“Lenny Bruce is about Attitude. He was the genius of Attitude. If you dig Lenny, you dig the Attitude.” -Eric Bogosian
Satirist, Critic, Author, Comedian, Thinker, Lenny Bruce was born today in 1925. When he died tragically and senselessly in 1966, I remember reading a letter to The Village Voice that my uncle wrote stating that Lenny Bruce “died from an overdose of society.” How Lenny was hounded throughout his career; but he never wavered from his commitment to the First Amendment. It cost him. Comedians like Carlin, Chappelle, Pryor, Mooney all dug Lenny. I read his book, “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People” at a young age since it came out in ’65 and I was 12, so probably at 13, and enjoyed it. I also remember another uncle having Lenny Bruce’s albums that I listened to. He was funny and he was on target. I also have memories of his mom, Sally Marr, who appeared, after Lenny’s death, on talk shows. She was a real character and you saw where Lenny got his “chutzpah” from. Sally was left to take care of Lenny’s daughter, Kitty Bruce, who maintains the Lenny Bruce site.
“Bruce shocked his audiences–intentionally so. But Bruce, according to Kenneth Tyson, wanted his audience to be shocked by the right things–greed, repression, hypocrisy–not by four-letter words and sexual references. Unfortunately for Bruce, it was the four-letter words that attracted the most attention. As one obscenity arrest followed another from 1962 to 1964, Bruce began a downward spiral leading to bankruptcy, drug addiction, and eventually his August 3, 1966 death from an overdose of morphine.”–Doug Linder