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Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s And 1960s

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    46 honest pages to Lenny Bruce

    Bladerdash! That's not a word Lenny Bruce would use to describe those who had complaints with 'Seriously Funny', but Gerald Nachman's book on Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s is the first honest writing on Lenny Bruce. Nachman, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended college at San Jose State, met some of these performers while writing a column in the Spartan Daily in the late 1950s to 1960. He attended SJS with the Smothers Brothers and was a professional writer visiting Enrico Banducci's 'hungry i' and the Blue Onion by the time Lenny Bruce was first busted by the SFPD at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco's North Beach. Nachman sprinkles bits from Bruce's routine thoughout the 46 pages of this sad story on the decline of Bruce. He also quotes various professional entertainers and writers on Bruce. Surpisingly they range from praise to disgust. I guess it has to do with when they first saw Lenny perform--before or after that October 1961 bust by the SFPD. Nachman notes that Bruce never blamed the cops who arrested him. 'He didn't call the cops pigs; he called them peace officers. He said they were just blue-collar guys trying to do a job.' One post-arrest line of Lenny's had me laughing out loud on the floor, but since I can't print it in its entirety, I'll just leave the page number. The bottom of page 417. I can hardly wait to read the other 20 chapters, but first I've got a deadline to meet.

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