4 January 2006 | stevekrief
Lenny Bruce, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan's herald
Steve Allen was not only a show host. He was a composer, an actor, a writer ans a comedian. A very erudite man, he had the greatest sense of humor ever programmed on air. He challenged Ed Sullivan's boring mainstream smoothness. For a very short moment, censure was left outside, enabling Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan to play their stuff as it was meant for stage and not clean cut TV. He also played some Poetry and Jazz with Jack Kerouac.
In his introduction to Lenny Bruce, Steve Allen gave a powerful warning: "We get a great deal of mail from our viewers commenting on our sketches, indicating their dislikes, and whether you realize it or not, there is just about no joke or sketch, particularly of a satirical sort, that will not offend somebody, a cowboy or a drunk. I don't want to equate those two; already I can see the cards coming in! Here is how we are going to face the problem, we have decided that once a month we will book a comedian who will offend everybody. Then, we'll get it over with, see? A man who will disturb a great many social groups. I'm serious, his satirical comments refer to many things not ordinarily discussed on TV; it serves you right. That way the NBC mail department will know in advance that complaints are coming in, they hire a few extra girls, and they get the answers ready, "We're very sorry, we didn't mean a thing", and the who thing is handled with neatness and dispatch. So, ladies and gentlemen, here is the very shocking comedian, the most shocking comedian of our time, a young man who is skyrocketing to fame, Lenny Bruce!"
Very daring for the end of the 50's!