This blog started out as Michael Doherty's Personal Library, and it was reviews of books that normally don't get reviewed: basically porn and those insane Scientology books. It was all just a bit of fun, you understand. But both porn and cult propaganda get dull rather quickly. And then I embarked on a three-year Shakespeare study. And Shakespeare has basically taken over, which is a good thing.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Shakespeare References in The Essential Lenny Bruce
The Essential Lenny
Bruce is a collection of material from Lenny Bruce’s performances,
transcribed and organized by subject. It was edited by John Cohen. It contains
a few Shakespeare references, all of them Hamlet
references actually. The first comes in a bit with a rabbi, with the rabbi
saying, “Alas, alas, poor Yossel” (p. 36), a reference to Hamlet’s line, “Alas,
poor Yorick.” The second is a reference to that famous speech by Polonius to
Laertes. Lenny Bruce says, “It’s like, any comedian, see, all comedians – it’s ‘To
thine own self be true’” (p. 111). Lenny Bruce uses that line again, this time
in a song: “The most important factor?/To thine own self be true” (p. 172). By
the way, in the back of the book there is an index of bits, and the bit on page
111 is referred to as “To Thine Own Self Be True” (p. 312).
The Essential Lenny Bruce was published in 1967 by Ballantine
Books. My copy was from the sixth printing, in April of 1971.