1958 Lenny Bruce Signed Contract
I collaborated with Lenny Bruce from 1956 until the night he died in 1966. I collaborated on three film scripts and on the comedy material in the first three comedy albums. This document is one of several contracts between us at that time.
And this contract basically sets out the terms of the agreement that he was making with you.
Yes, my position with him would fluctuate from a co-author to director of cinematography to assistant director of the production, depending upon whether we were mad at each other or not at the moment. At one point, we had a big fight and I gave him all of the materials that I had done up to that time, which was rather foolish of me.
There are a number of contracts that I was able to find that Lenny Bruce signed, but they were all typewritten or pre-printed. This was the only one that I found that was entirely handwritten. And I understand that “The Leather Jacket,” which this contract specifically refers to, was never made?
It was filmed, but never released.
And what was the premise of “The Leather Jacket”?
“The Leather Jacket” was an attempt to do a low-budget film and simulate the artistry of silent movies, which we were both fans of silent movies. But Lenny was always infuriated if we ever referred to it as a Chaplin-esque film.
Lenny Bruce was one of our most seminal early comedians. He basically set the bar for people like Richard Pryor and other more risqué comedians-- Dave Chappelle. But he was a true original, and he left us far too early. This contract I would estimate at auction at between $5,000 to $6,000. And I really am glad that you brought it into ROADSHOW for us to see. Thank you very much.
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