On October 13th, 1925, a comedian was born who would change the face of stand-up comedy. Lenny Bruce began his comedy career after a short stint in the American Navy, but soon found it hard to impose himself in the New York comedy scene. Famously portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the biographical film Lenny, Bruce developed a style of comedy that future comedians (such as George Carlin and Bill Hicks amongst others) would acknowledge as a major influence on their own acts.
On stage he discussed everything from politics and philosophy to sex and censorship. That is until the law got involved. In October, 1961, he was arrested for ‘obscenity’, one of many such arrests in the following years. He spent his life battling obscurity, depression and drug addiction. On August 3rd, 1966, the comedian was found dead after a drug overdose, aged 40. In 2003, he was granted a posthumous pardon for his offences, and in 2004 was placed third in Comedy Central’s ‘100 Greatest Stand-ups’.