Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On This Day In Comedy History

I was just sitting down to post this week's review when I checked my Google calender and realized that on this day in comedy history something very important happened. Something so important that I have decided to delay my review this week until Thursday. Something so incredibly important to not only the history of comedy but some would argue our right to free speech.  Something so gigantic in size that I have strung you along this whole time in an attempt to build suspense. That something was... The birth of Lenny Bruce.

I can hear alot of you utter "Who?"

Lenny Bruce was a starting point in comedic history. He was one of the first comedians to challenge the social conventions of what a comedian was and did. Up until Lenny the majority of comedians simply got on stage and told jokes or very simple "observational humour"(although the term "observational humour" wouldn't be used with any kind of regularity until years later). Lenny changed everything in a lot of ways and opened the doors to some of the most important free speech trials North America has ever seen.

Tragically Lenny died of an overdose at the age of 41.

I honestly don't feel like I can do the man justice in such a short post so I'll conclude with a quote from Herb Caen, a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, who reviewed Lenny one night. I'll work on a full length bio for another day.

"They call Lenny Bruce a sick comic-and sick he is. Sick of the pretentious phoniness of a generation that makes his vicious humor meaningful. He is a rebel, but not without a cause, for there are shirts that need unstuffing, egos that need deflating and precious few people to do the job with talent and style. Sometimes you feel a twinge of guilt for laughing at one of Lenny's mordant jabs-but that disappears a second later when your inner voice tells you, with pleased suprise, "But that's true." The kind of truth that might not have dawned on you if there weren't a few Lenny Bruces around to hammer it home." Herb Caen

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