The Lenny Bruce Audio Files

From the Lenny Bruce collection at Brandeis University’s
Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department

Lenny Bruce

Leonard Alfred Schneider (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966), better known as Lenny Bruce, was a comedian, author, and social critic, whose ​corrosive and transgressive satire as well as his boldness in pushing the envelope of the laws of obscenity have made him an iconic figure in American culture.​ In 2014, Brandeis University ​acquired ​the Lenny Bruce collection from ​his daughter, Kitty Bruce, with a generous grant from the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation. This collection contains sixty-five recordings on reel-to-reel audio and compact cassette tapes, all of which have been restored and digitized thanks to a grant from The GRAMMY Foundation® Grant Program. Information about and brief clips of the majority of these recordings can be found below.

These recordings are from the personal collection of the Bruce family and some of this material has been previously released in edited form. Most of these recordings are of Lenny Bruce’s stand-up comedy performances, and many are whole or partial recordings of the same performance (with variations in audio quality), or combination clips from various performances. Some of the recordings are of a personal nature, such as the “phone letters” and private conversations between Bruce and his friends and family.

More detailed information on the Lenny Bruce collection audio files can be found here: Lenny Bruce Institutional Repository site. The full recordings are available at Brandeis University’s Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department. To set up an appointment, please contact us here: ascdepartment@brandeis.edu.

Material in this collection (including the images and audio on this site) may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please contact the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

All rights reserved, Kitty Bruce.

Listen to 10-second clips of the Lenny Bruce recordings!
To see the collection and listen to the full audio, please contact: ascdepartment@brandeis.edu

Lenny Bruce's last tape excerpt, August 2, 1966

In it, Bruce acts out multiple roles including host of a late-night radio show and an irate senior citizen caller. In these voices he makes reference to beatniks on the Sunset Strip, a used car salesman who has a dog on the hood of a car in commercials (most likely Chick Lambert), a Senate investigating committee, Steve Allen and Phyllis Diller.

Identifier: LB_1 Full length: 5:03

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 12, 1962

Bruce refers to his legal troubles. He performs the bits Las Vegas Tits & Ass, I Picked on the Wrong God, Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers), The Clap, Balloons, Never Cop Out, We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars, Dykes, Southern Accents, Christ and Moses, Adolf Eichmann (based on the Thomas Merton poem “Chant to Be Used in Processions Around a Site with a Furnace”) and Ten Thousand Asses (Tigers & Lions).

Identifier: LB_2 Full length: 31:12

San Francisco, Basin Street West, 1964 (end of performance)

He played engagements at the club in February and August of 1965. It contains the routines Jackie Kennedy Hauled Ass, To Come: The Verb Instransitive and Deny It. He mentions that journalist Dorothy Kilgallen is in the audience and talks about her. He ends by riffing about Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson.

Identifier: LB_3 Full length: 17:36

San Francisco, Off Broadway, 1964

Bruce performs bits How Negroes and Jews Became Entertainers, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson, Bobby Kennedy, Jack Ruby & Lee Harvey Oswald, Jackie Kennedy Hauled Ass, Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers) and I Picked on the Wrong God. He relates the details of his arrest on a narcotics charge in Los Angeles, the trial, his "Department 95" hearing to determine whether he was a narcotics addict, and the subsequent criminal behavior of the arresting officer. The recording begins with the show in progress. The recording ends abruptly before the end of the set.

Identifier: LB_4 Full length: 31:19

San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 22, 1964 (part 1)

Bruce makes comments about the man "stuck up there in the booth" and talks about the jacket he has on, which he says he designed. He begins a bit about a "chick singer."

Identifier: LB_5 Full length: 2:14

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 12, 1962 (second show continued)

In addition to other bits, Bruce comments on what he's looking at in a newspaper (or possibly a magazine). Included are mentions of Ivan Bunny (Ivan Colitz), Winston Churchill, Sonny Liston, Tom Dugan, Rusty Warren, Bill Tilden. It begins while the show is in progress.

Identifier: LB_6 Full length: 15:57

San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 23, 1964 (11:30 p.m show continued)

Bruce says that he was arrested for obscenity for using the word "fressing" (fress in Yiddish means to eat, but its slang use implies oral sex). He performs the bit How Negroes and Jews Became Entertainers, then talks about Hugh Hefner's strategy in putting out Playboy. He talks about an article attorney Melvin Belli wrote for Fact magazine and segues into his bit about Jack Ruby (for whom Belli served as defense attorney). The recording ends during this bit.

Identifier: LB_7 Full length: 9:43

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 5, 1962, midnight (The Bust Show part 1)

This show is known as The Bust Show. A preface to the performance on the tape is the repetition of the recorded voice one gets when calling a phone number to get the time of day. This file ends before the end of the set, which was halted by the police, who then arrested Bruce and some audience members (including comic George Carlin, who refused to show police his ID). Bruce holds up a men’s magazine (Rogue), does his bits on King Kong, Entrapment by Cops, We Did it to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars, Adolf Eichmann, Infidelity and How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties.

Identifier: LB_8 Full length: 30:19

San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 22, 1964

The set is in progress as the tape begins. Bruce performs his bit about the history of obscenity law and Entrapment by Cops. Speaks of daughter Kitty, James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” Judge Murtagh.

Identifier: LB_9 Full length: 10:54

Conversation: Lenny Bruce, Sally Marr & Frankie Man, circa 1964-66

Conversation between Lenny Bruce and his mother, comic Sally Marr, with some guests, including Frankie Man (real name Frank Schneider). The date and location are not known (probably 1964 or later),

Identifier: LB_10 Full length: 13:26

1) Chicago Gate of Horn December 9, 1962; 2) San Francisco Off Broadway 1964; 3) date and location unknown; 4) Zeidler & Zeidler commercials

(1)The recording begins while the set is in progress. Bruce talks about his obscenity trial and the police. (2) The recording abruptly switches to a different performance, in progress, (probably 1964, location unknown) with references to Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. Bruce discusses his legal trouble and his material on religion. The recording ends abruptly, then continues (it may be the same performance, or yet another performance). He talks about Las Vegas, Shelley Berman, Alan King, George Gobel, Pinky Lee, Bert Parks and Alexander King. The recording ends abruptly. (3) The last section is a series of commercials, and possibly outtakes from commercials, for the Los Angeles men’s clothing store Zeidler and Zeidler.

Identifier: LB_11 Full length: 31:41

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 12, 1962

Bruce performs several bits and discusses topical matters, Including: his arrest for obscenity, Irv “Kup” Kupcinet, Will Leonard, Jewish vs. Goyishe, Paul Molloy. Jimmy Hoffa, Jewish bigotry, Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers), Custody/Get Even, Stag Film vs. King of Kings, Transvestites Posing as Police, We Did it to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars and Bad Toilet Training, Australia, Thank You Masked Man, Ivan Bunny, Bobby Kennedy. The recording ends abruptly.

Identifier: LB_12 Full length: 31:28

1) Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 5, 1962, midnight (The Bust Show part 2); 2) December 9, 1962

(1) Final 16 minutes of the show on the night of December 4-5, 1962, known as The Bust Show (midnight performance). The performance ended in Bruce's arrest for obscenity. Bruce does Christ & Moses before being arrested, as was audience member George Carlin, who refused to show police his ID. (2) 15-minute section of a Gate of Horn show on December 9, 1962. Bruce reads from documents associated with his February 1962 arrest for obscenity in San Francisco. I Picked the Wrong God, speaks of Leopold and Loeb. The recording ends abruptly.

Identifier: LB_13 Full length: 31:48

San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 22, 1964 (part 2)

Bruce makes comments about the man "stuck up there in the booth" and talks about the jacket he has on. He does a bit about "chick singers", a bit about how it’s a myth that agents can make your career, talks of his recent obscenity trial in New York (the Café Au Go Go trial). He does a bit on the history of obscenity law, his bit Tits & Ass, he interacts with audience members and with accompanying musicians. The tape ends during a passage in which the band is playing and Bruce is interacting with an audience member.

Identifier: LB_14 Full length: 31:39

San Francisco, Curran Theater, November 19, 1961 (excerpt)

The show is in progress. Bruce is reading from a letter a woman sent him. He says he doesn’t do bits anymore and prefers to “cook and free-form it.” Speaks of the judge in his San Francisco obscenity trial.

Identifier: LB_15 Full length: 4:12

New York, NY, The Den, 1959

The recording starts with the show in progress. Bruce performs various bits and speaks of: J.J. Johnson, the magazine Downbeat, Copacabana owner Jules Podell, Mafia-connected club owners, his manager Jack Sobel, Jackie Paris, Mort Sahl, Burt Boyar, How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties, Sophie Tucker, Ted Shapiro, Bill Stern, the Paramount in Brooklyn, Miles Davis, Leopold and Loeb, Don Winslow, scenario of a Jewish boy visiting home from military school, George Washington interviewed by Mike Wallace. He then interacts with the audience. The recording ends in the midst of his bit White Collar Drunk.

Identifier: LB_17a Full length: 32:43

Location unknown, 1964

The set is in progress. Bruce does his bit about Barry Goldwater’s Jewish roots. He refers to his 1962 obscenity trial in San Francisco, and that he was acquitted. Since a tape of the performance was played at the trial, it’s in the public record and he plans to release it as an album, but with a warning that whoever sells it may be subject to the obscenity laws of his locality. The recording ends in the midst of his bit To Is a Preposition, Come Is a Verb.

Identifier: LB_17b Full length: 4:27

Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Community Theatre, December 12, 1965 (excerpt)

The show is known as The Berkeley Concert. This file covers approximately the third quarter of the show. Bruce does a bit about how his generation of men is terrified of being considered a “faggot.” He relates his surprise, when at Phil Spector’s jamboree rock concert, at seeing 10-year-old kids out without their parents. He does Flashers, then Midgets, wonders whether Pygmies are midgets, and imagines Gov. George Wallace’s reaction to Pygmies. He talks about Bela Lugosi and his son. He mentions a practice from the time of Christ’s crucifixion. He does How Negroes and Jews Became Entertainers and talks about his scenario for a movie about Christ and the Good Thief. He talks about the fallout from a joke about Cardinal Spellman, then does The Postman. He flips through a magazine with stories about celebrities and “lady-kinda ads.” He reads the ad for the Mark Eden Method Bust Developer.

Identifier: LB_18 Full length: 21:40

Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Community Theatre, December 12, 1965 (excerpt)

The show is known as The Berkeley Concert. Talks about the Catholic Church, Howard Johnson’s, Vietnam, protesters, the law, James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” bit How the Law Started/Craphouse. He says an “obscenity circus” has been going on around him for the past five years.

Identifier: LB_19 Full length: 20:29

New York, NY, The Den, April 1959

Drummer Buddy Rich, and singer Eileen Barton are in the audience. Bruce notes the set is being recorded by Max Weiss of Fantasy Records, and starts repeating a phrase so that the tape editor will be confused. He says he’s noticed that most of his audiences are male. Talks about Elizabeth Taylor, a picture of Fidel Castro and Vice-President Richard Nixon in the New York Times; about going on the Steve Allen show, integration, religious leaders, civil rights, capital punishment. He does Religions, Inc., and starts Father Flotsky.

Identifier: LB_20a Full length: 41:38

New York, NY The Den 1959

Bruce is known to have had engagements at The Den in April and during the fall of 1959. Bruce speaks of his agent, Jack Sobel, does The Palladium, Bronchitis, talks about doing doctor bits, does Nightclub Owners, speaks of not stealing from other comics.

Identifier: LB_20b Full length: 35:27

Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Community Theatre December 12, 1965 (excerpt)

The show is known as The Berkeley Concert. This file constitutes part four of four quarters (although without a definitive ending to the show). Bruce discusses women's breasts, lipstick and powder, dating advice, does No Guy Ever Cheated on His Wife/Guys Detach, Custody/Get Even, Divorce, Deny It, and a bit about Alaska.

Identifier: LB_21 Full length: 18:14

1) Lenny Bruce's last tape, August 1966; 2) Tim Hardin song

Recorded by Lenny Bruce in the days before his death on August 3, 1966, plus a song written and performed by Tim Hardin after Bruce’s death. Bruce riffs on what he is doing, testing the Sony Dynamic Microphone, speaks in Spanish, does a riff on a radio talk show called Nightline, does rants as an irate pornographer and as an irate narcotics addict, girlfriend Maury Haydn (Lotus Weinstock), beatniks, a used car salesman, a Senate investigating committee, Steve Allen and Phyllis Diller. The sixth section is Tim Hardin’s song “Lenny’s Tune,” a.k.a. “Eulogy to Lenny Bruce,” written and performed by Hardin after Bruce’s death.

Identifier: LB_22 Full length: 18:04

Bruce's home, conversation: Lenny Bruce, Allen Ginsberg, Phil Spector, January 25, 1966

Conversation among Lenny Bruce, Phil Spector and Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg recorded the conversation. The primary goal of the meeting was for Ginsberg to hear Bruce’s experience with being arrested for giving performances that contained obscene material, and his views on what legal steps can be taken to fight those charges. The secondary goal is for Spector and Bruce to discuss Bruce’s upcoming engagement, financially backed by Spector, at the Music Box theater in Los Angeles. As Spector and Ginsberg exit the house, Ginsberg leaves the recorder on during the walk. The recorder is shut off, then turned on again and Ginsberg identifies the time and date of the conversation “at the embattled, barbed wire household of Lenny Bruce.”

Identifier: LB_23 Full length: 1:21:21

Phone letter to Ralph J. Gleason, Saranac, NY, April 1964

Bruce says he is in Saranac, New York, convalescing (from pleurisy). He jokes that he’s “still trying to get even with everyone who did their job,” referring to “the Steve Allen people” and to his New York City obscenity trial (the Café au Go Go trial), which is in postponement because of his ailment. He reads from a letter to Steve Allen; it is unclear whether the letter was written by Bruce.

Identifier: LB_24 Full length: 6:40

Phone letter to Ralph J. Gleason, March 20, 1964

Bruce speaks of his arrests in Los Angeles both for obscenity and for possession of narcotics. Bruce starts by joking that he’s living on a boat that’s “outside the three-mile limit.” He then tells Gleason about his arrest the previous night, at his home, for having given obscene performances at the Trolley Ho nightclub in Los Angeles (under California Penal Code 311.6). The police had recorded two of the performances. Bruce notes that there had been no complaints from patrons. He says that in light of this, his upcoming gig in Detroit was canceled. He wonders if this arrest is connected to him having filed a complaint against Dr. Thomas Gore, who was a prosecution witness in his recent trial for possession of narcotics. He expresses frustration with the police. He ends with joking comments, reading from a law book about regulations regarding kosher meat, and then about a law against aiding a suicide.

Identifier: LB_25 Full length: 11:56

Chicago, Gate of Horn December 9, 1962 (first set, part 1)

Bruce speaks about and reads from documents associated with his February 1962 arrest for obscenity in San Francisco, including Bruce's own letter to Judge Clayton Horn and tells how it resulted in his being charged with contempt of court. He works the bit I Picked the Wrong God into his remarks about the trial and mentions Leopold and Loeb. He talks about the abundance of police cars in front of the Gate of Horn at the previous night’s performance. He notes that because the charge was “contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor,” since a minor was present at the show, he has lost bookings in New York. He says he has sold his house, and his money is gone. He does the bit We Killed Christ.

Identifier: LB_26a Full length: 31:03

Chicago, Gate of Horn December 9, 1962 (first set)

Bruce speaks of the mine explosion at Green County, Pennsylvania a few days prior. He does the Transylvania bit, Airplane Glue, interview with George Washington, King Kong and Tarzan. Via a dramatization of how his father used to hit him, he says he became acutely attuned to his father’s moods, and this in turn made him very sensitive to the moods of audience members (“I know when you’re bugged, I know when I’m boring, I know when I’m offensive”). He talks about obscenity, Tab Hunter, slang used by black gay men, double-entendres used by comics, the nature of gay relationships. The tape ends during an exchange between Bruce and Gate of Horn owner Alan Ribback about Jackie Mason having just criticized censorship (this was witnessed by Ribback, but it’s unknown whether it was live or on television or radio).

Identifier: LB_26b Full length: 30:50

1) San Francisco, Off Broadway, July 1, 1964 10:12 p.m.; 2) August 1, 1964, 10 p.m.

Bruce riffs about razor blades, his recent legal troubles, obscenity, how he got in trouble for part of his bit The Reason We Left England, the difference in the secular and the Catholic definitions of obscenity. He does the bit The Christian God Has a Face, the Jewish God Doesn’t. He talks about other countries’ views of American race relations and does I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House. He does his bit on Barry Goldwater and his Jewish roots. He talks about the double standard in depicting sex vs. violence. He does the bit The Origin of Bestiality Laws. He does The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul) and Filipinos. He mentions his obscenity trial in New York (the Café Au Go Go trial). He does Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight? and People Don’t Talk That Way to Judges. He does Goldwater Talks to Negroes, talks about prejudice and Lee Harvey Oswald. He does Men Are Carnal, Bestiality Law, Custody/Get Even, Deny It. The file ends during the bit.

Identifier: LB_27a Full length: 30:29

1) San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 1, 1964, 10 p.m. (part 2); 2) Location unknown, 1964

Bruce continues the bits Deny It and Hotels Are Dirty. Talks about a bit of his about Eleanor Roosevelt and his current obscenity trial in New York (the Café Au Go Go trial). Bruce does his bit about Obscenity Law and discusses obscenity. He talks about when Norman words took over for Anglo-Saxon ones, providing euphemisms (such as “mutton” for the meat of sheep). He talks about Hugh Hefner’s intentions with Playboy. He talks about pornography, masturbation, crime, and Jews. He does the bit People Don’t Talk That Way to Judges. He talks about Barry Goldwater’s Jewish roots, prejudice and Lee Harvey Oswald. He does the bits The Romans Segregated the Christians with Lions and We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars

Identifier: LB_27b Full length: 27:26

Lenny Bruce on Drugs compilation (part 1), dates and location unknown

The first seven clips are variations on his routine on marijuana. In the third and sixth clip he mentions The Chronicle, which would place the performances in San Francisco. The eighth clip features the marijuana material, a bit about medication, his routine Airplane Glue, and a bit about an old Jewish man buying Zig Zag rolling papers. The ninth and tenth clips are variations on Airplane Glue, with the kid who sniffs glue appearing on Paul Coates’ tabloid TV show. The tenth clip is truncated, ending during the bit.

Identifier: LB_30a Full length: 30:41

1) Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 5, 1962, midnight (The Bust Show); 2) Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 9, 1962

Begins with the final 16 minutes of the show on December 4, 1962, known as The Bust Show (it was the midnight performance, therefore technically during the early hours of December 5). The performance ended in Bruce's arrest for obscenity. Bruce does his bit Christ & Moses. He refers to a gig he did in Milwaukee, then does his bit about playing at small-town venues. He talks about his fans and obscenity. Men's voices can be heard--it's the police. Bruce says "It's the first time they've made a bust right in an audience" and imagines he's "Superjew" who can fly out the back way. An officer tells audience members to take their seats and show identification. The announcer says, "Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a new star of our show." Jazz music starts playing on the p.a. (Bruce was then arrested, as was audience member George Carlin, who refused to show police his ID). The recording continues with the first part of a Lenny Bruce performance at the Gate of Horn on December 9, 1962. Bruce talks about his obscenity case, his February 1962 arrest for obscenity in San Francisco. He inserts his bit I Picked the Wrong God. Mentions Leopold and Loeb.

Identifier: LB_32a Full length: 30:35

1) Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 9, 1962; 2) San Francisco, Off Broadway 1964; 3) Date and location unknown; 4) Zeidler & Zeidler commercials

(1) Bruce talks about his trial, mentions Leopold and Loeb, his arrest for obscenity days earlier, the abundance of police cars in front of the Gate of Horn at the previous night’s performance. The recording abruptly switches to a different performance, in progress, that most likely takes place in 1964, because he mentions Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. The place is unknown, but is possibly the Off Broadway club in San Francisco. Bruce contends that much of his legal trouble in the preceding four years has been because of his material on religion. Discusses differences between Christians and Jews. The recording ends abruptly, then continues (it may be the same performance, or yet another performance). He talks about Las Vegas and the things he did to get thrown out of Las Vegas. He then refers to Shelley Berman, Alan King, George Gobel, Pinky Lee, Bert Parks and Alexander King. The last section is a series of commercials, and possibly outtakes from commercials, for the Los Angeles men’s clothing store Zeidler and Zeidler.

Identifier: LB_32b Full length: 30:58

Lenny Bruce interviewed in Miami, 1959 or 1960

Interview by journalist Gary Shenfer of Lenny Bruce in Miami (or Miami Beach) at the El Patio club. There is an unknown third man present who makes a comment and asks some questions. Bruce answers some questions seriously and also does shtik. Bruce talks about the early years of his career, differences between audiences and regions, and television. Bruce recounts how he got the label “sick comic.” He talks about the cover of his album “The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce” and says he has a new album (“I Am Not a Nut, Elect Me,” which was recorded in 1959 and released in 1960). He talks about critics and is asked about the recent Congressional hearings about rigged quiz shows. He lists his favorite painters, says he writes columns for Rogue magazine and The Realist, and lists magazines he reads and books he’s read recently. He discusses how he develops material for his act, and how spontaneity figures in. Talks about segregation, Perry Como.

Identifier: LB_34a Full length: 29:32

1) San Francisco, Fack's II, October 24, 1958 (end of a set); 2) Los Angeles Club Renaissance, 1962

May be from different sets and may not be in chronological order. The first clip begins as the set is in progress, with Bruce imagining that Pope Pius XII would sneak in one night to see him. He wonders if the name Pope Pius was, like Rip Torn, dreamed up by Hollywood talent agent Henry Willson. He reads from a negative review by Army Archerd of his performance at The Interlude, a Los Angeles club, in which patrons of the club are called “limp-wristers.” Bruce does his Lie Detector bit. He points out that the California statute 288a calls criminal many sex acts that he assumes the audience has practiced. What is possibly a different set has Bruce doing bit with Santa Claus as the subject of Edward R. Murrow’s show “Person to Person.” A third section begins. The location is Club Renaissance in Los Angeles. The exact date is not known, but the year is probably 1962. Bruce refers to the fact that the previous Sunday he’d only sold 500 tickets for a show at the Curran Theater in San Francisco, leaving 1100 empty seats. The next clip is a few seconds of a bit about how Englishmen can say ‘crap’ and it sounds classy.

Identifier: LB_39a Full length: 11:34

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 15, 1962

Bruce starts to do Christ & Moses, then veers into I Picked on the Wrong God. He then talks about Lyndon Johnson’s southern accent. A new set begins. Bruce blames the Maryland Hotel cleaning service for the fact that he’s wearing a raincoat. He says, “I’m really paranoid about getting busted so much” (he had been arrested for his Gate of Horn show during the early hours of December 5). He does the bits Jewish vs. Goyishe and (Chicago columnist) Paul Molloy & Christianity. He does Custody/Get Even, Stag Film vs. King of Kings, History of Obscenity, Transvestites Posing as Policemen, Never Cop to It, Lie Detector, Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers), Italians Were the Enemy and Gypsies, He does Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight?, The Clap, Las Vegas Tits & Ass, Lie Detector, Thank You Masked Man, and Dykes and Flashers.

Identifier: LB_41a Full length: 31:40

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 15, 1962

Bruce discusses the Maryland Hotel cleaning service, the Captain Howdy Show, and singer Gary Crosby. He does Lima, Ohio, discusses his arrest for obscenity in Los Angeles, does his bit Schmuck. He refers to his bust at the Gate of Horn (during the early hours of December 5). He talks about Chicago columnist Paul Molloy, does Custody/Get Even, Stag Film vs. King of Kings, History of Obscenity, Las Vegas Tits & Ass, The Clap, Father Flotsky, Chicago Corruption, Shelley Berman and Chicago Shtarkers, Barney & the Hecklers, Italians Were the Enemy, Adolf Eichmann, and Communism & the Phone Company. He mentions anti-integrationists Ross Barnet and General Edwin A. Walker and wonders what Christ would think about them.

Identifier: LB_41b Full length: 30:41

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 13, 1962

Bruce does his bit The Clap, gets indignant about the hypocrisy regarding the disease. The second set begins. Bruce refers to his attire, reads from the transcript of his trial for obscenity in San Francisco earlier that year, talks about the hostility in the audience. He does I Picked on the Wrong God. He holds up a picture of a woman in a nudie magazine and says “the name Hugh Hefner will be in the history books” for taking the stigma away from nudity and sex. He does Doing It Is Filthy. He does the bits We Killed Christ, Flashers, Christ & Moses, Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight?, and Black Black Woman White White Woman.

Identifier: LB_42a Full length: 30:39

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 13, 1962

Bruce continues his Norman Thomas bit with a rundown of persecuted groups: the Irish, the Filipinos and “midgets.” He does Ten Thousand Asses (Tigers & Lions), then Shelley Berman & Chicago Shtarkers. He discusses the Bay of Pigs and continues the Shelley Berman bit, tells Catholics they’re lucky to have confession, refers to the sex scandals involving Bill Tilden and Fatty Arbuckle and remarks that people are now walking out of the show. He does the bit Divorce & Motels.

Identifier: LB_42b Full length: 29:15

New York, NY, The Den, 1959

The recording starts with the show in progress. Bruce identifies in the audience jazz musician J.J. Johnson, and someone from the magazine Downbeat. He discusses Jules Podell, his manager, Jack Sobel, Jackie Paris, Mort Sahl, and Burt Boyar. He does some of his bit How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties, to prove that Boyar misinterpreted it as racist. He discusses New York sportscaster Bill Stern, and talks about a jazz show he went to. He cautions that jazz is getting too much of a snob appeal. He does some of his bit on Leopold and Loeb, then interacts with the audience. He does his bit of George Washington interviewed by Mike Wallace. The recording ends in the midst of his bit White Collar Drunk.

Identifier: LB_43a Full length: 30:32

Location unknown, 1964

The set is in progress. Bruce does his bit about Barry Goldwater’s Jewish roots, which suggests that it is 1964. He refers to his 1962 obscenity trial in San Francisco, and that he was acquitted. Since a tape of the performance was played at the trial, it’s in the public record and he plans to release it as an album, but with a warning that whoever sells it may be subject to the obscenity laws of his locality. The recording ends in the midst of his bit To Is a Preposition, Come Is a Verb.

Identifier: LB_43b Full length: 5:27

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 13, 1962

Starts in the midst of his bit Flashers. He then does Christ & Moses, Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight? and Black Black Woman White White Woman. He gives a rundown of persecuted groups, does Ten Thousand Asses (Tigers & Lions), then Shelley Berman & Chicago Shtarkers. He says he was hip to the Bay of Pigs before most people. He tells Catholics they’re lucky to have confession. He refers to the sex scandals involving Bill Tilden and Fatty Arbuckle. He remarks that people are now walking out of the show. He does the bit Divorce & Motels.

Identifier: LB_44a Full length: 31:14

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 13, 1962

Bruce continues the bit Divorce & Motels, inserting a comment about his difficulties acting like a father to his daughter. The set ends.

Identifier: LB_44b Full length: 6:24

Conversation: Lenny Bruce, Albert Bendich and Ralph J. Gleason, date and location unknown (part 3)

Third part of a conversation among comedian Lenny Bruce, attorney Albert Bendich and journalist Ralph J. Gleason. Bruce seeks Bendich’s advice. Bendich is impressed by the thoroughness of Bruce’s research. The tape ends abruptly during the conversation.

Identifier: LB_45a Full length: 45:35

Compilation of performance clips, (1-4) date and location unknown; 5) Chicago, Gate of horn, Nov-Dec 1962

The first clip captures Bruce’s piece about doctors in old Hollywood movies, and continues with his bit Fay Bainter. The second clip is a bit on how Lawrence Welk’s accent and square persona were just a put-on. The third clip is his bit on a Jewish mother in Miami who’s the only one who doesn’t know her son is gay. The fourth clip is about a bordello in Europe at which the whores and customers dress in costumes. The fifth clip is his bit The Clap and was recorded during Bruce’s engagement at the Chicago club The Gate of Horn in November-December 1962. The fifth clip is the bit Chick Singer with a Gimmick.

Identifier: LB_45b Full length: 21:37

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 15, 1962; Los Angeles, Club Renaissance, 1962 (part 1)

(1) Bruce does the bit Flashers, then Snot. He comments on the three people who just walked out, mentions Tab Hunter’s arrest, does We Killed Christ, and ends the set with Ben Hur’s Mother & Sister. (2) Bruce is in the midst of the bit We Killed Christ. He does Ten Thousand Asses (Tigers & Lions) and repeats a quote where JFK used the term “son of a bitch.” The set ends. (3) The set is in progress. Bruce does The Act Is Hugging & Kissing, The Clap. He talks about tourist vs. first class on planes and riffs on the TV series “The Millionaire.” He speaks fondly of an Atwater-Kent radio he had, and sings the theme song from the Uncle Don Show from Detroit. The recording ends in the midst of the bit George Shearing.

Identifier: LB_46a Full length: 30:34

1) Los Angeles, Club Renaissance, 1962 (part 2); 2) Lenny Bruce on Drugs (part 2)

He mentions the comic Bill Dana and the San Francisco club the hungry i. He calls Gene Norman, owner of The Crescendo in Los Angeles, insane. He does the bit Chicks Are Boss. The set ends. A series of short clips follows, date and venue unknown. The first is a variation on Chicks Are Boss. The next section is a montage of very short clips of bits involving drug use. The last clip is the beginning of the bit 1100 Winos.

Identifier: LB_46b Full length: 19:40

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 14, 1962 (part 1)

Bruce is in the midst of recounting the incident for which he was accused of assault and battery on a TV cameraman in Los Angeles. The man brought a civil suit against him. He does Las Vegas Tits & Ass. He doesn’t like double-entendre comics like Belle Barth, and to prove it says an obscenity straightforward. He uncharacteristically tells a joke with a punchline, and inserts JFK into it. He does We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars, Unscrew You, Never Cop Out, Custody/Get Even, Stag Film vs. King of Kings, Jimmy Hoffa and Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers). He does Communism/The Phone Company. The file ends during Shelley Berman & the Chicago Shtarkers.

Identifier: LB_47a Full length: 30:36

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 14, 1962 (part 2)

Bruce is in the midst of Shelley Berman & the Chicago Shtarkers. He does Barney & the Hecklers, talks to a doctor and his wife in the audience. He asserts that chicks are the boss. He speculates on Rock Hudson’s sexuality. He says men will have sex with anything. He does Christ & Moses, sings a bit in Yiddish, and closes the set with Ben Hur’s mother & sister.

Identifier: LB_47b Full length: 21:23

New York, NY, Carnegie Hall, February 4, 1961 (part 2)

Also known as The Midnight Concert. Bruce talks about undetected perverts, generational differences in sexual practice, and does his bit Chick Singer With a Gimmick. He discusses the way violence in “Psycho” is accepted but not sex in movies, and how this attitude of silencing talk about sex can end in tragedy. He does the bits Las Vegas Tits & Ass, The Clap, Gypsies, and Christ & Moses. He talks about food that used to be good for you but is now bad for you, pill addicts, and homosexuals on trial in Miami. He comments on contemporaries Mort Sahl and Bob Newhart and does his bit Shelley Berman & Chicago Shtarkers.

Identifier: LB_49a Full length: 34:01

New York, NY, Carnegie Hall, February 4, 1961 (part 1)

Also known as The Midnight Concert. Bruce is introduced by booker Don Friedman. Bruce talks about the fantasies that come to mind as he faces a Carnegie Hall audience for the first time. He reacts to people in the balcony who yell for him to speak louder. He talks about changes in Miami and an absurd kidnapping there. He talks about the Romans’ treatment of Christians and anti-Semitism. He does Black Black Woman White White Woman. He does his bits Schmuck, Small-town Audiences, Dykes, and the Jewish mother who still doesn’t know her son is gay.

Identifier: LB_50a Full length: 37:16

Conversation: Lenny Bruce, Albert Bendich and Ralph J. Gleason, date and location unknown (part 1)

First part (of three) of a conversation among comedian Lenny Bruce, attorney Albert Bendich and journalist Ralph J. Gleason. The date is not known but most likely took place after Bruce’s sentencing in June of 1963 for narcotics possession. The place might be Los Angeles, where Bruce lived, or San Francisco, where Bendich and Gleason were based. Bendich had been Bruce’s defense counsel in his 1962 obscenity trial in San Francisco (Bruce was acquitted). Gleason was a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle who was an early fan and supporter of Bruce. Names mentioned include Tony Viscarra, the friend who was with Bruce at the time of the arrest, police Sgt. Joel Lesnick and Sgt. John L. White, who made the arrest and Robert Coogan, Jr., who owned the Grand Prix Hobby Shop and sold drugs there. Bruce contends that he was framed, and that the heroin reputed to belong to him was planted by White. Bendich tries to ascertain whether the precedent of Gascon v. Superior Court 1959, an unlawful search and seizure case, could apply here. Bruce reads from transcripts of the preliminary hearing and the trial.

Identifier: LB_51a Full length: 39:41

Conversation: Lenny Bruce, Albert Bendich and Ralph J. Gleason, date and location unknown (part 2)

Second part (of three) of a conversation among comedian Lenny Bruce, attorney Albert Bendich and journalist Ralph J. Gleason. In this conversation, Bruce seeks Bendich’s advice as to whether he has grounds to appeal his conviction on a narcotics charge in Los Angeles. Bruce believes he was framed. As “comedy relief,” Bruce tells an anecdote, using a W.C. Fields voice, about the judge.

Identifier: LB_51b Full length: 40:44

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 9, 1962

A discussion of Jackie Mason speaking out against censorship—in response to Bruce’s arrest for obscenity at the Gate of Horn days earlier—continues. Bruce talks about who gets to judge, and does a riff on Sophie Tucker as a scolding mother. The recording continues with the beginning of the second set. Bruce riffs that he was late because he’d been kidnapped. From Indecency, he goes into the bits Custody/Get Even and Stag Film vs. King of Kings. He uses the word shit and says the Supreme Court ruled that it’s not obscene if you’re talking about narcotics. He does the bits Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers) and Las Vegas Tits & Ass. He does his bit about wanting to give the audience members lie detector tests about infidelity and homosexuality. He refers to Tab Hunter's arrest for allegedly beating his dog.

Identifier: LB_52a Full length: 30:43

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 13, 1962

Bruce asks the lighting man to turn out all the lights, and says it’s fun in the dark when we’re together, but not alone. He does his bit Custody/Get Even, inserts a little of King Kong, and goes into Stag Film vs. King of Kings. He does Las Vegas Tits & Ass, then Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers), Doing It Is Dirty and We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars. He does his bit about wanting to give the audience members lie detector tests about infidelity and homosexuality and refers to Tab Hunter's arrest for allegedly beating his dog. He does Thank You Masked Man, We Killed Christ and Christ & Moses. He starts his bit The Clap, then has an exchange with an angry man in the audience who wants his money back ($5).

Identifier: LB_52b Full length: 30:42

Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Community Theatre, December 12, 1965 (excerpts)

The show is known as The Berkeley Concert. Bruce mentions his bit Religions Inc. from four years earlier. He calls Lyndon Johnson is a shitkicker, but says Kennedy was sophisticated. He does his bit about Jack Ruby and Melvin Belli. He does No Guy Ever Cheated on His Wife/Guys Detach. He loses his place, then continues to Custody/Get Even, Divorce, and Deny It. He claims he’s Ralph J. Gleason (the San Francisco Chronicle writer who was a friend and supporter). He does Flashers.

Identifier: LB_54a Full length: 30:21

1) Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Community Theatre, December 12, 1965 (excerpt); 2) San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 26, 1964, 10:05 p.m.; 3) San Francisco, Off Broadway, July 12, 1964

(1) Bruce continues the bit Flashers, then does Midgets, wonders whether Pygmies are midgets, and imagines Gov. George Wallace’s reaction to Pygmies. (2) The bit The Reason We Left England is in progress. He does The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul), Custody/Get Even, Deny It, Are There Any Niggers Here? and Filipinos. (3) Bruce does his bit on Barry Goldwater and his Jewish roots, People Don’t Talk That Way to Judges. He talks about race relations and does Dick Gregory, I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House and Goldwater Talks to Negroes. The file ends during the bit Las Vegas Tits & Ass.

Identifier: LB_54b Full length: 30:18

1) Warning by Nassau County New York Asst. District Attorney, June 1964; 2) Phone letter to Ralph J. Gleason, March 20, 1964; (3) Phone letter to Ralph J. Gleason, April 1964 

(1) The first recording is from June 26, 1964 and captures Nassau County New York Assistant District Attorney Norman Levy warning Lenny Bruce not to violate the obscenity laws of the state of New York during his engagement at The Cork N’ Bib Restaurant. Bruce introduces Levy to his attorney, Mark Blumenthal. Levy introduces “Inspector Vicviolo, head of the District Attorney squad.” Bruce tries to argue about the intricacies of obscenity law with Levy, but Levy will not engage and says that it will be their judgment that counts as to whether Bruce’s act violates the law. Bruce wonders whether it is the usual practice to confront performers before their shows. Bruce gives permission for Levy to tape his show. (2) “Phone letter” by Lenny Bruce to Ralph J. Gleason. Bruce tells Gleason about his arrest the previous night, at his home, for having given obscene performances at the Trolley Ho nightclub in Los Angeles (under California Penal Code 311.6). (3) “Phone letter” by Lenny Bruce to Ralph J. Gleason. Bruce says he is in Saranac, New York, convalescing (from pleurisy). He reads from a letter to Steve Allen, riffs on the Adam and Eve story and tells Gleason not to give anything to Max Weiss.

Identifier: LB_55a Full length: 38:43

Lenny Bruce's last tape, August 1966; 1964 performance, possibly San Francisco, Off Broadway

Free-form bits recorded by Bruce in the days before his death on August 3, 1966. In the first section, Bruce riffs on what he is doing, testing the Sony Dynamic Microphone. In the second section, he says some phrases in Spanish. In the third section, he plays the roles of the host of a radio talk show called Nightline, and of some callers. In the fourth section, he does rants as an irate pornographer and as an irate narcotics addict. The next section is a performance from 1964. Bruce’s bit about Barry Goldwater is in progress. He goes on to talk about prejudices about British accents vs. Southern accents, and does his bit on obscenity law. He discusses aspects of his trials. He does Marijuana, Guys Can Detach, Bestiality, and the recording ends during the bit Chicken.

Identifier: LB_55b Full length: 40:07

Phone letter to Ralph J. Gleason via office of John Magnuson June 28, 1965

Dictated on June 28, 1965 over the phone to an unnamed secretary for John Magnuson at Imagination Inc. in San Francisco (Magnuson produced “The Lenny Bruce Performance Film” and the animated “Thank You Mask Man”). Bruce reads from a letter dated May 21, 1965, by attorney Allen Schwartz, who represented Bruce’s co-defendants Howard and Ella Solomon in the 1964 New York obscenity trial. Schwartz tells Bruce about his meeting with New York City License Inspector Herbert S. Ruhe. Bruce then makes his own comments about what is in the letter. He ends the call with some jokes.

Identifier: LB_56 Full length: 20:41

Los Angeles, Club Renaissance, 1962

Lenny Bruce performance. Bruce does some bits about air travel. He does short jokes about Liberace, Richard Nixon, Paul Robeson, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sophie Tucker. He does The Romans Segregated Christians with Lions and Black Black Woman White White Woman. He does a bit on mothers of different ethnicities. He mentions the club owner Benny (Ben I. Shapiro) and does Santa Claus interviewed by Edward R. Murrow.

Identifier: LB_57 Full length: 25:34

Los Angeles, Club Renaissance, 1962

Performance by Lenny Bruce. Bruce does The Act Is Hugging & Kissing. He does his bit The Clap. He talks about tourist vs. first class on planes. He riffs on the TV series “The Millionaire.” He speaks fondly of an Atwater-Kent radio he had, and sings the theme song from the Uncle Don show from Detroit. He does his bit on blind pianist George Shearing. He does the bit Chicks Are Boss.

Identifier: LB_58 Full length: 31:50

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 13, 1962 (first and second sets)

Bruce does his bit Custody/Get Even, inserts a little of King Kong, and goes into Stag Film vs. King of Kings. He does Las Vegas Tits & Ass, then Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers), Doing It Is Dirty and We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars. He does his bit about wanting to give the audience members lie detector tests about infidelity and homosexuality and refers to Tab Hunter's arrest for allegedly beating his dog. He does Thank You Masked Man, We Killed Christ and Christ & Moses. He starts his bit The Clap, then has an exchange with an angry man in the audience who wants his money back ($5). The second set begins. Bruce refers to his attire, a raincoat, pants and mismatched socks. He reads from the transcript of his trial for obscenity in San Francisco earlier that year. He does I Picked on the Wrong God. With the bit We Killed Christ he explains how his arrests are really for talking about Christianity. He does Christ & Moses, Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight?, and Black Black Woman White White Woman.

Identifier: LB_59 Full length: 1:31:20

Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Community Theatre December 12, 1965

The show is known as The Berkeley Concert. Bruce mentions protesters demonstrating against policemen, and does How the Law Started/Craphouse. He does his bit on Southern accents and Lyndon Johnson. He calls the Johnsons the biggest non-Jews in the world. Bruce mentions his bit Religions Inc. from four years earlier. He does his bit about Jack Ruby and Melvin Belli. Bruce talks about doctors and says he’s done a lot of hospital time in the last couple of years. He does Flashers, then Midgets, wonders whether Pygmies are midgets, and imagines Gov. George Wallace’s reaction to Pygmies. He talks about Bela Lugosi and his son, does How Negroes and Jews Became Entertainers, talks about his scenario for a movie about Christ and the Good Thief, then continues to Custody/Get Even, Divorce, and Deny It.

Identifier: LB_61a Full length: 1:20:52

San Francisco Off Broadway July 31, 1964 10:12 p.m.; August 1, 1964 10 p.m., 11:25 p.m.

Bruce begins by riffing with some audience members. He does his bit The Christian God Has a Face, the Jewish God Doesn’t, I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House and his bit on Barry Goldwater and his Jewish roots. He talks about the double standard in depicting sex vs. violence. He does The Origin of Bestiality Laws. A new set starts. He does The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul). He does his bit The Christian God Has a Face, the Jewish God Doesn’t. He does Filipinos. He mentions his obscenity trial in New York (the Café Au Go Go trial). He does Barry Goldwater and his Jewish roots, I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House, Goldwater Talks to Negroes, Men Are Carnal, Bestiality Law, Custody/Get Even, Deny It and Hotels Are Dirty. A new set begins. Bruce talks about the mixed reaction he got during the first show. He says three guys at the previous night’s show were obviously law enforcement. He talks about how the Yiddish approach to language is different. He does his bit The Christian God Has a Face, the Jewish God Doesn’t. He does Dick Gregory and I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House.

Identifier: LB_62a Full length: 1:36:11

1) San Francisco, Off Broadway, July 17, 1964, 10:12 p.m.; 2) San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 1, 1964, 3:10 a.m.

Bruce’s bit People Don’t Talk That Way to Judges is in progress. He mentions Judge Clayton Horn from his second San Francisco obscenity trial and Judge John Murtagh from his current New York trial (the Café Au Go Go trial). He does his bit on Barry Goldwater and his Jewish roots. He does I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House, Dick Gregory, Goldwater Talks to Negroes, Las Vegas Tits & Ass, The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul), Schmuck, Flashers, and Custody/Get Even and Deny It. A new set begins. He does The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul). He does his bit The Christian God Has a Face, the Jewish God Doesn’t and I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House. He talks about his San Francisco obscenity trial. He does Men Are Carnal, Las Vegas Tits & Ass and the origin of Obscenity Law, Marijuana, and Airplane Glue.

Identifier: LB_62b Full length: 1:36:10

1) San Francisco, Off Broadway, July 17, 1964, 10:12 p.m.; 2) San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 1, 1964, 3:10 a.m.

Bruce’s bit People Don’t Talk That Way to Judges is in progress. He mentions Judge Clayton Horn from his second San Francisco obscenity trial and Judge John Murtagh from his current New York trial (the Café Au Go Go trial). He does his bit on Barry Goldwater and his Jewish roots. He does I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House, Dick Gregory and Goldwater Talks to Negroes, Las Vegas Tits & Ass, The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul), Schmuck, Flashers, Custody/Get Even and Deny It, and The Reason We Left England. A new set begins. Bruce talks about how, in light of his recent legal troubles, he’s tried to understand the prosecutors. He does The Best Man in the Tribe (St. Paul), The Christian God Has a Face, the Jewish God Doesn’t, I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House, Men Are Carnal, Las Vegas Tits & Ass and the origin of Obscenity Law, Marijuana, and Airplane Glue.

Identifier: LB_62c Full length: 13:05

Chicago Gate of Horn December 14, 1962

This may be the third set of the night. Bruce is in the midst of his King Kong bit. He makes the first of several comments on a woman in the audience’s “meshuggener laugh.” He does Transvestites Posing as Policemen. He directs remarks at the police in this show’s audience. He does his bits Custody/Get Even, and Stag Film vs. King of Kings. He praises Hugh Hefner, who is making it so that the nude female body is no longer filthy. He does his bits Shelley Berman & Chicago Shtarkers and Barney & the Hecklers, then talks about homosexuals on trial in Miami. He does his bit on the Miami Kidnapping, then Airplane Glue, talks about marijuana, then does Christ & Moses, Small-Town Audiences, then Schmuck. He again talks to the cops. He does Fatboy, Filipinos, Midgets, Communism/The Phone Company, and We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars.

Identifier: LB_63a Full length: 53:51

Chicago, Gate of Horn, December 14, 1962 (first set)

Bruce holds up a magazine with a picture of a nude or scantily clad woman and asks, how can that chick be indecent? He criticizes Chicago columnist Paul Molloy for being sanctimonious. He comments on audience members walking out. He does Las Vegas Tits & Ass, We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars, Unscrew You, Never Cop Out, Custody/Get Even, Stag Film vs. King of Kings, Jimmy Hoffa and Would You Sell Out Your Country (Francis Gary Powers).

Identifier: LB_63b Full length: 1:36:24

Los Angeles, Club Renaissance, 1962

Bruce does some bits about air travel. He tells a story about having run into bandleader Les Elgart in Detroit. He does short jokes about Liberace, Richard Nixon, Paul Robeson, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sophie Tucker. He refers to the fact that the previous Sunday he’d only sold 500 tickets for a show at the Curran Theater in San Francisco, leaving 1100 empty seats. He does The Romans Segregated Christians with Lions.

Identifier: LB_64a Full length: 14:37

San Francisco, Fack's II, October 24, 1958 (first set)

Bruce begins the set (possibly the first set) by saying “Happy Friday” and talking about the club’s owner, George Andros. He reads a newspaper review of his opening night show at the club. He starts to do his bit about a sea monster at Coney Island who’s handled by an agent; the bit is known as The Monster or Heshie the Monster, but some people in the audience won’t stop talking.

Identifier: LB_64b Full length: 14:52

1) Location unknown, 1964; 2) San Francisco, Fack's II, October 24, 1958; 3) Location unknown, 1960 or 1961

Bruce is fed up with people saying he’s too concerned about integration, in the Shakespearean vein of “you protest too much.” He says non-Southerners are bigoted regarding people who talk Southern, like Lyndon Johnson. He says he shouldn’t talk politics because that’s the domain of Mort Sahl and Phyllis Kirk, “the Vic and Sade of show business.” The next section begins as the set is in progress, with Bruce imagining that Pope Pius XII would sneak in one night to see him. He points out that the California statute 288a calls criminal many sex acts that he assumes the audience has practiced, and that the law “made Caryl Chessman a pervert.” The third section is another show, in progress. Bruce is talking about a D.A. who was involved with narcotics. He calls writer Alexander King, a frequent guest on Jack Paar’s late-night show, “the junkie Mark Twain.” He does his bit on Fay Bainter, the actress who played Andy Hardy’s mother.

Identifier: LB_64c Full length: 13:05

San Francisco, Off Broadway, August 26, 1964, 10:05 p.m.

Bruce begins by using the microphone in a gesture of benediction; in his New York obscenity trial that was interpreted as being a masturbatory gesture. He mentions his arrests for giving obscene performances in Beverly Hills, and says we should keep prayer in the schools because we need to understand people who have religious training. He does I’ve Never Been Inside a Negro’s House. He does We Did It to Their Mothers for Chocolate Bars. He mentions a white minister being locked up for his protest in favor of civil rights (the reference is to Bruce W. Klunder). He does Dick Gregory, Las Vegas Tits & Ass, Bestiality, Chicken, and Schmuck. He talks about the prosecution witnesses at his recent New York obscenity trial, and does Art With a Little Piece of Shit in It.

Identifier: LB_65 Full length: 32:21

About the Lenny Bruce Collection

The Lenny Bruce collection consists of photographs, writings and transcripts, correspondence, news clippings and articles, audio visual materials, and trial materials, all related to Lenny Bruce’s performances and life, as well as some materials relating to his family members. A large portion of the collection is photographs of Lenny Bruce, Honey Bruce (his wife), Kitty Bruce (his daughter), Sally Marr (his mother) and Myron Schneider (his father), among others. The photographs document not only his professional career but also his personal life with family and friends. The writings and transcripts offer transcripts of his performances as well as showcase screenplays he had written as well as ones written about him. The series correspondence, writings and transcripts, and news clippings and articles also have materials pertaining to Lenny Bruce previously gathered by a close friend named Ralph J. Gleason, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle and later, the founding editor for Rolling Stone Magazine. The materials range in date from the early 1920s to the 2000s.