Liberal censorship at Brandeis cancels play about Lenny Bruce

Inside Higher Ed  – Lenny Bruce made a career of transgressing traditional social mores with his stand-up routines, culminating in his conviction for obscenity in 1964.

Now a production of a play based on Bruce’s comedy at Brandeis University has been canceled, after students and alumni rallied in opposition. They complained about what they called the play’s offensive and objectionable content, though this time objections came from the left.

…Though Bruce died in 1966, the play takes place in the present. According to drafts of the play reported on by two student publications at Brandeis, the play’s main character discovers old recordings of Bruce’s stand-up routine and makes plans to deliver a similar performance at Brandeis, which is met with university pushback and student protests.

The irony of a play based on a provocateur being canceled for being too provocative was not lost on some.

“The notion that the staging of a play about comedian Lenny Bruce would be held up over incendiary content seems too ironic to be true,” Globe reporter Mark Arsenault wrote. “Or like the setup for a scorching joke Bruce would have told.”





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