Lenny Bruce would have been 94 years old this October 13. While celebrating his own success with the release of the album Sex, Drugs and the Antichrist, Paul Krassner wrote about his friendship with the legendary comic in this feature from the February, 2000 edition of High Times.
Lenny Bruce was in mock shock. “Do you realize,” he asked rhetorically, “that they’re busting kids for smoking flowers?” But Lenny was an optimist. It was in 1960 that he said, “Now let me tell you something about pot. Pot will be legal in ten years. Why? Because in this audience probably every other one of you knows a law student who smokes pot, who will become a senator, who will legalize it to protect himself.”
A sense of optimism was the essence of Lenny’s humor, especially at its most controversial. And so, when it was discovered that Nazi leaders from Germany had resettled in Argentina with false passports, he displayed from the stage a newspaper with a huge headline: “Six Million Jews Found Alive in Argentina!” Now, that was the ultimate extension of optimism.
Lenny poked fun at the ridiculously high fees of show business by comparing them with the absurdly low salaries of teachers. He explored the implications of pornography, masturbation and orgasms before they were trendy subjects and became the basis of an $8 billion industry.
He ventured into fields that were mined with taboos, breaking from a long tradition of mainstream stand-up comics who remained loyal to safe material. They spewed forth a bland plethora of stereotypical jokes about mothers-in-law, Chinese waiters, women drivers, Marilyn Monroe, airplane food, Elvis Presley and the ever-popular complaints about “my wife,” whether it had to do with her cooking, her shopping, her nagging or her frigidity.
I first met Lenny in 1959 when he came to …
Author: High Times / High Times