Thank you, Mr. Masked Man!", My KPFA – A Historical Footnote (1961 Jazz Workshop performance and two 1963 performances)
  • Video Clips Relating to the Trial of Lenny Bruce as assembled by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School
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