Lenny Bruce Frank Kofsky - Essay

Frank Kofsky

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Bruce] arrived at an innovation that was, for its time, genuinely revolutionary: he would synthesize the vocation of nightclub comedian with the point of view of a radical social critic. In this way, Lenny was able to reach far greater numbers—and, no less crucial, reach them at a visceral level where his words demanded to be taken seriously—than the intellectual radicals were ever able to do. This, alas, was probably the key to his undoing. Had he been content to write his satirical scenarios in, say, Partisan Review or the New York Review, he probably would be alive—and wholly obscure—today. (p. 24)

If it was Bruce's mass appeal that set him apart from other social critics,...

(The entire section is 1552 words.)