How to Talk Dirty and Influence People

How to Talk Dirty and Influence People

An Autobiography

Book - 2016
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During the course of a career that began in the late 1940s, Lenny Bruce challenged the sanctity of organized religion and other societal and political conventions; he widened the boundaries of free speech. Critic Ralph Gleason said, "So many taboos have been lifted and so many comics have rushed through the doors Lenny opened. He utterly changed the world of comedy." Although Bruce died when he was only forty, his influence on the worlds of comedy, jazz, and satire are incalculable. How to Talk Dirty and Influence People remains a brilliant existential account of his life and the forces that made him the most important and controversial entertainer in history.
Publisher: Boston, MA : Da Capo Press, 2016
ISBN: 9780306825293
Characteristics: xviii, 188 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Black, Lewis 1948-
Reich, Howard


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Jul 10, 2018

I read this book so long ago that I decided to revisit and read it again. The best parts are the bits, probably from some of his routines, which still cause laughing out loud. However, some of the material is dated, but valuable historically to show how times change. The justice system then was so bothered by him that they hounded him as badly as the Internet can now hound people. He provides court records that show him caught in a kind of theatre of the absurd over what one could or couldn't legally say. The memoir portion of the book is rich with stories of his time in the Merchant Marine and his love with Honey Harlowe. Also he tells of a con game he ran of raising money to help foreign countries in the name of religion. (This reminded me of Elmore Leonard's novel, "Pagan Babies", which was about the exact same kind of scheme.) Though at times dated, he was also prescient, declaring marijuana would some day be legal. Lenny Bruce died in the mid-60's shortly after this book was first published, which adds a different dimension to reading about his hounded situation.

Feb 05, 2017

Lenny was a very, very bright guy.


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