Theater: Imp of the Perverse

THE WORLD OF LENNY BRUCE

Assembled by FRANK SPEISER

To Lenny Bruce, hypocrisy was the prime obscenity. He wanted to exorcise it publicly. He wanted the hypocrite in each member of the audience to confess and condemn himself. He was a messianic imp of the perverse who wanted to cleanse souls through blasphemy, to free language with four-letter words, to restore nudity and copulation and natural bodily functions to the innocent purposes of nature.

He both succeeded and failed. He certainly brought about a change in inner attitudes, so that the comic material for which he was scorned and prosecuted meets with relatively easy...