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The Essential Lenny Bruce: his original unexpurgated satirical routines

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  236 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Excerpt from the back cover: "Transcribed from hundreds of hours of taped performances, this book brings into print--many of them for the first time--his greatest satirical routines in their original, unexpurgated form."
Religions Inc.
The Southern Sound
Performing & the Art of Comedy
Pills & Shit
Fantasies, Flicks & Sketches
Mass Market Paperback, 269 pages
Published 1975 by Panther Books Ltd. (first published January 1st 1967)
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Petra X
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 Jay Landesman'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
Thomas Armstrong
May 23, 2015 Thomas Armstrong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a real hoot - a game of a book. I often get more out of reading a play than watching it, and these priceless monologues give me the opportunity to really study what LB was trying to do, and didn't distract me from all the nonverbal stuff he would do in his stand-up act, and also all the hype surrounding his legend. You can really understand from reading these monologues that Bruce was a social critic of the highest calibre; that he served a function in society by pointing to what c ...more
Sam "The Record Man"
I don't think you can love the first amendment and not love Lenny Bruce.
Mar 09, 2015 Wilbur rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think you had to be there. The page doesn't come alive without Bruce's voice. Some of it seems so dated and yet the last few chapters,10 through 16, were excellent.
Erik Graff
Feb 11, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bruce fans
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff
Shelves: drama
Dad had this book on the living room shelves and I read it in high school. Later, in college, a friend, Steve Slatin, played a bunch of LPs he had of Lenny Bruce performances. Since then, not that long ago, I saw a video of several performances. Frankly, I think I was too young to appreciate his work as much a persons of my father's generation did. The concept of obscenity was virtually nonexistent during my upbringing--unless, of course, you extend it to such things as the military adventurism ...more
Dec 26, 2012 Cyberpope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This really gives you insight into the original comic who broke the barrier on using 4-letter words in public. He sacrificed at least 70% of his income, plus a fair degree of freedom to stand up for free speech/expression! When you read his routines, in context, you really wonder what all the fuss was about. & you learn how he accepted how there was religious bias at work with the police, prosecution, & judges. . . but he never discarded having respect for those with the difficult job of ...more
Alex Labant
Very period
Mar 31, 2008 Dirk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is all transcripts of live stuff. I think if someone had never heard Lenny Bruce do his stand-up this book would be confusing. Many of the impressions are written out phonetically which is a pain in the ass to read. Also a Yiddish dictionary might help. It just makes a lot more sense to actually be able hear all this. Besides all that this book is good.
Jun 08, 2010 Benito rated it really liked it
Great collection of Lenny's skits, shtick, rants and philosophisings transcribed and indexed by subject. Particularly useful if you're one of those who occasionally has issues deciphering the great comic's Long Island accent, not to mention those Yiddish phrases you that can drive a klutz verklempt as a meshugeneh kolboynik, dig?.
Jan 29, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedian-books
I decided to read more comedian books this year. This is a collection of a number of Bruce's bits. My high school debate coach had a copy of this in his office and I remember leafing through it a couple of times. I'll admit some of this was excruciatingly dated, but a number of it was funny and still rings true. Worthwhile reading.
Apr 22, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever heard an old L.B. recording, you'll know the guy was: 1) clearly on drugs and 2) not a very good stage comedian (he rambles foreeeeeever). This book edits all his brilliant ideas and monologues into a couple hundred pages and is the best way to really experience his humor.
May 31, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
The Essential Lenny Bruce by John Cohen (Douglas Books 1970)(nonfiction). The collected standup routines of Lenny Bruce without censure. He was the Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy of the fifties. My rating: 7/10, finished 1978.
This man's crazy. It's entertaining though, imagining how people must have reacted to him when he was saying all these insane things...
Chris Feldman
Aug 01, 2009 Chris Feldman rated it really liked it
Poor Lenny was crucified by J. Ogre Hoover for doing the kind of schtick that made Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy millionaires.
Jun 28, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
Far ahead of his time.
Michael X
Sep 14, 2008 Michael X rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious and genius.
Christina Wilder
All hail The King.
Jacob Lenz-Avila
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Apr 25, 2016
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Apr 12, 2016
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Lenny Bruce, born Leonard Alfred Schneider, was a controversial American stand-up comedian, writer, social critic and satirist of the 1950s and 1960s. His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial was also controversial, eventually leading to the first posthumous pardon in New York history.
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“Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it.” 42 likes
“…Catholicism is like Howard Johnson, and what they have are these franchises and they give all these people different franchises in the different countries but they have one government, and when you buy the Howard Johnson franchise you can apply it to the geography - whatever's cool for that area - and then you, you know, pay the bread to the main office.” 4 likes
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