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The Essential Lenny Bruce by Lenny Bruce
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The Essential Lenny Bruce

by Lenny Bruce

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I have a story which I think really shows the essential Lenny Bruce although it's not in this, or any other book.

I was editing one of [a:Jay Landesman|341564|Jay Landesman|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1336280345p2/341564.jpg]'s many manuscripts at the time and we were talking about his St Louis nightclub, the Crystal Palace and how Barbra Streisand got discovered. Jay told me that Barbra who was only 18, had been acting like a madwoman, coming in dressed up like a babushka with a scarf over her head and going from table to table giving the customers apples from her basket and on other nights, other stunts. And all the while begging for a chance to perform. On the last night she got herself into Lenny Bruce's changing room and there they were together and all of a sudden Lenny stabs her bottom with a full syringe of heroin. Barbra goes down screaming, in comes Jaye and off to the hospital go all three.

Lenny was an enthusiastic heroin addict, a sociable one, he didn't like to do it alone and was always trying to persuade people to try it, although perhaps with Barbra, the 'persuasion' was a little extreme.

The only way Jay could get Barbra to calm down and not go to the police was to give her a chance to perform, which she did, singing and performing brilliantly(she was a comedienne as much as a singer) and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jay's book. Did this story make it? No, the lawyers thought that Landesman wasn't rich enough to afford the fallout if Barbra didn't like it!

The Essential Lenny Bruce was a good, long read about an unusual and very iconoclastic man whose fame rested on his tight sardonic satire and his excellent timing. His humour apparently inspired infectious laughter even whilst his delivery was obscene and offensive. I've listened to him, he's brilliant, but I would really have loved to have seen him in person. Even all these years since I read the book, I remember how impressed with it I was and so... 5 stars. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
Read it because of the movie Pump Up the Volume, awful glad I did. ( )
  BethKalb | Jan 3, 2011 |
A treasure. If this book is out of print it deserves a re-printing. As most know Bruce was a brilliant commentator on the American scene. Within this small package of 300 some odd pages are transcripts of many of his classic routines. ( )
1 vote berthirsch | Jul 28, 2006 |
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