Lenny Bruce was not only a comic legend, but was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. His work had an impact on everything from politics, music, film and of course comedy. It’s because of Bruce’s legal battles challenging the first amendment that gave comedians Don Rickles, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Joan Rivers, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, just to name a few. the right to speak their mind without fear of legal consequences.
Sadly Lenny’s commitment to free speech and his numerous arrests for obscenity took a heavy toil on him. Lenny Bruce died in 1966 in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 40, but his legacy has and will always live on.
‘I Am Not A comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce’, directed by the multi-award winning actor Joe Mantegna and written by Ronnie Marmo and Jason M. Burns, is one play you do not want to miss and that is because of the exceptional portrayal of Lenny by Ronnie Marmo.
Marmo masterfully takes us through a journey of Lenny Bruce’s troubled life, including his successes, failures, his marriage to Honey Harlow, a stripper he met in a bar, the birth of his daughter Kitty and his relationship to his Long Island Jewish mother Sally Marr, a stand-up comic, dancer, actress and talent spotter, who greatly influenced his act.
Lenny was one of the first comedians that integrated satire, politics, religion, sex and vulgarity. As the title suggests, he didn’t consider himself a comedian, but an oral jazzman like the great Charlie Parker. As I watched Marmo on stage I couldn’t help but imagine what Lenny would say if he was alive in this political climate.
‘I Am Not A comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce’ opened on June 23rd at Theatre 68 located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood 91601. It runs through July 29, 2017. Performances are Fridays and Saturday at 8:00pm and Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are available at www.Theatre68.com or by calling 323-960-5068. Ticket prices are $25.00