November 7, 2017

Liberal censorship at Brandeis cancels play about Lenny Bruce

Inside Higher Ed  - Lenny Bruce made a career of transgressing traditional social mores with his stand-up routines, culminating in his conviction for obscenity in 1964.

Now a production of a play based on Bruce’s comedy at Brandeis University has been canceled, after students and alumni rallied in opposition. They complained about what they called the play’s offensive and objectionable content, though this time objections came from the left.

...Though Bruce died in 1966, the play takes place in the present. According to drafts of the play reported on by two student publications at Brandeis, the play’s main character discovers old recordings of Bruce’s stand-up routine and makes plans to deliver a similar performance at Brandeis, which is met with university pushback and student protests.

The irony of a play based on a provocateur being canceled for being too provocative was not lost on some.

"The notion that the staging of a play about comedian Lenny Bruce would be held up over incendiary content seems too ironic to be true," Globe reporter Mark Arsenault wrote. "Or like the setup for a scorching joke Bruce would have told."

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The leftist students are correct in wanting this worm banned.

Lenny Bruce was a garbage mouth, a rude little punk
and the type a decent society can easily do without.

This same criticism can be applied to George Carlin.

Their rude, egotistical babble far outweighed any valid social commentary they may have made.

People like Bruce and Carlin contributed to making their society rude, violent, indecent and stupid, and we can see the result of their contribution in many of the offerings of the MSM today.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:37 knows as much about comedy as he does about artistic expression or free speech. Comedians are wise observers whose skill at sending up the pompous and hypocritical has been honed over centuries, and we're all better for it.

Without Lenny Bruce, whose standing is unquestioned by aware minds, modern stand-up comedy would not exist as we know it, and you can throw in sitcoms and political comedy. The cancellation of the play is an embarrassment too obvious to notice by the ready-to-be offended.

At live shows, an effort to challenge and illuminate is often used as an excuse to claim offense. The departure of one/some of the audience ('walking the crowd') is regarded by most comedians as a badge of honor. To be sure, the working-class, Navy veteran Bruce would howl at students paying nearly $70,000 a year being that insecure. Censorship never works and the playwright and professional actors are better off.

Bill Hicks said...

Bruce was last heard laughing in his grave at the mind boggling irony of it all.

Anonymous said...


6:32 PM: "Without Lenny Bruce, whose standing is unquestioned by aware minds, modern stand-up comedy would not exist as we know it."

Modern stand-up comedy having never existed would have been a boon indeed.

For me, modern US comedy generally, with a few exceptions, requires an effort to watch. It is about as funny as a loved one's funeral. I feel embarrassed for the fools that attempt it.

A comparison of early Saturday Night Live with today's SNL easily demonstrates how far US comedy has fallen.

Early SNL was witty, intelligent and hilarious, without nastiness. Today SNL is a crashing bore where scatology is the ruling element.

It is the influence of people like Lenny Bruce that killed US humor.


Anonymous said...

Carlin had something to say, but I've no sense that Bruce ever did. Or if he did, it was muffled by his verbal guano.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:55 it's clear that you know nothing of comedy history; your attempts at comment read like The Ayn Rand Child Care Guide.

Know your limits and remember that if you can't be an athlete, you can be an athletic supporter.

Anonymous said...

7:36 PM:

You are a (possibly unwitting) servant of the 1%.

You are showing support for indecency under the banner of freedom of speech.

You assist the 1% in their efforts to dumb down the proletariat and society generally.

To champion people like the foul-mouth Lenny Bruce you contribute to the degradation of your society, much to the delight of your corrupt capitalist rulers.

J. Calvin Smith said...

Here is another important quotation from this article:

"Organizers opposing the play rallied around the play’s portrayal of the Black Lives Matter movement and its black characters. They also criticized its merits as a work of art, saying the play wasn’t well written."

The play is apparently set in the present day. If it does serve to denigrate the BLM movement, and if it is in fact poorly written, that somewhat supports a Leftist objection to it.

Anonymous said...

Not particularly wanting to enter into the fray, I only might make a comment about the 'times' that Bruce and Carlin lived when they went out on a limb.

Anonymous said...

The federal obscenity statutes are still on the books, aimed in 1948 at the burlesque world that Bruce inhabited. Thank You Mask Man. No need to adjust your perception, they really are after you. Chaplin was removed. Arbuckle was tried. Nothing wrong with Ozzie and Harriet, but that is all you get, with few exceptions.