It’s been 50 years since Lenny Bruce left his body. On Wednesday August 3, 1966, Ol’ Lenny got booked for Eternity.
Back in 1998, I saw Lenny Bruce: Swear To Tell The Truth. It was a documentary by Robert B. Weide. I would like to see it again, but it is hard to get.
If my memory is correct, this documentary shows how some powerful people made sure that Bruce was targeted because he stepped on their toes. Other comedians were just as obscene as Lenny Bruce, but they were left alone. He was targeted after he exposed a judge who had approached Bruce for a bribe. The judge offered to rule in Bruce’s favor over a drug case. (I think the police had planted the drugs, but I am not sure.) It was after exposing the judge that the police started showing up at Bruce’s shows and arresting him for obscenity.
Police departments would call other police departments in the cities Bruce was playing in to make sure he was arrested during his show. Police also intimidated club owners not to book Bruce.
Soon Lenny Bruce could not work which contributed to his increased drug use. He died of a drug overdose.
On December 23, 2003, New York Governor George Pataki posthumously pardoned Bruce for his obscenity conviction. Unfortunately no one knew how to get hold of Lenny Bruce to tell him that he could start working again.