Synopsis by Mark Deming
Lenny Bruce was easily the most controversial stand-up comic of his generation. Tackling subjects that were not common fodder for humorists in the mid-1950's -- religious hypocrisy, the power of forbidden language, sexual obsessions and hang-ups, racism, drugs and the absurdity of the American cultural landscape -- Bruce created hilarious but cutting satire that made many people laugh, but also made many people angry. Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth is a documentary about Bruce's life and career that follows him from his early days as a clean if eccentric stand-up performer (including a rare clip from his appearance on Arthur Godfrey's TV show) through his eventual "liberation," performing edgier material (with looser language) at strip joints and jazz clubs, and his many legal battles over obscenity and drugs that made him all but unemployable in the last few years before his death in 1966. Lenny Bruce: I Swear to Tell the Truth includes film clips of Bruce on stage and on television (including highlights from an unaired appearance on The Steve Allen Show), interviews with his friends and family (including his mother, Sally Marr, and his wife Honey) as well as his lawyers and the prosecutors who fought against him, home movies and excerpts from the amusingly sleazy B movie he wrote and starred in, Dance Hall Racket. Robert DeNiro narrates.
comedian, controversy, satire, stand-up-comedy