Lenny Bruce was legendary for his brilliant, satirical, obscenity-laced comedy. He was a champion of free speech, and he paid a heavy price for it. In 1962, Bruce was arrested in San Francisco for using an obscene word for a sex act in one of his stand-up routines. The judge in the case warned Bruce against using that same word in the show. So instead, in a performance that night, he used the phrase “blah blah blah.”
In 1964, Bruce was convicted on obscenity charges in New York. But before his appeal could be heard, Bruce died of a drug overdose. He was just 40 years old.
In 2014, Hugh Hefner’s foundation provided a grant that allowed Brandeis University to acquire Lenny Bruce’s archive. The collection was officially opened at the end of last week.
Christie Hefner, Hugh Hefner’s daughter, chair of the Hefner Foundation, and former CEO of Playboy Enterprises.