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With: Lenny Bruce
Written by: Lenny Bruce
Directed by: John Magnuson, Jeff Hale
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 68
Date: 03/18/2013

Lenny Bruce Performance Film (1967)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Obscene on Screen

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Sadly, this all-important record of legendary comic Lenny Bruce (1925-1966) came too late, after his three arrests for obscenity turned his routine into a rant. For 60 minutes, he reads over his court transcript and tells the misunderstood jokes in their proper context, though the impact just isn't there. Moreover, the entire film is captured in one single shot, but skewed a little off to one side, which gives the impression of constant discomfort.

DVD Details: Fortunately, Koch Vision's new DVD also comes with Jeff Hale's great 8-minute animated short film Thank You Mask Man (1971). Hale took a recording of a Bruce routine, a disturbed, stream-of-consciousness story about a Lone Ranger-like hero, and animated it. Bruce supplies some half dozen voices, and Hale responds by giving each voice its own animated character. The story doesn't make much sense and has no punch line, but it's so darn weird and unconventionally funny that it's a must-see.

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