Lenny Bruce the self-destruct funnyman with the whiplash tongue, the needle, the Jewish obsession with toilets, the Oedipal...

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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN -- LENNY BRUCE!!

Lenny Bruce the self-destruct funnyman with the whiplash tongue, the needle, the Jewish obsession with toilets, the Oedipal hang-up on Mama Sally, the compulsive exhibitionist parading bare-assed in the burlesque houses. Lenny Bruce the Con Man, sweet-talking the Doctor Feelgoods into prescribing all those uppers and downers, playing pimp for Honey, the stripper wife he adored, wheedling, wheedling from everyone: money, fame, dope, love. Lenny Bruce the sick, bloated fat man doing a number with death, ripping off Phil Specter and Allen Ginsburg, and cops and judges across the land, waving the Bill of Rights and croaking that his freedom of speech was being fucked with, fully believing by the end that pumped-up, self-serving hipster myth ""that everything he did was aimed at demolishing the old uptight, fullashit society."" Lenny Bruce the ""exacerbated conservative. . .seeking revenge for outraged moral idealism. . .a man with an almost infantile attachment to everything that was sacred to the American lower-middle class."" Lenny Bruce the poor, sad, meshugeneh Mama's boy. If he didn't exist Goldman and Schiller would have had to invent him. As a matter of fact, it's hard to be sure that Goldman and Schiller, the perfect hipper-than-thou biographers, didn't invent him. Because you see, everything, but everything Lenny does, thinks, feels, says, becomes in this frenzied book just one more routine, a bit, a gig. And when you come right clown to it Goldman and Schiller are trading on the tragic legend they're supposed to be cutting down to human size; they improve on crazy Lenny. So the real Lenny Bruce was badly cast as a figure of hipster piety? Let his biographers work their fast, glib magic and he'll measure up.

Pub Date: May 31, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1974