1964 November 4

Lenny Bruce, Radical Comedian, Convicted of Obscenity in New York City

 

Comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested for obscenity on this day in New York City. He was arrested many times in his career on charges of obscenity (for example, October 4, 1961). His style of humor, radical for its time, savagely attacked American hypocrisy on sex, religion and race. Many believe that his arrests were provoked more by his attacks on the Catholic Church than for the dirty words in his routines.

Lenny Bruce’s style of socially and politically-oriented comedy profoundly influenced comedians for decades. He died of a heroin overdose in 1966. For his conviction on this day, he was pardoned posthumously by New York Governor George Pataki on December 23, 2003.

Learn about Lenny Bruce: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St0Y8-1BlCc

Learn more: Ronald K. L. Collins and David Skover, The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon (2002)

Visit the official Lenny Bruce website: http://www.lennybruceofficial.com/

Learn more about his 1964 trialhttp://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/bruce/bruce.html

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!