Resurrecting the Martyr of Comedy


“Are there any niggers here tonight?” queries Jason Fisher, deftly reincarnating Lenny Bruce circa 1960. As Fisher concludes the legendary “Nigger-Kike-Spic” routine—”The point is that the word’s suppression gives it its power. The violence. The viciousness”—one suspects that Bruce is spinning in his grave now that America’s most radioactive slur is usually abbreviated and gripped between quotational tongs: “the N-word.”

While not matching Bruce’s dark, Sheik of Araby good looks, Fisher nails his staccato stream of consciousness, whether in an absurd exposé of prejudice—”Midgets . . . they’re snotty. They’re unnatural, man. . . . And it’s always the same bitch with them too, you know? When you’re a midget you have a very limited point of view. Your whole world is a crotch”—or a hysterically high-pitched Dracula parody: “Do you like what Daddy does for a living? He sucks necks for money!” “You knew vaahht I vaahhs ven you married me!”

Bruce went to jail for saying “c – – – – – – – – r,” and was hounded by cops across the country who objected to impious bits like “Religion Incorporated.” It is with deeply sad, red-rimmed eyes that Fisher fully resurrects the satirist who OD’d in 1966 at the age of 40. Lenny died so that Richard Pryor, Randy Newman, Sarah Silverman, and all of comedy’s aristocrats might sin as they please.

So go. Pay your respects.

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