Looking for Lenny

Watch Looking for Lenny

  • NR
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 5 min
  • 6.2  (216)

Looking for Lenny is a 2011 documentary directed by Elan Gale that explores the life and legacy of Lenny Bruce, an influential comedian known for his boundary-pushing performances and outspoken social commentary. The film blends archival footage of Bruce's performances with interviews featuring comedians, writers, and intellectuals who were influenced by his work, including Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, and Phyllis Diller.

The documentary begins by establishing Bruce as an important figure in the history of stand-up comedy, with many of his routines addressing taboo subjects like religion, sex, and politics. The film presents clips of Bruce's performances from the 1950s and 60s, when he was pushing the boundaries of what could be said on stage, and notes that he was often arrested and charged with obscenity as a result of his material.

Throughout the documentary, interviewees discuss Bruce's impact on their own careers and on the larger cultural landscape. Richard Lewis, for example, credits Bruce with helping him find his own voice as a comedian, while Robin Williams points to Bruce's honest and unflinching approach to comedy as a model for his own work.

The film also delves into Bruce's personal life, including his struggles with drug addiction and his acrimonious divorce from his second wife, Honey Harlow. Interviews with friends and family members shed light on Bruce's relationships and the personal demons that haunted him throughout his life.

Despite his influence, however, Bruce's legacy has been somewhat overshadowed by the controversy that surrounded his career. Looking for Lenny explores the various ways in which Bruce's material has been interpreted over the years - some view him as a courageous pioneer, while others see him as a vulgar and offensive comedian who went too far.

The documentary also examines the ways in which Bruce's message has been co-opted and diluted by subsequent generations of comedians, who have borrowed some of his techniques but left behind his confrontational style and social critique. Interviewees suggest that Bruce's brand of comedy is sorely needed in today's cultural climate, where traditional taboos have been replaced with new ones and where comedians often seem to be more concerned with pandering to audiences than with pushing boundaries.

As the documentary draws to a close, the filmmakers suggest that Bruce's message is more relevant than ever, and that his career represents a cautionary tale about the dangers of censorship and the importance of artistic freedom. The film ends with footage of Bruce's famous performance at the Berkeley Community Theatre in 1966 - a powerful reminder of his raw honesty and his ability to provoke people into thinking deeply about the world around them.

Looking for Lenny is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of comedy or in the ways in which comedians can shape and reflect the culture around them. The documentary provides a nuanced and thought-provoking portrait of Lenny Bruce, one of the most important comedians of the 20th century, and explores the ways in which his legacy continues to influence and inspire comedians today.

Looking for Lenny is a 2011 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 5 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2.

Where to Watch Looking for Lenny
Looking for Lenny is available to watch free on Plex, Pluto TV and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Looking for Lenny for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 5 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (216)