Let the Buyer Beware

Let the Buyer Beware

4.0 2
by Lenny Bruce
"I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce" -- so claimed the influential, troubled cult figure. But Bruce was lying: He was indeed a comedian, and his signature stand-up routines, such as "Religions, Inc.," "Jewish & Goyish," and "Father Flotsky's Triumph," attest to his ability to generate laughs. But, as the massive Let the Buyer Beware amply displays, he was also


"I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce" -- so claimed the influential, troubled cult figure. But Bruce was lying: He was indeed a comedian, and his signature stand-up routines, such as "Religions, Inc.," "Jewish & Goyish," and "Father Flotsky's Triumph," attest to his ability to generate laughs. But, as the massive Let the Buyer Beware amply displays, he was also an astute observer of culture, a champion of the First Amendment, a stream-of-consciousness monologist and hipster, and a troubled victim of censorship. It's a six-disc set with well over seven hours of mostly previously unreleased recordings, housed in a beautiful 80-page hardcover book full of newspaper clippings, photos, essays, a biographical and cultural chronology, and a glossary for some of the people and Yiddish terms that come up in the set. Ranging from his first recording (a 1948 appearance on the Arthur Godfrey show) to his last ("Testing the Sony Microphone," recorded the night before his death of an overdose in August 1966), the set includes the early "bits" that brought Bruce notoriety as a "sick comic" who skewered hypocrisies associated with religion, sex, and race while provoking uncomfortable but genuine laughter. His use of profanity led to numerous arrests on charges of obscenity, and his stories of the arrests and court cases contain moments of humor; but, more significantly, they're captivating audio portraits of a historic cultural figure. Sure, Lenny Bruce was a groundbreaking stand-up comic with a wide range of voices and an unerring sense of timing. But Let the Buyer Beware also provides deeply human insights into the man behind the comedy, in all his "sick" and brilliant guises.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Campbell
Let the Buyer Beware is an extraordinary six-disc CD box set packed with unreleased performances, interviews, phone conversations, and various other private recordings of Lenny Bruce. The project was lovingly compiled by Lenny's daughter Kitty and music producer Hal Willner with assistance from the estate of the late Marvin Worth, who produced both the Broadway play Lenny and the film that starred Dustin Hoffman in the leading role. With over seven hours of material, it's painfully obvious that Bruce was so much more than a comedian who worked "blue" and died of a drug overdose in 1966. The program traces his career from his first public performance in 1948 on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts as just another corny comedian to his metamorphosis into the '50s visionary of bad taste with controversial bits pertaining to race, religion, and authority. It was routines like "Religions, Inc.," "Thank You Masked Man," and "How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties" that made the police take notice of Lenny, busting him and the club owners who hired him for obscenity. By disc five the biting satirical monologues have been replaced with scathing condemnations by a dejected man who ended up blackballed, bankrupt, and paranoid. Let the Buyer Beware is more than just a box set highlighting the best routines of an innovative comic; it allows the listener to go behind the scenes into the mindset of a hipster sage who vehemently exclaimed "I'm not a comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce."
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
The definitive audio-biography of Bruce as a revolutionary craftsman and antic wit.... The thrill is in hearing Bruce in action, at the peak of his nightclub powers.

Product Details

Release Date:
Shout Factory


Disc 1

  1. Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight?
  2. The Clap
  3. Lenny on Comedy, Pt. 1
  4. On Third Shows
  5. Father Flotsky's Triumph
  6. Lima, Ohio
  7. Introduction to "The Palladium"/Annie Ross/What Was I Talking About? [#
  8. The Palladium
  9. Explanation of Frank Dell and Bullets
  10. Censorship on the Steve Allen Show
  11. Taking Requests/Hip Diseases
  12. The Lawrence Welk Story
  13. How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties
  14. Gotta Split
  15. Lenny on Playboy's Penthouse

Disc 2

  1. Testing the Sony Microphone
  2. Lenny on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
  3. Critics/Club Owners
  4. Monster Routine With Hecklers
  5. I've Never Been in Love Before
  6. Religions, Inc.
  7. Lenny Interview
  8. Airplane Glue
  9. The Phone Company
  10. My Trip to Miami
  11. Psycho Doctors/Faye Bainter/Jack Paar
  12. Ike, Sherm & Nick
  13. Non Skeddo Flies Again

Disc 3

  1. Working Carnegie Hall
  2. Point of View
  3. Christ and Moses
  4. Spanish Harlem
  5. The Joke
  6. Pretty Bizarre Show
  7. Dirty Toilet/Bad Early Toilet Training
  8. If Your Body Is Dirty, The Fault Lies With the Manufacturer
  9. What Should Be/What Is
  10. C.E. Hocksey Letters/My Father Solomon Osterow
  11. To Is a Preposition; Come Is a Verb
  12. Blah Blah Blah
  13. Dick Tracy Is an Orthodox Jew
  14. Milton Berle/Dykes/Homosexuality
  15. Cops/Where the Heat Are
  16. Going to Court/Wear a Blue Suit
  17. S.F. Gossip/Jewish & Goyish/Cat Downstairs Taping Show
  18. The Phantom
  19. Would You Want Your Sister to Marry One of Them?
  20. Chick Singer With a Gimmick
  21. Billy Graham Is Not Qualified
  22. Touch It Once
  23. The Black Cat/Get Stuffed/Why Did You Lie to Me?
  24. Closing/Will Rogers Quote
  25. Lawrence Welk the Hipster
  26. Hubert's Museum

Disc 4

  1. I Just Do It and That's All
  2. Ruby the Robot
  3. Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman, Jack Paar, Joey Bishop & Phyllis Diller/The
  4. Why the Breakfast Show
  5. The Meaning of Obscenity, Pt. 1/Drew Pearson's a Son of a Bitch
  6. Norman Rockwell/The Jazz Scene
  7. The Word or the Act/We Fucked Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars
  8. Jimmy Hoffa/Castro & Cuba
  9. Thank You Masked Man
  10. Dangerous Drugs/Marijuana
  11. Jews Killed Christ
  12. Marilyn Monroe/Narcotics vs. Juice
  13. You Don't Remember Me, Do You?/You're So Classic...Smoking a Cigar
  14. Kennedys/Jonathan Winters
  15. W.C. Fields the Anti-Semite/Hookers on Record
  16. The Meaning of Obscenity, Pt. 2
  17. San Francisco Bust/Judge Entrapment
  18. The Act Is Kissin' & Huggin'
  19. Las Vegas, Pt. 1/Johnny Mathis
  20. I'll Show You How Prejudiced You Are
  21. Corrupt Cities/Chicago Shtarkers/Shelley Berman
  22. Audience Banter/Why Doesn't He Do the Bits on the Records?
  23. Lenny on Comedy, Pt. 2
  24. Snot
  25. The Nerve of Faggots
  26. Hooker That Balled the President
  27. Divorce/Get Even/Stag Movies vs. King of Kings
  28. Norman Thomas/Filipinos/Midgets
  29. Las Vegas, Pt. 2/Pearl Bailey
  30. Australia
  31. Bela Lugosi & Wallace Beery/Entrancing Transylvania/Herb Caen
  32. The Warning

Disc 5

  1. The Best Man in the Tribe
  2. The Tribunal
  3. Schmuck
  4. Reading the Court Transcript
  5. Pissing in the Sink
  6. Jewish & Goyish
  7. Philly Bust/Judge Axelrod
  8. Tits and Ass
  9. Never Cop Out
  10. Jackie Kennedy Hauls Ass/Selling Out Your Country (aka.Hot Lead Enema)
  11. Dick Gregory
  12. Census Takers
  13. Barry Goldwater/The Truth About Men/Doing It to a Chicken
  14. L.B.J.
  15. Toilets/Flashers/Mark Eden Bust Developer
  16. How the Law Got Started (Eat, Sleep & Crap)
  17. Playing Milwaukee
  18. Marijuana/Flashers/Confusion/Bust in the Audience
  19. Lenny Gets Busted Onstage & Audience Gets Id'd

Disc 6

  1. All Alone
  2. The Heroin Bust
  3. Juror Phone Calls Re: The Heroin Bust
  4. Zeidler & Zeidler Commercials
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt Had Nice Tits
  6. Religions, Inc.
  7. Phone Call Reading a Letter
  8. Christ and Moses
  9. Phone Call to Harry Kalvin
  10. Describing the Fillmore West/Yorty & L.A.
  11. Southern Accents
  12. Art and a Big Piece of Shit
  13. I Picked on the Wrong God
  14. My Name Is Adolf Eichmann

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lenny Bruce   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Lenny Bruce   Composer,Liner Notes
Bob Dylan   Liner Notes
Bob Emmer   Executive Producer
Ted Myers   Discographical Annotation
Hal Willner   Producer,Liner Notes
Marvin Worth   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Kitty Bruce   Producer,Liner Notes
Paul Krassner   Liner Notes
Richard Foos   Executive Producer
Fred McDarrah   Cover Photo
Jeff Smith   Art Direction
John Roberts   Artwork
Quattrocchi   Art Direction
David Brendel   Archival Consultant

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Let the Buyer Beware 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr-III More than 1 year ago
If you want to delve into Lenny's real life, this is a great item. It is also a must for any comedian and any historian of those times. It is also a must for civil rights lawyers. If you want to know Lenny better, this is for you. As for myself I enjoyed it immensely. The only downside for me was the absence of the Tarzan bit. But that is no real problem because I memorized it years ago. And although it is much lauded, I never have liked any version of the Palladium bit.