Iconoclast Lenny Bruce appears at San Francisco's Basin Street West in what was his next-to-last live appearance. His act that night consisted of reading allegations and transcripts from ... See full summary »
Iconoclast Lenny Bruce appears at San Francisco's Basin Street West in what was his next-to-last live appearance. His act that night consisted of reading allegations and transcripts from one of his several obscenity trials and then commenting on what he'd actually done or said. While there are some "bits" in the performance (including the prison riot with Dutch, the Warden, Father Flotski, and Sabu, the prison doctor), this is much more a social commentary on government intrusion and censorship than it is a comedy routine. Written by
Lenny Bruce was undoubtly the greatest comedian of all time. He was the first to speak about racism, drugs, sex, religion and other societal subjects on stage. He was part of that generation with Sahl, Kerouac and Ginsberg which had seen the horrors of the war and which according to Lenny, couldn't understand how Blacks were asked to die for their country while not being allowed to use the bathroom in some states. Lenny wondered how could politicians and religious figures fight against "sexual obscenity" while encouraging soldiers to relieve their war efforts in French Brothels. As is typical in Jewish Humor, Lenny Bruce comes up with more questions than answers and defies ignorance and servile attitude. The Performance Film was filmed in San Francisco and is one of the last live shows by Lenny, who died of an overdose a year later. Lenny appears sad and tired in the movie, due to the judiciary and police harassments. Yet, you'll be able to see some of his greatest bits, punctuated by a long farewell to one of his last stages.
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