October 31, 1925 – Comedian Lenny Bruce is born Leonard Alfred Schneider in Mineola, New York. He was a groundbreaking humorist, infamous for his transgressive stand-up routines and a handful of controversial appearances on network television. Bruce’s jokes were often politically incorrect. Riffing on the frequent assertion that the Jews killed Christ, he said, “‘Why did you kill Christ?’ I dunno, it was one of those parties, got out of hand, you know.” Remarking on the irony of that the cross (a device of torture and execution) is the symbol of supposedly peaceful and loving Christianity, he joked, “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” Bruce was repeatedly persecuted and prosecuted by law enforcement. Most notably, he was convicted of obscenity in Manhattan, but died of a drug overdose in 1966 before he could serve his sentence. He was 40 years old.
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