Lenny Bruce


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, freestyle and critical form of comedy which contained 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 Governor George Pataki in 2003. Bruce is renowned for paving the way for outspoken counterculture era comedians. His trial for obscenity is seen as a landmark for freedom of speech in the United States. 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. … Bruce released a total of four albums of original material on 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’, Bruce was essentially blacklisted from television, and when he did appear thanks to sympathetic fans like Hefner and Steve Allen, it was with great concessions to Broadcast Standards and Practices. 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. … On August 3, 1966, a bearded Bruce was found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home at 8825 W. Hollywood Blvd. 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.’ …”
Wikipedia
Voice: Lenny Bruce Tagged on Obscenity, Run Extended at Cafe Here (April 1964), Lenny Bruce’s Fear: He Will Run Out of Fare to the Supreme Court (April 1964)
[PDF] The Realist No. 73, February, 1967: Lenny Bruce, Tim Leary and the Search For Alienation-or, Which Deodorant Does Lyndon Johnson Use? Paul Krassner
New Yorker: “The Lenny Bruce Performance Film” (Video)
YouTube: Complete Live Standup (Rare, 1965) 1:00:03

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