Forty years after the fact, Lenny Bruce is pardoned on obscenity charges:
- Bruce was charged after a performance in 1964 during which he was said to have used more than 100 obscene words.
He was convicted after a six-month trial. But he died of a drugs overdose in 1966 before serving any time.
State governor George Pataki said the pardon represented New York’s commitment to freedom of speech.
“Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties and I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve,” Mr Pataki said.
Stars, including Robin William and the Smothers Brothers, had petitioned the New York governor earlier this year for the posthumous pardon.
Bruce was convicted of “giving an obscene performance” after a show at Cafe Au Go Go in New York City’s Greenwich Village which was attended by undercover police who counted the swear words he used. [BBC]
Excellent gesture – the times have changed and in no small part due to Bruce. No Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Cheech and Chong, etc, etc. There are few things in life more frustrating than being ahead of your time.