Lenny Bruce

Icons of the Century

Lenny Bruce’s iconic status was pretty much assured even before his premature death by heroin overdose in 1966, but lost in the reverence for “Saint Lenny” is the fact that he was damn funny.

He was funny in a way that postwar auds hadn’t seen before; Bruce was to comedy what the Beats were to literature. He riffed on pop culture, movies, race relations and had a lovely way with a phrase.

He questioned authority.

“The pool’s in, but the patio ain’t dry” was appropriated by the Stones, and his observation that he “was enthralled with the discovery of the jukebox: a machine that didn’t sew, drill, boil or kill; a machine solely for fun,” leads one to believe the original “dirty” comedian might have been the last clean one.

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