Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lenny Bruce

It was on this day in 1964 that comedian Lenny Bruce (books by this author) was sentenced to four months in jail for obscenity. At the time, Bruce was using profanity in his stand-up routine, and he talked openly about sex and made offensive jokes about race, politics, and religion. During the trial, a police witness described Bruce's performance to the court, and Bruce claimed that the man was trying to steal his act. Dozens of artists came to Bruce's defense, including Woody Allen, Bob Dylan, James Baldwin, and Allen Ginsberg. After the sentence, Lenny Bruce became obsessed with the trial and he gave up performing as a comedian and began reading the court transcripts to his audiences. He died two years later of a heroin overdose, still waiting to hear an appeal of his case. It wasn't until 2003 that Governor George Pataki granted him a posthumous pardon.


bobb MSN said...

Well, I'm glad to see that Lenny was finally given a pardon, albeit a bit too late. If it wasn't for him there would be no George Carlin today. And though his comedy is very different in style, Rodney Dangerfield was a good friend of Lenny's.

I think Lenny was truly a satirist and his commentary and observations cut a little too close to the bone for many people of that era. A little ahead of the curve, he was.


oshayne MSN said...

bob   i believe lenny bruce has in one way or another influenced all of the comedians of our generation.   by challenging the status quo he sure opened alot of  minds resulting in giving comdians a creative freedom ..   shayne

bobb MSN said...

Hi Shayne

I agree totally with you. I mentioned George Carlin as he is an obvious successor. But Lenny changed the face of satire and comedy forever. He held a mirror up to folks and forced them to look into it.