103 - The Keepers: The Lenny Bruce Collection

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Manage episode 219524222 series 91619
By The Kitchen Sisters & Radiotopia and The Kitchen Sisters. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

One of the most controversial, outspoken men of the last century, comedian Lenny Bruce spent much of his life in court defending his freedom of speech and First Amendment rights. His provocative social commentary and “verbal jazz” offended mainstream culture and resulted in countless arrests on obscenity and other charges. Over the decades, since his death from a heroin overdose in1966, Lenny’s only child Kitty Bruce, became his keeper, gathering and preserving everything related to her father’s life. We follow the saga of this collection from daughter Kitty's attic — to archivist, Sarah Shoemaker, who drove a van to Kitty’s house in Pennsylvania to gather this historic collection to take to Brandeis University. With the help of an endowment from Bruce's long time friend and supporter Hugh Hefner, creator of Playboy Magazine, and his daughter Christie Heffner, the collection is now cataloged and open for use by all. The archive comes alive in the story of this brilliant, pioneering, complicated man who paved the way for comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Lewis Black.

153 episodes