In the paper this morning in the Celebrity Flashback secion it said on this date Jack Parr made his debut as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show” in 1957; Lenny Bruce died of a drug overdose at age 40 in 1966; and Mama Cass Eliott was found dead in London in 1974.
Lenny Who? You might ask.
And someone might respond by saying, “Oh yeah, he is mentioned in the radio news part on Simon and Garfunkel’s recording ‘Wednesday Morning A.M.’”.
I am not sure I heard of Lenny Bruce until 1963 when I was stationed at NAS Lakehurst, N.J., when my new friend Dick introduced me to The Realist magazine, edited and published by Paul Krassner.
The Realist was the first magazine that I had ran into that used Freedom of the Press to a maximum. I really enjoyed reading The Realist for many more years until it dwindled itself out of existence.
In those early issues of The Realist Paul Krassner really had a lot to say about Lenny Bruce and how he was mistreated by the law, judges, priests, and just about everybody else of authority.
Lenny Bruce was a comedian. I think he was probably the first to be labeled a “a sick comedian”. He took up issues that everybody else were afraid to talk about – such as has unbalanced racial equality was, war, authority, the church, and etc. He poked fun of sacred cows. He didn’t hesitate to use four-letter words if the situation in his comedian bit called for it.
Some believed he opened the way for people expressing themselves so freely in all forms of art today… which, I suppose, some could argue that is bad. But who really knows?