Lenny Bruce

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Lenny Bruce (13 October 1925 - 3 August 1966), born Leonard Alfred Schneider, was an American stand-up comic and political satirist.


  • Life is a four-letter word
    • Lenny Bruce[[1]]
  • In the Halls of Justice, the only justice is in the halls
    • Lenny Bruce[[2]]
  • If I get busted in New York, the freest city in the world, that will be the end of my career
    • Lenny Bruce [[3]]
  • A Jew, in the dictionary, is one who is descended from the ancient tribes of Judea, or one who is regarded as a descendant from that tribe. That's what it says in the dictionary, but you and I know what a Jew is: One Who Killed Our Lord... there should be a statute of limitations for that crime.
in Lenny Bruce Without Tears 1972 [4]
  • I want to perform an unnatural act.
in - Lenny as the Lone Ranger, in Thank You Mask Man' [5]
  • Are there any niggers here tonight? Could you turn on the house lights, please, and could the waiters and waitresses just stop serving, just for a second? And turn off this spot. Now what did he say? "Are there any niggers here tonight?" I know there's one nigger, because I see him back there working. Let's see, there's two niggers. And between those two niggers sits a kike. And there's another kike— that's two kikes and three niggers. And there's a spic. Right? Hmm? There's another spic. Ooh, there's a wop; there's a polack; and, oh, a couple of greaseballs. And there's three lace-curtain Irish micks. And there's one, hip, thick, hunky, funky, boogie. Boogie boogie. Mm-hmm. I got three kikes here, do I hear five kikes? I got five kikes, do I hear six spics, I got six spics, do I hear seven niggers? I got seven niggers. Sold American. I pass with seven niggers, six spics, five micks, four kikes, three guineas, and one wop. Well, I was just trying to make a point, and that is that it's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness. Dig: if President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, "I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet," and if he'd just say "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" to every nigger he saw, "boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie," "nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger" 'til nigger didn't mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school.
- From Julian Barry's screenplay for "Lenny"
can be seen/heard in Lenny Bruce: Swear to tell the truth 1998 [6]
  • Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government.
cited in FUCK [7]
  • The role of a comedian is to make the audience laugh, at a minimum of once every fifteen seconds.
referred to by Paul Krassner in Lenny Bruce: Swear to tell the truth 1998 [8]
  • I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce.
as quoted by Paul Krassner in Lenny Bruce: Swear to tell the truth 1998 [9]
  • You can't put tits and ass on the marquee!...Why not?...Because it's dirty and vulgar, that's why not!... Titties are dirty and vulgar?...Okay, we'll compromise. How about Latin? Gluteus maximus, pectoralis majors nightly...That's alright, that's clean, class with ass, I'll buy it...Clean to you, schmuck, but dirty to the Latins!
in The Carnegie Hall Concert 1961,
  • Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, what is. And what should be is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago.
as quoted by Paul Krassner in Lenny Bruce: Swear to tell the truth 1998 [10]


  • The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can't fake it...try to fake three laughs in an hour--ha ha ha ha ha--they'll take you away, man. You can't.
  • If you live in New York, even if you're Catholic, you're Jewish.
  • If you're going to stop masturbating, you can't "taper off." You've got to quit, cold jerky!
  • A lot of people say to me, "Why did you kill Christ?" I dunno... it was one of those parties that got out of hand, you know?
  • Since they condone capital punishment, I want them to stop bitching about Jesus getting nailed up.
  • If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.
  • Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
  • If white America told the truth for one day, its whole world would fall apart.
  • I didn't do it, man, I only said it.
- To police on the occasion of his arrest for saying "cocksucker" at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop, 1961
  • A knowledge of syphilis is not an instruction to get it.
  • "Sex" and "obscenity" are not synonymous.
  • If something about the human body disgusts you, the fault lies with the manufacturer.
  • It's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.
  • 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.
  • The liberals can understand everything but people who don't understand them.
  • I'm sorry if I wasn't very funny tonight. Sometimes I'm not. I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce.
  • The "what should be" never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no "what should be," there is only what is.
  • Communism is like one big phone company. If you get too rank with them, you'll wind up with a dixie cup and a thread.
  • There are never enough "I love you's."
  • I want the Supreme Court to stand up and tell me that fucking is dirty and no good.
  • I want to help you if you have a dirty word problem. There are none.
  • I don't want every break in the world. I just want justice.
  • If you can take the hot lead enema, then you can cast the first stone.
  • If there was absolute freedom, people would run over babies and charge admission.
  • We Jews killed Christ.And if he comes back,we'll kill him again.
  • If God created the Body,and the Body is dirty,then the fault lies with the Manufacturer

Quotes about Bruce

  • Lenny Bruce's legacy is freedom of speech and telling it as it is, getting your life and putting it out on the table, telling everyone about it.

Lenny Bruce in song

  • They said that he was sick 'cause he didn't play by the rules,he just showed the wise men of his day to be nothing more than fools
  • Just don't forget your history, dirty Lenny died so we could all be free
    • Steve Earle's F The CC song on his album 'The Revolution Starts Now'[[14]]
  • That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane - Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
    • R.E.M.'s song 'It's the End of the World (As We Know it)'
  • Mother Goose is on the loose, stealing lines from Lenny Bruce.
  • I want to be Lenny Bruce.
    • Sacramento rock band Aesthetic featured a song titled "Lenny Bruce" on their 2003 album "Innocence Beneath the Dirt."
  • Lenny Bruce, declares a truce and plays his other hand. Marshall McLuhan, casual viewin', head buried in the sand.
    • Broadway Melody of 1974, by Genesis, from "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
  • For Halloween, I want to be Lenny Bruce, I want them to hate me, so you can love me on the sly.
  • Ginsberg, Dylan, Cunningham and Cage

Lenny Bruce, Langston Hughes, to the stage

  • Lenny Bruce was trying to tell you many things before he died...
    • "Laws Must Change" song by John Mayall
    • Rent

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

For more references to Lenny Bruce in song http://members.aol.com/dcspohr/lenny/songs.htm