A play about the life of comedy icon Lenny Bruce is coming to the stage in New Jersey.
Bruce was a trailblazing and controversial comedian who battled authorities over free speech in the ’50s and ’60s. He was even arrested for things that he said in his act.
“People couldn’t believe he was talking about this. He wasn’t doing jokes or shtick,” says writer and actor Ronnie Marmo.
Marmo is the writer and star of “I’m Not a Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce,” a play in which he portrays the late comedian.
The play depicts Marmo, as Bruce, reflecting on his life. It includes some of Bruce’s actual freeform standup comedy, which inspired generations of comics who followed him.
“He’s still influencing people. They do what they do because of Lenny Bruce. So yeah, his life is very important,” says Marmo.
Marmo, who grew up in Woodbridge, will launch the play’s national tour at The Vogel in the Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank. It will launch on Oct. 8 and 9.
Marmo says that the show has an important message for the audience.
“First, I would like them to learn about Lenny, but also understand that our freedoms are precious – freedom of speech, because right now, we’re fighting that. It’s always an issue,” Marmo says.
Audience members may know the name Lenny Bruce from the Amazon Prime series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Marmo is currently in New Jersey filming a pilot for a TV series called, “Unsuited.”