Lenny Bruce died in August of 1966, but you can still hear his voice online. Here are a few clips that show the range, depth, and volatility of a man Complex magazine calls the most controversial comedian of all time.
(Note: some clips contain profanity or other language that may not be appropriate for listening at work, around children, or near anyone with delicate sensibilities. But you already knew that, didn’t you?)
Lenny on the Steve Allen Show.
Bruce was introduced at this famous appearance as “the most shocking comedian of our time, a man who is skyrocketing to fame.” He began his routine with a wry smile and the line, “Will Elizabeth Taylor become bar mitzvah’d?”
“Jewish and Goyish.”
“The Marine Corps is goyish. The Air Force is Jewish…Kool Aid? Goyish. Instant potatoes? Scary goyish.”
Christ and Moses
Bruce imagines Jesus Christ and Moses dropping in on modern-day Manhattan.
The Difference Between Men and Women
“A lady can’t go through a plate-glass window and go to bed with you five seconds later. But guys can have head-on collisions with Greyhound buses…and on the way to the hospital, in the ambulance, the guy makes a play for the nurse”
L.B. on L.B.J.
Race. Class. Language. Politics. Judaism. Bruce covers it all in 100 seconds of material on the country’s 36th president.
“To is a Preposition, Come is a Verb”
One of Bruce’s signature routines. A bravura performance of wordplay and innuendo.
“Are There Any N****** Here Tonight?”
Some of Bruce’s routines feel dated. Others still crackle with raw energy. In fact, this bit might be riskier today than it was in the 1960s.
“The Meaning of Obscenity.”
Nobody parsed the meaning of “obscenity” better than Bruce. And nobody paid a higher price for alleged obscenity crimes.