Synopsis: Interview-style biography of controversial and pioneering stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. The film traces Bruce from his beginnings as a Catskills comic to his later underground popularity based on his anti-establishment politics and his scatological humor.
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director(s): Bob Fosse
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min

Oh, I would say, uh...

Let's see, he was busted

at least nine or ten times.

Twice for possession of narcotics,

and three, four times for obscenity.


Ladies and gentlemen, Lenny Bruce.

Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt

gave Lou Gehrig the clap?

"What'd he say? Jesus, does he

have to get that low for laughs?"

"What's the point?

That's really bad taste. "

The point... the point is

the suppression of words. Now, dig.

Here it is, 1964, and yet every doctor

I know tells me that a certain disease

is on its way to becoming an epidemic

again, when everybody knows

that one shot in the ass'd knock it out.

And yet there it is, VD,

right up there with the top ten.

Why? Because nobody talks about it.

Nobody even wants to say the word.

If the community chest

hits on you, do you say

"Excuse me, how much of my dollar

is going for the clap?"

I don't think you do.

What we have to do is talk about it.

What we really need is to get

some of our national heroes

to admit they've had it.

Eleanor Roosevelt

gave Lou Gehrig the clap.

She also gave it to

Chiang Kai-shek...

And he gave it to J Edgar Hoover,

man... which is how it really spread.

A boy gets the clap. Can he go to his

father? He can't relate to his father.

He's lucky if he can go to a schmuck

who sweeps up the drugstore.

- "I gotta talk to you. "

- "What's the matter?"

- "I got the clap. "

- "Oh, Jesus, where'd you get that?"

"Painting a car!

What's the difference? I got it. "

"What do you want?"

"You work in a drugstore.

Give me some pills. "

- "Oh, all right. Here. "

- "Dexedrine Spansules. Is this good?"

"It's all the same horseshit. Keeps

you awake so you know you got it. "

"The reason I want these pills is I got

a good job. I don't wanna get laid off. "

- "Yeah? Where you working?"

- "The meat-packing plant. "

I'll tell you what we really need.

Maybe one day Jerry Lewis

would go on television,

and instead of getting hung up

with muscular dystrophy,

he'd have a clapathon!

Forget it. It'll never happen.

You know why?

Because talking about it makes you

the worst person in the community.

When did you first meet Lenny?

It was back in 1951. Baltimore.

I was, uh, headlining... Headlining?

I was working at this club.

A- one, two, a-one, two, three, four!

? Now when

the saints go marching in, yeah

? Now when the saints

go marching in...


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Here's the moment that

you've all been waiting for.

So without further ado,

may we present "Hot" Honey Harlowe!

Let's hear it, everybody!

Oh, Eddie.

Look at that hair.

- Who's the guy over by the window?

- Lenny Bruce. He's a comic.

- What kind of comic?

- Lousy.

- I think I know her from somewhere.

- Fake hair.


- He's cute.

- Cute? He does crap.

Old jokes, lousy impressions.

But I really had problems when I was a

kid. It wasn't until I was eight years old

that I figured out my name

wasn't "Shut Up. "

All right, folks. How about some

bird impressions? Bobwhite.

Bobwhite backwards.

A duck.

A swallow.

A goose. Ooh!

Did you ever get the feeling that you're

in an amateur contest, and you're losing?

All right, folks.

Let's get back to the surefire stuff now.

So let's go to the Show Business

Hall of Fame, where the MC

is my good friend,

the old Schnozzola himself!

It's granite out there.

I went into the shoe store

and I said to the clerk

"Do you sell alligator shoes?"

And he said "What size

does your alligator wear?"

"You're really something, Durante. "

And now, I'd like to introduce ya to

my favourite singer, Vaughn Monroe.


? Racing with the moon

His act was so lousy, something

must have attracted you to him.

What was there about him?

Well, he was just, um...

I don't know, huggable.

Thank you.

My mother's a comic,

and I got out of the service

and I changed my name, you know.

- What's your real name?

- Leonard Alfred Schneider.

- Well, why did you change it?

- Too Jewish.

I like the name Bruce.

You know, Bruce sounds like

the captain of a football team.

That's why I changed it, but the first guy

I met whose name was Bruce

tried to kiss me.

418, please.

What hotel are you at?

Uh... 621, please.

Here? You're kidding.


- Well?

- Well?

- Aren't you gonna answer it?

- Why?

How do you people really feel

about "doing it"?

Isn't that about the dirtiest thing

we could do to each other?

It's really not nice "doing it".

What's the worst thing you can

say to anybody? "F*** you!"

That's really weird, because

if I wanted to hurt you, I should say

"Unfuck you. "

Because "f*** you" is really nice, man.

"Hello, Ma, it's me. Yeah, I just

got back. Aw, f*** you, Ma!"

"Sure I mean it. Is Pop there?"

"Aw, Pop, my Pop.

Aw, f*** you, too, Pop!"


I can't believe it. I just cannot believe it.

- That I'm eating?

- Yeah, that you're eating.

No, that you're here. And that

I'm here with you. I can't believe it.

Do you know, the first time

I saw you in the cafeteria,

I wanted to go up to you and say

"Hi, I'm Lenny Bruce

and I got the hots for you. "

- Now, why didn't I do that?

- Now, why didn't you do that?

- It would have saved a lot of time.

- It would have saved a lot of time.

- I know why I didn't do it.

- Too shy.

Yes. I've always been shy.

- Even as a kid?

- Even as a kid.

I tried to get over it,

but I've always been very shy.

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Julian Barry

Julian Barry (born 1930) is an American screenwriter and playwright best known for his Oscar-nominated script for the film Lenny about comedian Lenny Bruce. Barry adapted the script from his successful Broadway play of the same name. The film, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Dustin Hoffman and Valerie Perrine, was nominated for the so-called Oscar Grand Slam, one of some 40 films to be so honored. Barry wrote or rewrote screenplays for several notable films including The River starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek, Eyes of Laura Mars starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, and Rhinoceros, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, Me, Myself and I, starring George Segal and Jobeth Williams, and the American Playhouse production for PBS, A Marriage - Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, starring Christopher Plummer and Jane Alexander. He also appeared as himself in the film documentary Pablo, about the graphic artist and film director Pablo Ferro. Barry resides in Redding, Connecticut, but is frequently in London for theater work. He is not to be confused with the English singer/songwriter of the same name. His autobiography My Night With Orson was published in 2011. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Lenny" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/lenny_12444>.

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