Review of Lenny Bruce play in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Bruce’s life was, of course, famously chronicled in “Lenny” by no less than Bob Fosse. But that was nearly half a century ago. Mention the words Lenny Bruce on the street today (I tried it) and you’ll either get no name recognition whatsoever or some vague sense that he was a counter-cultural comedian in sync with the late 1960s. But, in fact, Bruce was telling radical jokes about sex acts in the strip clubs of the San Fernando Valley in the early 1950s; he is best understood not in terms of the humor or the revolution but as a jazz musician who, for one reason or another, was uniquely able to throw off all the semiotic inhibitions of his generation and explode as a comedian in a kind of wild improvisational fury that lasted until he ended up in that bathroom, with the triumphant forces of moralism making sure the greedy, proto-Murdoch flashbulbs captured his inevitable end.

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