Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth,

HBO, Aug. 9 and other dates

Before Eric Cartman, there was Lenny Bruce, and given the numerous calls today for the South Park brat and his ilk to clean up their act, the TV premiere of this Oscar-nominated documentary couldn't be better timed. Narrated by Robert De Niro, it follows the artistic evolution and downfall through specious obscenity prosecutions of the "dirty" comic. Bruce died of a 1966 drug overdose, but he comes to smoldering, indomitable hipster life here.

--By James Poniewozik


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