Some sort of an incomplete comic lineage

Redd Foxx -- Confined to the Chitlin Circuit and Stag Party records for much of his career, he came to the bolder nightclubs in the early 60's, and finally TV where, while his language was considerably cleaned up, his raw rough edges still showed through -- the father of them all

Rodney Dangerfield (Gave a stage in his New York club to lots and lots of young comics including the young Lenny Bruce. Enrico Banducci did the same in San Francisco, but didn't do standup himself.)

Lenny Bruce (The Great White Father of the Aboveground Tradition) -- caused outrage, horror, and indignant arrests because his sharp edge cut through a lot of previously unmentionable topics.

--------------- (Lord Buckley) As sharp and incisive and insightful as any comic who ever lived, but did it with a gentleness, a love for his audiences. No real predecessors, although his stories harkened back to comics like Will Rogers* who might be considered forerunners. No one could conceive of Lord Buckley ever commenting on his performance with expressions like "I killed them," etc..

Parallel to Lord Buckley was Jean Shepherd who told stories of his Chicago and Indiana childhood along with contemporary fantasies on Sunday nights on WOR Radio, New York. Don't know which, if either, influenced the other, although Herb Shriner was in the Shepherd lineage

---------------(George Carlin) --merged aspects of Lenny Bruce with those of purely socio-political Mort Sahl to create his own voice. Transgressed against boundaries as definitely and forcefully as Lenny Bruce but with a softer tone of voice. People who never heard his act before he hit the college circuit where he had to repeat every punch line three times for the benefit of the stoned audience, don't know what a genius the man has been.

Richard Pryor -- Redd Foxx via Lenny Bruce to break free from the Chitlin circuit and tell stories with the best. Shocked many, but never arrested for his act.

Bill Hicks -- if Lenny Bruce had dropped acid, gotten very focused on the metaphysical, but without losing any of the hard-edge, he might have been Bill Hicks

Doug Stanhope -- more like Lenny Bruce in terms of how much outrage, horror, indignant antipathy, and metaphysical terror he causes. An anti-religious if not atheistic libertarian, he is amazingly funny. In an era of repression against unpopular speech, he's the current standard-bearer for the First Amendment.

A lot of others in the line, of course.


*Just for the record, Will Rogers never said "I never met a man I didn't like." He said that he "HARDLY EVER met a man I didn't like." H. Allen Smith once wrote an article for Esquire correcting the misquote and explaining: "He met me and he didn't like me."


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