Bruce was sentenced to four months in jail for swearing (obscenity) in his nightclub
act. Bruce would never serve the time because he died of an overdose in August
1966 while the case was on appeal.
case was brought after a performance on 31st March 1964 in a Greenwich Village
theater, New York. He did his usual act, to an audience which included members
of the New York Police department. A few days afterwards he and the nightclub
owner were arrested.
the trial, reading notes taken from Bruce's stage performance, the police officer
got laughs from the jury at Bruce's material. Lenny Bruce complained about the
police officer's delivery.
the case, Bruce spent all of his time on his defense.
Bruce died at his home in Los Angeles on 3rd August 1966, of a heroin overdose.
this case, the authorities found it increasingly difficult to bring prosecutions
for obscenity against stage performers as the public became increasingly sympathetic
to artists' freedom of expression.