Lenny (1974) Script

Oh, I would say, uh...

He was busted nine or 10 times, twice for possession of narcotics and three, four times for obscenity.


Ladies and gentlemen, Lenny Bruce.


Did you know Eleanor Roosevelt gave Lou Gehrig the clap?


What did he say? Jesus Christ, that's cruel!

Going that low for laughs. What's the point? That's bad taste.

The point...

The point is the suppression of words.

Now, dig.

Here it is 1964, and every doctor I know tells me that a certain disease is on its way to becoming an epidemic again when everybody knows, or they should know, that one shot in the ass knocks it out. Right?

And yet, there it is. VD, right up there with the top 10.

Why? Because nobody talks about it. Nobody even wants to say the word.

In fact, the community chest hits on you.

Do you say, "Excuse me but how much of my dollar is going for the clap?" (LAUGHS)

I don't think you do, man.

What we have to do is, we must start talking about it.

We need to get some of our national heroes to admit that they've had it. All right.

Eleanor Roosevelt gave Lou Gehrig the clap.

She also gave it to Chiang Kai-Shek.

And he gave it to J. Edgar Hoover, man, which is how it really spread.

All right. A boy gets the clap. Can't go to his father?

Forget it man, he can't relate to his father.

He's likely to go to some schmuck who sweeps up the drugstore.

Not even a druggist.

"Hey man, hey man, come here I got to talk to you." "What's the matter?"

"Listen, I got the clap." "Oh Jesus. Where'd you get that?"

"Painting a car, schmuck! What's the difference? I got it"

"What do you want from me?" "You work here. Give me some pills."

"All right."

"Dexedrine spansules. Is this good?"

"It's all the same horseshit. Keeps you awake so you know you got it."

"I want these pills because I got a good job.

"I don't want to get laid off."

"Where you working?" "The meat packing plant."

Here's what we need.

Jerry Lewis goes on television, and instead of getting hung up with muscular dystrophy, he'd have a clapathon!

Forget it. It'll never happen.

Why? Because talking about it makes you the worst person in the community.

INTERVIEWER: When did you meet Lenny?

It was back in 1951, Baltimore.

I was, uh, headlining...

Headlining? I was working at this club.

A-one, two... A-one, two, three, four!


Now, when the saints Go marchin' in, yeah!

Now, when the saints go marchin' in


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Here's the moment you've been waiting for.

So may we present...

Hot Honey Harlow!

Let's hear it, everybody!




Look at that hair.

Who's the guy by the window?

Lenny Bruce. He's a comic.

What kind of comic?


I think I know her.

Fake hair.


He's cute.

Cute? He does crap...

Old jokes. Lousy impressions.

I really had problems when I was a kid, you know.

It wasn't until I was eight years old that I figured out my name wasn't Shut Up.


All right, how about some bird impressions?

Uh, bobwhite.


Bobwhite backwards.


A duck.

A swallow. (GULPS)

A goose.


Ever feel like you're in an amateur contest and you're losing?

Let's get back to the sure-fire stuff.

Let's go to the show business hall of fame where the emcee is my good friend the old schnozola himself.


It's granite out there.

(AS JIMMY DURANTE) I went into the shoe store.

I said, "Do you sell alligator shoes?"

And the clerk said, "What size does your alligator wear?"

You're really something, Durante.

I'd like to introduce my favorite singer, Vaughan Monroe.



Racing With The Moon...

INTERVIEWER: If his act was lousy, then something must have attracted you.

What was there about him?

Well, he was just, um...

I don't know.




Thank you.

My mother's a comic.

I got out of service, changed my name.

What's your real name?

Uh... Leonard Alfred Schneider.

Well, why did you change it?

Too Jewish. (LAUGHS)

I like the name Bruce.

Bruce sounds like the captain of the football team.

That's why I changed it, but the first Bruce I met tried to kiss me.

418, please.

What hotel are you at?


621, please.

Here? You're kidding?





Aren't you going to answer it?


How do you people really feel about doing it?

Isn't that about the dirtiest thing we could do to each other?

I mean, it's really not nice, doing it.

The worst insult is, "Fuck you, mister."

If I wanted to hurt you, I should say, "Un-fuck you, mister."

Because "fuck you" Is really nice, man.

Hello, Ma! It's me!

I just got back.

Aw, fuck you, Ma!

Sure, I mean it.

Is Pop there?

Aw, Pop, my Pop...

Fuck you, too, Pop.


I can't believe it.

I just cannot believe it.

That I'm eating?

Yeah, that you're eating.

No, that you're here and I'm with you.

I can't believe it.

Do you know the first time I saw you in the cafeteria, I wanted to go up and say, "I'm Lenny Bruce. I got the hots for you."

Why didn't I do that?

Why didn't you do that?

It would've saved time.

It would've saved time.

I know why.



I've always been shy.

Even as a kid?

Even as a kid.

I've tried to get over it, but I've always been very shy.

When you get right down to it, I'm just...


A very shy...


Ho ho.

Don't you have to go to work?

Yes, but I should stay here and try to solve this problem of extreme shyness.

Maybe I shouldn't be telling you some of this, but, uh...

It was quite a week.


Listen, someday I'd like you to meet my mother.


INTERVIEWER: You stayed together then?

No. I went to Miami to work, but Lenny called every day.

One day, he said he was coming down.

He couldn't stand being without me.

We're all the same schmuck...

And it cracks me up that we try to be unique when we're all the same cat.

Every cat's got that one chick who really busted up his ass.


Oh, he's here!

Just a minute.


There he stands in his underwear, pleading like a dummy.

"Please, will you touch it once?

"You never touch it."

"Even when I don't feel like touching it?" "Yeah."

"Even when I don't get any pleasure from it?"

"Yeah, I need it touched.

"If I wait for you, you'd never touch it."

"Oh, come on, I touch it a lot.

"No, you don't. You used to touch it a lot.

"Now it's a big favor to get you to touch it.

"It's got to be a holiday, like Armistice Day."

"Well, all right.

"If you're gonna make me feel guilty, "bring it over here. I'll touch it."

"Don't do me any favors.

"I'll just touch it myself."

That's it, man.

We're all the same schmuck.

Oh, my God!

Oh, man!

Is that an album cover!

Why don't you come in, big boy, and pick some flowers?

Oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah.

It's a Shiksa goddess.

That's when I came into the picture.

In what capacity? What was your relationship?

Personal manager. Friend.

You know, the relationship between a client and an agent is a very delicate one, very delicate.

You don't know how far to get involved in their personal lives.

Lenny, you name it, she's done it.

The whole bit.

At 15, she'd already done time.

You can just imagine.

I'd like to be more than just your agent.

I care about you.

Otherwise, I wouldn't say these things.

Artie, did you hire a private eye?

I didn't have to.

I heard you two were hanging around a lot together.

It's none of my business, but I asked around about her.

I started hearing these things.

One guy said he went to a party with her, and she, uh...

Do I have to spell it out?

Did my mother have anything to do with this?

Sally? No.

Lenny, I'm not making this stuff up.

This isn't pleasant.

If you don't believe me, check it out yourself.

I don't have to.

She already told me herself.

But, uh... Thanks.

I got involved in a lot of things I wish I didn't, very painful things in his personal life.

INTERVIEWER: It seems you really cared for him.

Yeah. I really loved that guy.



Let's get married.


I was a June bride.

I remember I was wearing a bengaline suit, had on high heels...

The judge was Judge Liddy.

You remember everything?

Yeah. A lot of it.

They've been sitting there for 15 minutes!

Why doesn't she let him come up?

Give her a chance. She's probably lovely.

I knew about her.

I figured, if that's who he loves, that's fine with me.

What can they be talking about?

About us, dummy!

Jesus! There goes the hair!

Mother's on all the time.

She probably won't know you're there.

Then I'll stay here.

You gotta meet Aunt Mema.

She'll do her feh.

"Feh," what's that?

Her impression of a Jewish seagull.

Feh! Feh! Let's go, man.


Do me a favor?

Please don't call me man.

I really wanted her to like me.

In-laws, you know.

I gotta tell you about the first time this schmuck ever worked a club.

Never been on stage...

I'm working the Victory Club.

Oooh, what a joint!

The customers were so tough, they wore wool suits in the summer with no underwear. With no underwear.

You know it, but I'm telling it!

The emcee had car trouble...

The police found marijuana in the trunk.

You haven't heard that before.

How long did you know Leonard before you got married?

You're on your own.

Mema, I'm on, okay?

I'm in the bar. In walks Lenny.

I had on the shirt with the Billy Eckstein collar.

I says, "The emcee didn't show.

"I'll introduce you.

"You introduce the acts."

He says, "Are you kidding?"

I says, "There's nothing to it.

"Don't be funny. Just straight intros.

"How's about a hand for Schmutz and Drek?"

Drek is Yiddish for shit.

(SLAP) Ouch!

Finally, he says okay.

Seconds later, I'm wretching over the shoes.

Leonard! Feh! Blah! There it is.

The star is on!

I'm up there with the microphone, and I'm saying to everybody, "The emcee couldn't make it tonight, "but luckily, a good friend

"and a funny guy..."

Bullshit! You said... Ouch...

"The world's funniest guy."

You're right! Right!

"Leonard Alfred Schneider, "in town for the Sullivan show, "happens to be here."

You see what she did to me?

I have never been on stage in my life and now I gotta try to be funny.

You were so nervous, you tripped over the mic cord and knocked us flat on our asses!

It's true.

It's true.

You never heard such a laugh.

How long did you know each other before you got married?

We must know the answer!

How long had we known each other?

About half an hour. I picked him up on the T train after he exposed his putz.



I love it! Putz! Terrific!

It's true, Mema.

I gave her one of these.


Want to hear a loud feh? I went...


That's a loud feh.

Can I show Sophie?

Sophie's her best friend.

Sophie, Mema doesn't like how I met my wife!

Mema, you kissed it when I was little.

Oh, Lenny, she's a terrific girl!

Your hipness is tested when your girlfriend becomes your wife.

Wow! That's a new one. Why?

You're walking around up there with your jugs and your pupick sticking out and guys are watching you with newspapers and hats in their laps.

You're jealous!

Oh, I like that.

So I thought maybe we could work something out that we could do together.

What, a double act?


You talk to the average guy.

"Hey, look. Isn't that a pretty chick?"

"Oh, yeah. She's beautiful.

"She's got a real pretty face and...

"Nutty jugs."

"Would you marry a woman like that?"

"Oh, yeah!"

"You'd let her dress that way?"

"No! I'd knock her right on her ass!"

"Why'd you dig her?"

"Her jugs were sticking out."

"But she shouldn't dress that way now?"

"No! That's my wife!"


I'll have to cancel some of my, uh...

Forget it.


Oh, okay, Daddy. A double act.


That's where the conflict starts.

We all want for a wife a combination Sunday school teacher and $500-a-night hooker.

He started working with me to be a singer.

He played like Flo Ziegfeld or somebody.

We were together 24 hours a day.

We started working around. Club dates, Catskills...

And, um...

It wasn't a bad act.

Really. Not a bad act.

Coming from a star like you, Mr. Hart, that means a lot to us.

That's a very pretty little lady you got there.

Very pretty.


Maybe I'll use you sometime.


'Course, I love you, Lenny.

You younger guys make this business a pleasure for me.

Who wants to be a king with no princes?

I discussed that on Barry Gray's show.

Did you catch it?

She never misses it.

Right? Right.

Anyway, you're so talented.

Don't get off on the wrong foot.

Work clean. Don't resort to using dirt.

There's a big beef about your show.

I stopped Goldstein from filing a bad report on you.

I appreciate that, Sherman.

It was just a mistake.

I was bored doing the same old jokes.

I took off my jacket.

I said, "Now for my jacket off bit."

The mic picked it up.

The band cracked up.

I looked off at Honey...

And I cracked up.

Then I cracked up.

I know it looked the worst.

That's very stupid.

A comic has to use his head.

Up there, you gotta be thinking every second.

Thank you. Thank you.

One of the all-time greats of show business is here.

He got started in this hotel.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Entertainment himself, Sherman Hart, ladies and gentlemen!

Sherman Hart!



You're wonderful!

Oh, you're heaven!

Beautiful audience.

Lenny, I love what you're doing up there.

You'll love it, too, when you see it on my comedy hour, Wednesday night, CBS,

at 9:00 Eastern, 7:00 Rocky Mountain, and 4:00 a.m. in Tokyo.

Tokyo! Eeeyaaah! Eeeyaaah!

Oh, you're beautiful! Thank you. Thank you.

Lenny, do me a favor.

Talk a little slower.

I can't write that fast.

Sherman Hart, ladies and gentlemen!

Oh, you're wonderful!

You're super! Thank you!

Go get 'em, kid.

You know, folks, just to digress for a second.

I'm new at this business, and I've got a lot to learn.

But thanks to Sherman, I realize I made a mistake here the other night.

If I offended any of you, I'd really like to apologize.

So, by way of making it up to you,

I think I'm gonna piss on you.



I want to get out of here.

Why would you do such a terrible thing?

Especially on the high holiday weekend!

Everybody will be warned.

You won't work another room!

You're finished in show business!

(LAUGHING) Oh, no! No!

Not that! Not that!


Okay, you'll see!

Things will be rough with your dirty mouth and your no-talent wife!

Come here, Jack.

There isn't one Puerto Rican in your kitchen that hasn't shtupped your wife.

Thanks for everything.

Are you all right?

Okay, what is dirty?

And what is clean?

I would rather my kid watches a stag movie than a clean movie like King of Kings.

King of Kings is full of killing.

I don't want my kid to kill Christ when he comes back.

That's what happens in King of Kings.

Show me a stag movie where anybody gets punched or killed.

You might see someone tied up, or tapped lightly with a belt, but for the most part, it's a lot of hugging and kissing, moaning and groaning.

Oh, God, and then that potential instrument of death is revealed, the pillow.


The guy might smother the chick like in horror flicks.

He gently slides that pillow under the girl's ass, and they go off.

Nobody gets hurt or killed, and it's nice.

And that's the end.


Somebody help!

Please, somebody help!

I had cuts all over my arms, my legs.

I had a big gash across here.

My bladder was punctured.

I was in shock for three weeks.

It was very dramatic.

Cold coffee, Mr. Bruce?

Thank you.


Yes. Okay, I will.

Mr. Bruce, you can go in now.

What's that?


Some people have all the fun.

I love you.

Mr. Bruce.

Don't leave your coat.

Oh, thanks.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Oh, shit.

Face it. Guys are different. Ladies don't understand this.

Ladies think cheating means hugging and kissing and liking somebody.

You have to at least like somebody.

Guys are detached. They're different.

You put a guy on a desert island, he'll do it to mud, a chicken, anything.

So, if you know this about guys, would you really feel hurt to find your husband with a chicken?

"A chicken in our bed!

"Don't touch me!

"You want dinner? Tell your chicken to get it."

In New York, it's illegal.

"Seeming sexual intercourse with an animal, "to wit, a chicken." That's the literal.

So how can you even fantasize it?

They're too short.

"How come you're alone tonight?

"Your chicken leave town?"

"Stop with that chicken. I was drunk.

"Anyway, I was thinking of you."


Do I have to use this? I can walk.

The rules, Mrs. Bruce.

Don't wanna break the rules.

Here we go.

Take it easy. Easy, easy.

You okay?

Goodbye, Mrs. Bruce, Mr. Bruce.

It's been nice meeting you.

Thanks for everything.


You made it with her, didn't you?

Deny it. Flat out deny it.

If you love your wife, deny it.

If they got pictures, deny it.

It bugged me at first.

It hurt.

If they walk in on you, deny it.

Just say this strange chick came in and said, "I have malaria. Lie on top of me or I'll die."

Later I found out why he did it.

Chances are, man, they'll believe it.

Do you know why?

He needed to prove himself.

They want to believe it.

INTERVIEWER: Insecurity, probably.


INTERVIEWER: When you left the hospital, you had a nice surprise, right?


Feel okay?

Oh, a little weak.

Don't look until I tell you.



A big black Cadillac.

It's ours.

Was it the insurance money?


Two more accidents like this and we're set for life.

It's... It's the most! I love it.

You should have seen the salesman.

He said, "This is the same kind of car

"Ike and Dick drive.

"Take it from Fat Boy.

"It's only been used in a suicide pact.

"There's just a little lipstick

"around the exhaust pipe."

Where we going, Fat Boy?

First, Fat Boy's taking you to the motel.

Where he'll give it to you the same way he gives it to the public.

And in the same location.


I promise. Honk honk.

Then where are we going?

Then fat boy's taking you to the great big used car lot in the sky.

You know where that is?



Come on, Fat Boy.

I love you, Fat Boy.

We're off to California. New life.

We're working our way across the country, playing these really dinky clubs.

We usually bombed, but it was kind of fun, you know.

That's where it all started.

We were working this club in Detroit, clowning around in the dressing room, and this drummer says, "You cats want to try something groovy?"

And we said, "Sure."

He hands us these little straws.

We started sniffing this stuff up our noses, you know.

Was it cocaine?

No. It was heroin. Stuff.

How did that make you feel?

I sort of went bananas, crying, jumping up and down, stamping all around.

Lenny started laughing.

It was kind of fun, you know.




Before we're done with this town, your jugs will be in cement at Grauman's Chinese.

We bought pots and pans and dishes and started setting up housekeeping.

It was terrific for a while, and then...

Want to see a picture I took of Lenny?

And then what?

Well, the double act wasn't getting anywhere.

We'd gone through our savings.

So I went back to work stripping.

Lenny took whatever jobs he could.

We got in with this crowd, you know, show people, musicians, stuff like that.

And they were all messing around, fixing, stuff like that.

You do things on dope you normally wouldn't do.

LENNY: Why not?

HONEY: I just don't want to, that's all.

LENNY: It'll be nice.

Why do you keep pushing this, Lenny?

I don't know.

A little excitement.

It'd be good for us.

I don't think we can handle it.

Honey, that's very unhip.

Maybe I'm not hip.

Do you love me?


Well, don't you know that I love you?



Now, dykes.

I like dykes.

How could you say that?

Lenny, Jesus Christ!

You were the one that talked me into these freak scenes.

I didn't do too much talking.

Oh, God. I knew it.

I told you what would happen.

You didn't tell me you'd love it so much.

Will Rogers said, "I never met a dyke I didn't like."

HONEY: You're crazy!

I made it with that nurse.

I know.

She was terrific.

I made it with other chicks, too.

I don't want to play this game!

Tell me about the Chinese chick.

You didn't know I knew that, did you?

I love you.

Why don't you tell me to stop?

Why don't you tell yourself?

Tell me.

Why? You obviously dig it.

So, you know... That's cool.

You son of a bitch!

Why do you always have to be so fucking hip!

Comics will do endless fag jokes, but never dyke jokes, because dykes will punch the shit out of you.

It's really hard to spot dykes.

You know why?

Sometimes we're married to them.

I love you.

INTERVIEWER: You were together and apart several times during that period.

What did you really want from the man?

I always wanted a baby.

I thought it would help us, to bring us together.

We both cleaned up for a while, and on November 7, 1955, Kitty was born.

We were like a real family.

Then I had to go back to work and travel a lot.

Lenny started emceeing these strip joints, real dives.

We didn't get to see much of each other, and... I don't know.

Sometimes things...

Just don't work out.

You really never understand why.

Want to see a baby picture of Kitty?

No, dummy, in your mouth.

What time is it? 9:30.


Mommy will be here soon.

Just couldn't get a cab.


Called three places, and they said they'd send one, but Nada City.

I finally got one.


Kitty, Mama's sorry she's late.

She knows Daddy's mad.

Mr. Bruce. Mr. Bruce.

You order ready.

How much?


Your missus, she's the cutest girl.

Say hello to her.

She a wonderful wife.

We're divorced.

You better off.

It's hard when you break up with your old lady.

At first you think, "I'll really swing now," but the chicks you meet are also divorced.

They all have that kid, like a prop from central casting.

Or they have that French poodle that's allowed in the bedroom all the time.

He's on the bed when you're trying to do it.

"Why is this dog here?"

"He just wants to watch."

"Wants to watch? I'm not an exhibitionist.

"Get out of here, you pervert."

The sick red eyes, man.

Tap dancing on the linoleum floor.

That pink thing sticking out?

It's like a lipstick, right?

If you've been married for five years and it goes into the shithouse, you'll throw up a lot.

And when it's over, about the only satisfaction you can have is to get even with her.

Get that kid. "I got the kid."

He stole her from me.

We were in Hawaii.

I'd gotten busted for pot.

I was waiting trial. He knew I couldn't leave, and he just took her.

I'm sorry. The tape ran out.

Just give me a second and maybe repeat that for me, please.

No, forget it. I know why.

He took her because he knew I couldn't take care of her.

Because of drugs?

But custody doesn't mean "get even."

What custody really means is I raise.

I get up in the morning.

I schlep the kid.

I clean.

I love.

It's hot.

Custody's a lot of dos.

Good, right?

You better off with me, man.


It's probably for you.

I'll tell them you're eating and to call back later.

Here, have yourself an orgy.


OPERATOR: I have a collect call for Mr. Lenny Bruce from Honey Bruce in Honolulu.

This is him.

Will you accept the charges?




What's shaking? What do you want?

I think you called me.


Oh, right.


What are you doing?

Nothing. It's my night off.




I've got some really good news.

I met this agent who said maybe he could get me some dates working conventions.

Yeah, I know. You told me.

I did?

But he says it's almost definite.

He said he'd call on Tuesday.


Yeah, that's good. That's good news.

Well, I got some really good news.


My lawyer says I might not have to go to jail.


He says we can appeal.

How much this time?

Two hundred?


I'll send what I can.

I'll pay you back this time.

He said he'd call on...


I miss you, Daddy.

How's Kitty?


You change her a lot?

You got to change her or she gets those rashes.

I got to hang up now.


Yeah, I'm still here.

Do you still love me?

Sure, but I can't make these phone bills.

I still love you. When I'm straight...

I got to hang up.

Listen. I'll send what I can.



Take care of yourself.

LENNY: We live in a happy-ending culture, a what-should-be culture instead of a what-is culture.

But if we were taught this is what is, I think we'd be less screwed up.

I'll show you people some really dirty pictures.

These are some pictures of the Kennedy assassination.


I say these are dirty pictures because the captions are bullshit.

"Never for an instant did she think of flight."

Now, that's bullshit. That's my conclusion.

Time magazine's conclusion is that she was trying to help the secret service men aboard.

And we buy it.

But I think she did the normal thing.

When the president and the governor got it, she tried to get the hell out of there!

But they want us to believe this bullshit!

They want our daughters, if their husbands get shot and they haul ass, do the normal thing, to feel guilty and shitty because they're not like that good fantasy woman.

It's a dirty lie to say if you're good, you stay, and if you're bad, you run.

Fuck it! She didn't stay!

People don't stay.

No, people don't stay.

If a Protestant woman's son got divorced and she moved to help raise his child, would you call her a Protestant mother?

INTERVIEWER: You moved to California?

What else? I'm a Jewish mother.

Lenny went to work at Duffy's bar.

Yeah. Duffy's was a strip joint near here.

Let's hear it for Miss Cindy, tits and ass!

Come on, degenerates. Give her a hand.

Lenny did shtick between strippers.


No shtick, darling. Shtick.

You know how many asses have been on this chair?

There's been a lot of asses.

There's no way of telling how many, but lions and tigers know.

When Frank Buck goes, "Ha! Ha!"

They go, "Waah! Waah!"

I'm glad you're here tonight.

I think you've had enough of this humor.

Let's welcome a great favorite here, Miss Baby Babylon and her traveling rash.

My answer is no!

Come on, Lenny.

I can say anything here.

Nobody's listening.

I could get you $750 a week.


Get out!

Why would they pay you 750?

To say anything he thinks.

They really dig you.

They think you'll become an "in" thing.

An "in" thing?

I don't have to do mother-in-law jokes?


No tuxedos?

Go on bare-assed if you want.


Please! I need the money!

My final answer is no!

Lenny's right.

He's better off staying in this toilet for 90 bucks a week.

She's right. Call them.


I need the money!

No. You had your chance.

I want to be a star!

All right. I'll call them.


Here, sweetheart.

I used to work in a post office.

Let's hear it for Baby Babylon and her bobbling boobies!

Let's give a nice big welcome to Miss Wanda and her bird.

Oh, no! That was last week.

You'll love this next lady, whoever she is.

She'll thrill you down to your thriller.

Whatever her name is, a big hand. Let's hear it.

I bid you all farewell.

I'm leaving this toilet to become a star.

Therefore, pursuant to the power vested in me by the territory of Hawaii, I hereby sentence you to be confined to the women's correctional institution, Terminal Island, California, for a period of not less than 24 months.

He stopped doing that crappy imitation stuff, and he started to improvise.

All right.

Who else can we talk about?



All right.

Students, stop bugging him about the bomb.

He doesn't even know where it is.

Actually, it's not a bomb.

It's a button.

It's on the fly of a Cub Scout somewhere.

The whole world will go up because of one faggot Scoutmaster.

I really dig what they do with homosexuals in this country.

They put them in prison with a lot of other men.

That's really good punishment.

Are there any niggers here tonight?

Turn on the lights, please, and could the waitresses stop serving for a second?

And turn off the spot.

What did he say?

Are there any niggers here tonight?

I see one back there working.

Let's see. There's two niggers.

Between those two niggers sits a kike.

There's another kike.

That's two kikes and three niggers.

And there's a spic, right?


There's another spic.

Ooh, there's a wop. There's a polack and a couple of greaseballs.

There's three Irish micks, and there's one hip dick punky funky boogie.

Boogie boogie.


Do I hear five kikes?

I got five kikes.

I got six spics.

I got seven niggers.

Sold American!

I'll pass with seven niggers, six spics, and five micks.

You almost punched me, right?

I was trying to make a point.

It's the suppression of the word that gives it the violence, the viciousness.

If president Kennedy would just say, "I'd like you to meet all the niggers in my cabinet," and if he'd just say, "nigger, nigger" to every nigger he saw, "boogie, boogie, boogie, nigger, nigger" till nigger didn't mean anything anymore, then a six-year-old black kid wouldn't cry because somebody called him a nigger.

I am of Semitic background.

I'm Jewish.

A Jew, dictionary style, is one descended from an ancient tribe of Judea or one regarded to have descended from that tribe.

But we know what a Jew really is.

One who killed our Lord.

I don't know if that got press coverage here on the west coast, because that happened thousands of years ago.

There should be a statute of limitations, but we're still paying the dues.

Why do you keep busting our balls?

"Why, Jew? Because you blame it on Roman soldiers."

I'll clear the air and confess.

My family did it.

We found a note in the basement that said, "We killed him. Signed, Morty."

It's a good thing that we nailed him when we did.

If we had done it within the last 50 years, we'd have faced generations of parochial school kids wearing little electric chairs around their necks.

1,000 a week?

MAN: That's right.

No, no, no.

We want 1,300.


1,500 a week, minimum, guaranteed against the percentage.

Percentage? What percentage?

What percentage?


Uh, 20%?

He's a fad like hula hoops.

I'm a fucking fad? Thirty.

Uh, look...

Did I say 20%?

I meant 30%.


I never paid an actor 30%.

Well, you know Lenny.

He's, uh... Crazy.

Are you trying to screw me?

How crazy is he?

Pay me or I don't show up.

You pay Lenny what he wants.


I'll call you back.

Ha! Ha!

That's bullshit. I'm just a comic.

For a nightclub comic, you have a great deal of social impact.


Come on.

People say you feel an obligation to speak on subjects that would not normally...

I'm just trying to make a buck.

Oh, that's nice.

You want some yogurt?

No, thank you.

It's healthy.

That's good.

I really dig being up there.

You just stand up and everybody listens to you.

Your mother, your father.

They finally listen to you.

They don't chase you out.


This is Artie Silver, my manager.

This is, uh...

I forgot your name.

John Santi.

Mr. Santi writes for Time magazine.


Very good.

Usually I don't like doing interviews, but... I find you very interesting.

"Sick comic, Lenny Bruce, "whose jokes about the President..."

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

You know what's sick?

Zsa Zsa Gabor will get $60,000 a week in Las Vegas, Nevada, and schoolteachers' salaries in that state, top salary, is $6,000 a year.

That's the kind of sick I wish they would have written about.

Or the fact that married guys have to jack off more than anybody else.

It's true.

All over the country, thousands of guys lie on bathroom floors whacking it off to Miss December because the wife won't touch it anymore.

You can't stop masturbating gradually.

You got to do it cold jerky.

I wonder what Time is gonna say about that.

How about some more sick material?


I have some guilt that I don't do enough for integration.

I try to do my bit, but it doesn't seem to be enough.

They asked me to make the marches.

It's always the same crap, Ray Charles bumping into Stevie Wonder all day.

I mean, it's the worst!

No, you don't have to applaud.

Really. It's really weird.

It's enough that you're listening.

I used to get fired for this.

Now I'm getting a following.


Oh, come on!

Oh, it's embarrassing!

Stop it!

Come on!

I'm walking off if you don't stop right now.

I don't want applause. No more love.

Why aren't you standing?

You know, I've been thinking.

I mean, I am totally corrupt.

I mean, really.

My whole act, my whole economic success, is based on the existence of segregation, violence, despair, disease, and injustice.

If by some miracle, the whole world were suddenly tranquil, I'd be standing on an unemployment line somewhere.

If I were a moralist, I'd donate my salary to those schoolteachers.

I'm a hustler. They give, I'll grab.

INTERVIEWER: While that was happening to him, you were in prison.

Did he visit you?

HONEY: Whenever he could.

We wrote each other.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of letters?

Oh, here. I kept some of them.

Shit. Well, they're here somewhere.

Anyway, they were about, um...

How sorry we both were.

I don't know.

I never thought of us as being divorced.

Oh, wow.

I got some terrific pictures of Kitty.

Are you ready?


You'll be surprised.


Come on.

She's getting so big, huh?

Kitty on pony.

Oh, that's cute.

Kitty with stuffed lion and friends.

Who's the chick?

Uh, a friend of Artie's.

You believe that?


But thanks for trying.

Hey, listen!

I got cited for meritorious behavior.

I could get 67 days knocked off my time.

Can I see the album again?


Must be wonderful to be a...


I want to talk about something.

Did you read about the two schoolteachers who were busted for homosexuality?

This is an editorial from this morning's newspaper, and I'm quoting directly from it.

"And let us make certain

"that these sexual deviates

"are never allowed inside a classroom again."

That's wrong.

They were busted for doing something

15 miles away from the school.

What came out at the trial is that they're damn good teachers.

You know how long it takes to make a good teacher?

There wasn't one incident where a kid said, "Today in school we had Geography

"and then Cocksucking."

Hey, Lenny!

Man, what is that?

That's what happened the first time.

Lenny said a dirty word. They schlepped him away.

Why did you say that word in public?

What word is that? I said a lot of words.

You know what word. Saying that's against the law.

I didn't do it.

I just said it.

You ever said it in front of my wife or kid, I'd punch you right out.

I don't want to get emotionally involved.

Empty your pockets.


At first I think he enjoyed it.

He got lots of publicity.

Maybe he enjoyed it.

Enjoyed it? Hell, no.

He was obsessed with it.

Toward the end, he wouldn't do any bits or jokes.

He just wanted to read the transcripts of his trials.

My first trial was in front of a judge.

He looked like a movie judge, like Andy Hardy's father.

I said, "That's cool.

"He'll be kindly."

Your Honor...

Even if minors were present, I don't think I said anything that would have done them harm.

JUDGE: I think you better let your attorney try this case.

Well, as far as I'm concerned, I'm ready to find you guilty right now.

However, I will grant a continuance as you have requested.

Thank you, sir.

Now, it's my understanding, that he has a performance on, uh...


Saturday. Yes, sir.

I want to caution you now, young man.

If you repeat any of these words, you'll take the consequences.

Is that clear?

If I repeat what words?

It's all right. If I repeat...

What words specifically, Your Honor?

You say anything obscene, I'll remember that when I dispose of the case.

Court adjourned.



And now, ladies and gentlemen, Lenny Bruce! (CROWD CHEERING)

Bless you.

Thank you.

That's because you're good.

Wow! Look at that!

We have some company here tonight.

Throw the spotlight over there.

I'd like to welcome some friends.

There they are.

Good evening, fellas.


It's Mount Rushmore.

Throw the spot on the other wall.

I think I spot two, I'm not sure.

Ah, yes. There they are!

Hi, Mickey. How's the family?



Have you ever seen so much blue?

I'm under pressure here tonight to cool my act.

Ah, I don't know how many of you know it.

I was arrested, busted, right here a few nights ago for saying...


I won't say it.

It's an 11-letter word, starting with "c" and ending with "g."

It was used in the context of defending a certain homosexual practice.

Actually, though, I don't relate it only to homosexuals...


I relate it to any contemporary woman I know,

would know or love or marry.

You do, too, if you're honest.

I'd like to ask you a few questions now.

You're all under oath.

Even standing room only.

How many people in this club here tonight have ever used that word...

Blah, blah, blah?

Don't be shy. You can raise your hands.

That's cool.

Let's get really honest.

You, sir, have you ever had your blah blahed?

Either yes or no, one or the other.

How many men here have ever had their blah blahed?

Raise your hands.

Come on, Officers. You're under oath.

Keep your hands raised. How many men have blahed a blah?

Somebody's not telling the truth.

Have you blahed a blah?

So sweet. The officer's couldn't see it.

She went like this. He went like this.

This time the whole audience gets schlepped away.

This is the dirtiest show I've ever done.

This is really filth.

If there's anyone here who has not found this obscene, I hope you never get your blah blahed again.

That's my entire show for tonight.

Good night.

Kindly Andy Hardy's father found me guilty.

One year in jail and $1,000 fine.


So, we made a motion for a trial de novo.

We wanted a jury trial, figuring 12 average community members could better determine what was obscene as opposed to one judge.

This guy never got past the ninth grade.

At 36, he decides to become a lawyer.

He drove his friends nuts with it, collecting old law books, case numbers, newspaper clippings, you name it.

And tape. He started taping everything.

He spent $63,000 for tape recordings, tape equipment, engineers.

He hired someone to record his trial.

Officer Ryan, were you sexually stimulated by Mr. Bruce's performance?

Irrelevant and immaterial.


No, sir.

Officer Ryan, have you ever used the word "cocksucker"?

Not that I can remember.

Are you familiar with the term "cocksucker"?

I've heard it used.

Isn't the word "cocksucker" frequently heard in a police station?

That's irrelevant. If Your Honor please...


You may answer, Officer.

(CLEARS THROAT) Could I hear the question again?

"Isn't the word 'cocksucker'

"frequently heard in a police station?"

I have heard it used.

LAWYER: You've heard "cocksucker" used in a police station, which is a public place.

They're all getting off on that word.

Lenny Bruce's satire is related to the social satire found in the works of Aristophanes, Jonathan Swift.

Aristophanes is not testifying here.

I doubt he could.


LAWYER: Reverend Mooney, give the jury a brief summary of your background in higher education.


I have been a professor of theology for almost 12 years now.

Could you speak up?

Oh, yes.

I taught at...

Boston University for three years, uh, Northwestern University for two years, then UCLA for three years more, and I am now at Berkeley.

This schmuck can't hold a job.

LAWYER: How would you characterize Mr. Bruce's work?

Well, I think that Lenny has a message to convey.

Now it's my turn. Would you speak louder, please, Reverend?


Ah, he has a message to convey.

And, he is honest and sincere about it.

(CLEARS THROAT) The message is, I believe, to expose and hold up American society so they can really see themselves.

Your Honor, I cannot hear the witness.

JUDGE: Reverend.

I'm sorry. (CLEARS THROAT)

He uses words as weapons to hit people over the head with, to make them recognize they are hypocritical in every phase of their lives.

Ah, words are his tools. He uses them...


JUDGE: Order. Order.

Spectators will be seated.

Order in the court.

What was the nature of this chant?

It was talk between a man and a woman who were...

Involved in the...

In the act of...


"To" is a preposition.

"Come" is a verb.

"To" is a preposition.

"Come" is a verb.

The verb intransitive, "to come."

I heard these two words as a kid when they thought I was sleeping.

"Did you come? Did you come? Good."

"Did you come good?

"Did you come good?"


"I come better with you than anyone in the whole goddamn world."

"But don't come in me.

"Don't come in me.

"Don't come in me, in me, in me.

"Don't come in me."

"I can't come."

"You don't love me. That's why you can't come."

"I love you. I just can't come.

"I'm loaded, all right?"

"Because you don't love me."

"What has that got to do with loving you?"

If anyone in this room or the world finds those two words obscene, indecent, immoral, you probably can't come. (CROWD LAUGHING)

Mr. Bruce, you're smiling.

This isn't for your entertainment.

I don't know if that's legally obscene...

Do you believe in God?

Bailiff! A God that made your body.

If you believe there's a God that made your body...

Why do you tell little children to cover up?

If the body's dirty, that the titties are vulgar.

What a bore.

If the body is dirty the fault lies with the manufacturer, and that means you gotta schlep God into court, along with me.

The defendant is charged with violating section 311.6 of the California Penal Code.

"Any person who speaks any obscene song, ballad, "or other words in a public place

"is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Obscene means, to the average person, applying standards of the community, with the matter's dominant appeal being to arouse a prurient interest, which is a morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion which goes beyond the limits of such matters and is without redeeming social importance.

Now, sex and obscenity are not synonymous.

In order to make sex obscene, its portrayal must be done in such a way that its dominant tendency is to corrupt the average adult by creating a clear and present danger of antisocial behavior.

In other words, some cat will hear me, get horny, run to a museum, and jerk off a dinosaur.

JUROR: We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty of violation of the Penal Code of California, "Speaking or singing obscene words or ballads in public."

INTERVIEWER: You mentioned you might get six months off that jail sentence.

Did that happen?

HONEY: No, because I got in some trouble.

What kind of trouble?

Well, I just did something crazy.

You don't want to tell me?


INTERVIEWER: (CHUCKLES) All right. Anyway, finally, you did get out.

HONEY: Yeah. Um, they give you speeches about rehabilitation.

They give you some bread.

They try to help you, and then...

Good luck, dear.

Oh, thank you.

Then they drop you outside.



LENNY: Remember that lady I wrote you about?

HONEY: The one with the little hat?

Right. She started bitching.

"He's guilty. Guilty."

Then suddenly, "He's not guilty."


She was a lush.

She had to get a drink.

Saved by Gallo wine.

Who cares? You beat it.

I know, but I wanted to win it on the First Amendment.

I love you.

Wow, was I happy.

I think he was, too.

He was making a lot of bread.

After the San Francisco trial and that publicity, everybody wanted to see him.

Semi-hip people thought it was in to dig him.

Some people really loved Lenny.

You really are the truth.

She's a nut. (CROWD LAUGHING)

But she's right.

Suddenly he's coming on like a rabbi.

I'd call him the "Meshugana Messiah."

LENNY: But I'm not anti-Christ or anti-religion.

I think it's encouraging that many people are leaving the church and going back to God.

ARTIE: Oh, he was putting everybody down.

He put the Pope down.

He even went after Kennedy.

INTERVIEWER: People came in to see if he might get arrested.

Oh, absolutely. Right on.

INTERVIEWER: You were with him when he was arrested in Los Angeles and Chicago?

Well, um...

It's like that lady alcoholic in I'll Cry Tomorrow.

Lillian Roth?

No, Susan Hayward.

See, junkies think, like...

"I'll kick tomorrow."

And it was the same thing with me.

But, uh...

Tomorrow just...

HONEY: Follow the dots down the yellow brick road.

God damn it! He was just fine until you were schlepped into it again.

(GIGGLING) Okay. I'll kill myself.

INTERVIEWER: Lenny was deep into drugs, wasn't he?

You're really cute.

You want me to say it.

Monogrammed pictures presents...

Rotten Together.

Starring Fay Wray and King Kong.

You think it's funny!

(LAUGHING) And King Kong's mother.

SALLY: You two think you're funny.


SALLY: Well?

The mercenary bitch won't budge.

She has to.

You try.

He's in no condition to go on.

Look at this. At five bucks a head, you know what that would cost me?

If he gets busted, it'll cost your liquor license.

You've got to be a good boy and get on your feet.

Lenny, you can't get up.

Come on, Lenny. You got to get up.


I know you can do it, man.

They're all waiting for you to say something dirty.

I'm no junkie.

There you go, Len.

That's it.

I'm proud of you.

Uh-oh. There's the city heat.

There's the county heat.

There's the state heat.

I even think I see two cats from Interpol, man.

And I know I saw four mounties, man.





ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Lenny Bruce.

Super Jew!


The ecumenical council has given the Pope permission to become a nun, but only on Fridays.


What's that?

King Kong is ready now?

Oh, he's almost ready.

We're going to have King for the second show.

I got to warn you photographers.

Cool it with the flash bulbs, man, because otherwise King gets a little shitty.


Just give him a...


A building to play with or an airplane to squeeze and he'll be all right.

Where the fuck was I?

It's really wild, man.

The judge can get away with that, man.

He sits up there, man, junked out of his head, man.

He says, "I'll take that under advisement."

Where was I? Let me see.

(STUTTERS) Oh, yeah, I know what I want to do.

I guess you're all wondering why I'm wearing this raincoat.

The reason I'm wearing this raincoat is, as ya'll know, I've been busted the last few times for obscenity.

The last time was in Los Angeles.

They didn't give me time to get my coat.

Since Chicago is a cold city, if they come, I'm ready.

The heat is here tonight, man.

Are there any attorneys here tonight?


Are you an attorney, man?

Really? Here.

Now you guys got it all, man.

That's it, man.



I know... I know...

I want to show you something.


I know what I want to show you.

You want to see a picture of a really beautiful pink-nippled lady?

She's my wife, man, and I gave her away.

(COUGHS) Where are you going?

Hey, where are you people going?

Oh, come on, man.

I haven't even said cocksucker yet.

Let them go, man. Let them go.


I can't work this shithouse.

My stomach is killing me.

I know what I want to do.

This is for you guys over there.

I read in the Chicago paper

an article about these transvestites who are posing as policemen.

They're police officers dressing up like pretty ladies.

Here's Officer Dolan...

"Officer Stanley Dolan says, "the hardest part of police work

"was learning how to walk in high heels."

I think that's a gas.

You guys are so naïve, man.

I defend you all the time. But you're so naïve.

You think the guy is going to grab you and you're going to say, "Okay, now, stop that.

"You can't touch me. I'm not a beautiful woman.

"I'm a police officer, and you're under arrest."

But you guys don't know who you're dealing with, man.

They don't care.

They'll just grab you.

They'll say, "I don't care if you are a cop.

"You got a cute ass, and I'm going to shtup you anyway."

It's not nice, man.


It's not nice to incite.

It's not nice to entrap.

It's not nice to exploit those people, man.

They're sick people.

You want to know what I'm talking about?

I'm talking about Vietnam.

It's like...


It's like one big franchise, man.

It's like... It's like Howard Johnson's, and Kennedy, man.


No, man, no.

He can't...

Man, I can't put together what I'm trying to say.

The thing that I'm trying to tell you is it's harassment, man.

It's repression.

It's club owners being called up in the middle of the night and being told not to hire me or they'll lose their liquor license!

It's Vietnam.

It's atrocities here and there.

I'm sorry.

(SIGHS) I'm not funny.

I'm not funny.


Listen to the ovation.

MAN: Bob, get that door.

Let's go, lady.

SALLY: Please, don't hurt him.

ARTIE: You take it easy on him now.

You can't come in my shithouse without a warrant.

I love you.

I was arrested 13 times in the next year.

Um... I flipped out mentally.

I schlepped him to hospitals.

We were getting a lot of cancellations.

I wound up in a hospital in the psychiatric division

in a padded cell.

Then he got picked up for narcotics possession.

Now he's got to fight that in the courts.

His health started going bad.

Rita, RITA: Yes, sir. change my barber appointment to 3:15.

He had pleurisy.

One lung had to be peeled three times, and finally it collapsed.

There were days I didn't know where I'd been.

ARTIE: He was going broke fast, with the lawyer and the doctor bills, the dope and the pressure with Honey.

Poor guy.

An incision went from his chest to his back.

Where were we?

This obscenity circus has been going on for four years.

It's like a three ring circus.

Starring the District Attorney, Lower Court, and Supreme Court.

I'm like some schmuck who fell of a high-wire in the middle of it.

And it's killing me.

Give me some more sound.

Where was I? Chicago bust, guilty.

That case is now being appealed in the Illinois Supreme Court, citing the case US 652...

Come on. Where are you going?

You want a bit?

I don't want to do "tits and ass."

You want to know where it's at?

That chick has beautiful tits, but a picture of those tits is obscene.

What's offensive to me are newspaper pictures of tits that have been maimed, burned. Turn the lights on.

It's really weird.

LENNY: Come on. What's happening?

This man's under arrest.

What, again?

What the fuck is going on here, man?

He used the words "fuck you"...

LAWYER: Objection!

It's all out of context.

JUDGE: The objection is overruled.


What else do you recall?

Did he make a gesture... Objection!

He's leading the witness.

I'll rephrase the question for Mr. Bruce.

All right, Sergeant, what else do you recall happening?

He made a gesture.

(GIGGLES) You got it in.

What sort of gesture?

He used the microphone.

Would you mind demonstrating?

I never meant that to mean jack off!

It's pathetic! He's doing my act for the court and he's bombing.

Mr. Bruce. Your Honor, how can you make a fair judgment when based on what he is doing is obscene!

No, man. I wanna tell 'em.

If anybody should do my act, it should be me.

I could do me better.

I've been at it longer than anybody else.

If I could talk to him,

I know I can make him understand me.

He's a human being. Lenny, he's a tough son of a bitch and he doesn't wanna hear one more word from you.

The next time you open your mouth, he'll cite you for contempt.

You guys aren't representing me the way I asked.

We're doing the best we can, Lenny.

(SIGHS) Did you talk to him about me doing my act?

No. Why?

He has all the tapes.

You're not in a proper emotional state...

Oh, I'm fine man. I just know if I don't do my act for the court, I'm going to lose.

Come on man. You know it, he knows it, I know it.

Give us a couple of minutes alone.

No! If it's about me, I want to hear, man.

Have it your way.


You don't have to whisper.

When the transcript goes to the appellate court, I don't want you in the record.

We're eating a guilty verdict here.

You eat the verdicts. I do the time.

I mean, it is really bizarre.

These lower courts are meaningless.

It'll be like Chicago.

We'll appeal.

That took almost two years and every nickel I had.

You guys don't understand, I had to borrow 10 bucks just to get here.

I'm like a nigger in Alabama looking to use the toilet.

By the time I get relief, it'll be too late.

I don't want to go to jail.

I'll tell you something else.

Put me on the stand to do my act for that court, or I'm going to sue your asses and go and represent myself.

No more bullshit.

If it please the court, I wish to defend myself.

I no longer relate to my counsel.

Mr. Bruce, my suggestion is, make a request for a continuance.

You can retain new counsel.

If you do, I'll grant that request.

I just want to talk to the court without all the bullshit.

You are making this very difficult.

Attorneys keep telling me, "Don't worry.

"The Lower Court, they're all assholes.

"We'll win in a higher court."

But I shouldn't lose here.

Would you please sit down?

I have the right to speak.

I'm running out of patience.

Just let me do my act for the court.

If you don't think it has any redeeming social value...

If it just strikes you as dirty and obscene...

I cannot allow this to continue.

Your Honor, I so want your respect.

You're a good person.

This legal system is the best, but you can't hear me.

Mr. Bruce, sit down.

When I'm talking about tits and ass, I'm not just shocking the audience by repeating those words, "tits and ass."

My point is we live in a hypocritical society.

I find you in contempt of this court.


Sentence me. I have no money left.

Might I be sentenced now?

I can't afford to be on trial.

The police took away my cabaret card.

I can't work anymore.

I will not sentence you today.

When you appear here again, appear with suitable counsel.

I am further ordering psychiatric evaluation.

December 16th. Bail continued.

You're trying to stop the information!

Bailiff, remove this man from the courtroom.

The information keeps the country strong!

You need a deviate.

Don't shut him up!

You need a mad man who tells you when you're blowing it!

The harder you come down on the deviate, the more you need him.

Don't take away my words!

I'm not hurting anybody.

INTERVIEWER: He was found guilty in New York and sentenced to four months in the penitentiary.

Is that right?


He was frightened of being confined?


INTERVIEWER: After he died, they found a letter saying he'd lost the house.

Did that have anything to do with his death?

I don't know what you mean.

I'll see you Saturday.

Do something about that weight.

I'm going to go on a diet.


Bye, man.


I know where you're trying to take this.

He'd never do that.


Why was he trying to lose weight?

I really loved him.

I'm happy his records are starting to sell again.

He was nutty.

He did a lot of crazy things.

We were always doing bits to crack each other up.

INTERVIEWER: Doesn't it strike you as rather ironic that the things Lenny was arrested for would be considered fairly harmless today?

HONEY: Well, um...

I don't really know about that.

I mean...

He was just so damn funny.

You know I'm negotiating for a film based on his life?

I got all the rights tied up.

I'm afraid that's all the time I have.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much.

It was a pleasure.

LENNY: Into the shithouse for good this time. Forget it.