Lenny Bruce

A Rivers Runs Through It

06/07/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

In what must be one of the most peculiar assertions ever made by a major philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead once told an interlocutor that his only problem with the Jews was their lack of humor. Lack of humor?! Must have been those Anglo-Jewish academics he hung out with.

Writing From The Edge

07/24/2003 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Several years ago, when Philip Roth's novel "Portnoy's Complaint" turned 25, I spent a few days in the New York Public Library researching the Jewish community's reaction to the book. I discovered that the response to it (as well as to the stories in "Goodbye, Columbus," which appeared a few years earlier) was a combination of rage and puzzlement. The level of shock and hurt expressed by community leaders was less surprising to me, though, than the unanimity of response.

The Silverman Effect

12/22/2005 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The day after Richard Pryor died, longing to be transported comedically, I went to see Sarah Silverman's concert film "Jesus is Magic." I expected to be entertained, nothing more. Instead I was overwhelmed, not just by the sharpness of Silverman's delivery but by the surprise of her material. And like Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" (who uses a Jewish sensibility to expose the emptiness of much of our social discourse) Silverman puts her Jewishness front and center as she analyzes American life today.

And The Words Of The Prophets...

10/26/2006 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Years ago, I wrote a short story called "The Institute for Lenny Bruce Studies." The idea was that a wealthy Jewish donor created a think-tank on a sleepy New England campus, dedicated to jump-starting the "secular Jewish prophethood" that inspired him as a young radical. Institute Fellows would come from the fields of academics, politics, religion and stand-up comedy, and the two-year curriculum would include the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, the songs of Bob Dylan and, of course, the routines of Lenny Bruce.

The Chosen Comics

11/20/2002 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I’ve been fascinated with the origin, influence and texture of Jewish humor for as long as I can remember, but have resisted writing my thoughts on the matter given that, 1) no one knows exactly how humor works, Jewish or otherwise, and 2) such a column would inevitably be unfunny.

Stream Of Criticism For Jewish Comic Larry David

11/02/2009 - 19:00

 Lenny Bruce cursed a blue streak. Don Rickles insulted anyone within hearing distance. Sacha Baron Cohen has raised embarrassment of the unsuspected — Jews and non-Jews alike — into an art form. And for Sarah Silverman, not even the memory of the Holocaust is sacred.

David in mid-stream during last week’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
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