email@example.com (Ed Ricardo):Lenny Bruce is dead but his ghost lives on and on Never did get any Golden Globe award, never made it to Synanon. He was an outlaw, that's for sure, More of an outlaw than you ever were. Lenny Bruce is gone but his spirit's livin' on and on.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael J. Stern):Junkies an flunkies line the wind along side ban-the-bomb demonstrators Girls're hustlin for dollars on one side a the street an Girls're sittin down for their rights on the other side a the street - The new Premise's playin an Moondog's beatin his drum an sayin his lines - Lenny Bruce's talkin an Lord Buckley's memory still movin An Doc Watson's walkin Ray Charles's shoutin an speakin Bertrand Russell's yellin from across the ocean an Julian Beck's tellin the same on this side a the sea - Jim Forman is livin an Ross Barnett's losin - Harry Jackson's paintin - Maybelle Carter's really standin an really strummin an Mike Seeger's really real - An Pete Seeger's really Pete Seeger - An Joan Baez is still unshattered An Marlon Brando's on the good side - An the time's a rollin down every single street - There's a girl waitin on every single corner -
email@example.com (David Sage):
Obviously not a fan of Lenny Bruce eh?
I'm not sure much of the above is terribly accurate, especially the comparison with the odious Mr. Clay.
I suppose it just goes to show that Bruce is still capable of stirring up a reaction 30 years later. WELL worth a song from Dylan... Tim Hardin did one too.
This is something like saying: "Bob Dylan was a Jewish/Christian guitar player famous in the 60s for, among other things, mumbling and writing long songs. He was like Dan Fogelberg, but more interesting and more political and this was in the 1960s, when people were more understanding of such attitudes."
To the original of this thread: check out a good bio on Bruce. He was indeed a comedian. But that word doesn't do justice to his breadth as a political and societal commentator.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Bob):
Since Andrew Dice Clay was mentioned, I thought I would add that Lenny Bruce was a visionary, progressive poltical comedian who was sadly ahead of his time in the 50's. I would compare him more to Richard Pryor.
He didn't spend that much time in jail, although he was in a few times for whaat was then considered obscenities and now appears on HBO comedy shows.
email@example.com (Benjamin Kline Lowengard):
Well, he wasn't famous because of (the things Michael J. Stern mentioned), he was famous for being persecuted because of his free speech. He certainly did a lot to pave the way for comedic exposition- that is, detailing the hang-ups Americans had at the time(well, some of us had 'em) concerning politics, drugs,war, the legal system, and sexuality. By no means was he more offensive than Andrew Dice Clay-but less tolerated. I recommend reading thge autobiography of Lenny Bruce, or checking out Bob Fosse's movie (w/Dustin Hoffman) Lenny. Rhino has released a bunch of the Lenny Bruce albums on CD in compilation form(I own a few of the records:the Berkeley Concerts, and the one where hhe's frying a pan of shit and smiling- they are dated but still funny-specially his timing) He also helped pave the road of the counter-culture-taught us SARCASM can be fun and patriotic.
firstname.lastname@example.org (John H. Zureick):
In article <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael J. Stern) writes: >Lenny Bruce was a Jewish comedian famous in the 1950s for, among other >things, throwing himself through glass doors while high on heroin and >whipping out his penis on stage. He was like Andrew Dice Clay, but
I can't totally agree with this description. Bruce was famous as a
satirist and a comedian. I doubt if his fame involved heroin until
he died of an overdose and the famous picture (some say the picture
was set up) was shown in the papers. I have never heard the glass
door incident either. In his time, Bruce was the hippest of the hip.
As for pulling his penis out on stage, I have to doubt this too. He had a famous routine where he said he was going to piss on the first few rows (where did you thing Gallagher got the idea from?) but I never remember hearing of his actually pulling his penis out.
He was famous as a hip talker and he was very funny. His routines on Moses and Jesus returning to earth, routines on the pope are all classics. To put him in Andrew Dice Clay's class is selling Bruce seriously short.
If you can get the recording 'Live at Carnegie Hall' this was done before Bruce started filling up a lot of his concerts with his legal trouble. It was also, I believe, recorded during one of Dylan's first years in NYC so I wonder if Dylan attended the concert which was held during one of NYC's worst blizzards ever.
blondon@Teknowledge.COM (Bob London):
oh no. this one did it -- finally made me realize I've got one foot stuck solidly in a previous generation. even my kids with their Nirvana couldn't accomplish that. not complaining at you, David, it's a good question.
he was a hilarious & insightful comedian, at his height in the '60s, who may have been (so far as I'm aware) the first major comedian to rely completely on pointing out the insanity of everyday reality. so most stand-ups today are trying to follow in Lenny's footsteps.
unfortunately, the government couldn't take a joke -- even worse than now -- & saw him as a major threat that had to be destroyed. they did that at least by prosecution -- constant arrests for obscenity, which Lenny decided not to take, & fought, became obsessed with them, & continually lost. they may have persecuted him in other ways too.
i remember reading somewhere that some music produer helped him out in "his final crazy days", like he was a total paranoid druggie or something,
yeh, at the end. constant persecution from the biggest power in the world can do that to you.
from Bob's cool song-which i've seen just recently om "Hard To Handle" myself- you'd think he was like a civil rights politician, religoius prophet or something!! (who was like assassinated!!:))
there's truth to all of those. the movie "Guilty by Suspicion" (with DeNiro), about McCarthy/HUAC victims, gets across the "assassinated" better than the movie "Lenny" with Dustin Hoffman, imho. "Lenny" concentrated too much on moodiness to get across the mood of the time -- but then I only saw it once & should probably try again.
& hoping he is/was mega-cool & totally worthy of a Dylan personal, David.
yes. BD took a short cab ride with Lenny once, & obviously was enormously
impressed by his honesty & courage as well as humor. their approaches had a
lot in common.
the tapes I've heard in recent years of Bruce's monologs do not come close to the hilarity of tapes I used to hear up back in his day. does anyone know where to get tapes, audio or video, of his best stuff?
email@example.com (da Flower Punk):
"Saint Lenny has been on my dashboard for twenty years. He brings me courage, love and laughter." - Eric Bogasian
"Lenny always seemed to me to the first of the modern comedians... He commented on the world around, and, since he had the sensitivity of a philosopher, plus a superior intelligence, the things he said were always insightful." - Steve Allen
"He exemplified the first amendment--the freedom of speech." - Dick Gregory
"Lenny Bruce was a revolutionary comic figure...." - George Carlin
"Lenny Bruce blazed like a beacon across our Eisenhower encrusted souls, illustrating all hitherto hidden horrors for our edification and amusement." - Wavy Gravy
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Ricardo):
Al's wife claimed I can't be happy as the New Jersey night ran backwards an' vanished behind our rollin' ear "I dig the colors outside, an' I'm happy" "but you sing such depressin' songs" "but you say so on your terms" "but my terms aren't so unreal" "yes but they're still your terms" "but what about others that think in those same terms" "Lenny Bruce says they're no dirty words...just dirty minds an' I say they're no depressed words just depressed minds" "but how're you happy an' when're you happy" "I'm happy now" "why?" "cause I'm calmly lookin' outside an' watchin' the night unwind" "what'd you mean 'unwind'?" "I mean somethin' like there's no end t' it an' it's so big that every time I see it it's like seein' for the first time" "so what?" "so anything that ain't got no end's just gotta be poetry in one way or another" "yeah but..." "an' poetry makes me feel good" "but..." "an' it makes me feel happy" "ok but..." "for lack of a better word" "but what about the songs you sing on stage?" "they're nothin' but the unwindin' of my happiness" Junkies an flunkies line the wind along side ban-the-bomb demonstrators Girls're hustlin for dollars on one side a the street an Girls're sittin down for their rights on the other side a the street - The new Premise's playin an Moondog's beatin his drum an sayin his lines - Lenny Bruce's talkin an Lord Buckley's memory still movin... Lenny Bruce is dead but he didn't commit any crime He just had the insight to rip off the lid before its time. I rode with him in a taxi once, only for a mile and a half, Seemed like it took a couple of months. Lenny Bruce moved on and the ones that killed him are gone. Here's a song about recognition, or lack of recognition. Tennessee Williams, it was he who said: "I don't ask for your pity, just your understanding. Not even that, but just your recognition of me in you, and Time, the enemy in us all." Tennessee Williams led a pretty drastic life. He died all by himself in a New York hotel room without a friend in the world. Another man died like that... [Introduction to "Lenny Bruce" - 8 March 1986, Gymnasium, Nagoya] [14/785] ------------------------------------------ "I am not a comedian. I am Lenny Bruce." ------------------------------------------
New movie in 1998: LENNY BRUCE: SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH Ladies and Gentlemen - Lenny Bruce