“I’m not sick. The world is sick. I’m the surgeon with the scalpel for false values.” — Meet Lenny Bruce’s daughter, Kitty.

Wess Haubrich
15 min readJul 30, 2018
Lenny Bruce mugshot circa his 1964 obscenity charges. Courtesy of cbldf.org

I caught up with the wonderful Kitty Bruce — daughter of the late great comedian and fighter for Free Speech and the First Amendment, Lenny Bruce — for a chat on comedy, freedom of speech, truth, media, addiction, her work with the Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation (which helps those in the throes of addiction afford treatment by providing scholarships), the new exhibit all about her father and his myriad, profound contributions to comedy and his fight which did so much to ensure that we all have the right to speak freely — opening soon at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY. The Center is also holding a “Comedy and the First Amendment” round-table with Kitty, Lewis Black, and First Amendment attorney-of-record Paul Cambria who has represented everyone from DMX to Marilyn Manson and even Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt.

Tickets for the grand opening and the round-table at the Center can be purchased here.

L-R : Wife Honey Bruce, Lenny Bruce, and Kitty Bruce in 1960. Photo via the New York Times.
L-R : Christie Hefner, Kitty Bruce and Ron Liebowitz at the opening of the Lenny Bruce Exhibit at Brandeis University in 2016. Photo courtesy of Brandeis University.

Lenny Bruce is arguably the single most important figure who held sway over the development of my love of barbed, satirical comedy — and more importantly my profound respect for our individual rights as enumerated in the US Constitution. Lenny Bruce did so much to make me a small “l” libertarian in my views on civil rights, and to make me question social norms and structures. The man’s work really opened my mind, while making me laugh hysterically along the way.

I remember first hearing Lenny’s “The Berkeley Concert” when I was a political science student. I thought, here was a guy who said some profound stuff in the parlance that was common in his day (the early ’60s) — he spoke those hard truths to his audience in a way that made his audience howl with laughter but also reflect profoundly on what they’re hearing. Lenny was further the picture of authenticity in his act: looking world-weary but always excited to speak…

Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.