The End Of Lenny Bruce

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Head on over to Bronx Banter and check out Dick Schaap's 1966 tribute to Lenny Bruce:

Lenny Bruce fell off a toilet seat with a needle in his arm and he crashed to a tiled floor and died. And the police came and harassed him in death as in life. Two at a time, they let photographers from newspapers and magazines and television stations step right up and take their pictures of Lenny Bruce lying dead on the tiled floor. It was a terrible thing for the cops to do. Lenny hated to pose for pictures.

The truth is what is, not what should be. What should be is a dirty lie.

Lenny was a very sick comedian when he died. He had grown to more than 200 pounds, with an enormous belly, fattened by candy bars and Cokes, and his mind was fat, too, with visions of writs and reversals and certificates of reasonable doubt. But he wasn’t a junkie. He wasn’t strung out. He just wanted, on August 3, 1966, a taste of stuff. It was his last supper.

You really believe in segregation? You’ll fight for it to the death? OK. Here’s your choice: You can marry a white, white woman or a black, black woman. The white, white woman is Kate Smith. And the black, black woman is Lena Horne. Now make your choice.

He was funny, frighteningly funny, with the kind of humor that could create instant laughter and instant thought, that could cut to the core of every hypocrisy. He was a wit and he was a philosopher.

C’mon, Lenny, said the television producer, be a man. Sell out.

At the end of Schaap's piece you'll find audio of some of Lenny's finest routines.