Lenny Bruce Jonathan Miller - Essay

Jonathan Miller

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Bruce is a beat magician, a Yiddish Ariel whose hesitant, mumbling, slipped-gear technique, full of breaks and riffs, untunes the ear of the conventional night-club audience who are used to getting their entertainment in a smooth flow of glossy chatter. He is not a public utility though. He mines his material from odd, irregular veins, surprising himself, as often as not, when he strikes a seam of original humor…. Following his act is like reading [James Joyce's] Finnegan's Wake over and over. (p. 150)

He has been called a sick comedian and yet I don't think the label could have been applied more inappropriately. He deals, it is true, with sex and disease, sometimes with unsettling...

(The entire section is 537 words.)