Warning: Spoilers for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4!
Lenny Bruce is sort of a comedy oracle on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but the tease of his downfall is starting to follow the real-life figure’s death. The Amazon Original, which is in its 4th season, introduced the real-life comedian as a friend and occasional mentor to Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) as she follows her own comedy dreams. Lenny Bruce is played by Luke Kirby on the show, which subtly chronicles the life and career of the troubled comedy legend in the background as the titular Mrs, Maisel navigates the highs and lows of an entertainment career. Created by Amy Sherman Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel inserts Midge into the real history of stand-up comedy, and in season 4, Midge gets closer to Bruce than ever.
In season 4, Midge’s friendship with Lenny Bruce changes after the two of them has sex for the first time. Bruce, on the series, has had an interest in Midge’s career as a comedian for years, often offering advice or encouragement whenever he makes an appearance. The romantic tension between Midge and Lenny has been brewing since the first season. However, after having sex in his hotel room, Midge discovers a bag containing drug paraphernalia that Bruce then brushes off.
Unfortunately, the drugs that Midge finds in his bathroom are based on reality. The real Lenny Bruce struggled with addiction during his life, just as he does on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. While the series does present a fictionalized version of him, Bruce’s troubles were well documented and ultimately led to his death. So, what does the series get right about Lenny Bruce’s life and drug addiction?
Lenny Bruce’s Drug Addiction On Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Explained
In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4, episode 6, Lenny wakes up in Midge’s apartment, presumably hungover and confused. Midge finds him passed out in the street the night before, and she brings him home to keep him safe. However, he seems out of it when he wakes up, more than would be typical for someone with just a hangover. When he finally recognizes Midge, he seems to be angry at her for rescuing him, but the anger is likely masking embarrassment that she saw him in such a state. That moment is the first clue that Lenny is using drugs. Episode 8 is when Midge discovers the drugs in Lenny’s bathroom. Until that moment, Midge assumed that Lenny sometimes had a problem with alcohol. While Lenny’s career is taking off, with a depiction of his real-life show at Carnegie Hall, the drug use is the first sign of his downfall.
How Lenny Bruce Died In Real Life
Lenny Bruce was known for his obscene but insightful comedy about race, politics, sex, and other controversial topics. Just like in the series, he was often arrested for his “blue comedy,” which broke obscenity laws in the various cities where he performed. Bruce’s frequent arrests for obscenity made it difficult for him to find clubs willing to book him, which meant that he struggled financially for years. After he was arrested for obscenity in New York City in 1964, Bruce felt his career was over, and his drug use increased. He died of a morphine overdose and was found naked in his Hollywood Hills home, with syringes and a burned bottle cap near his body.
When Lenny Bruce Dies & Will It Happen In Mrs. Maisel Season 5?
In real life, Lenny Bruce died in 1966 at the age of 40. He performed a final show on June 26, 1966, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco and was found dead a month later on August 3rd. While his drug use is already being used as a plot point in the series, his death is not likely to occur during season 5 unless there’s a time jump. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4 takes place in the fall of 1960 and spring of 1961, just as President Kennedy is taking office. So far, the series has stuck to fictionalizing real US history, and each season of the show takes place in a subsequent year. Lenny Bruce, for instance, did actually perform at Carnegie Hall in February of 1961. Because Bruce died in 1966, the show is not likely to kill him off earlier than that. Season 5 will most likely take place in 1962.
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