New York | 1h 30m | Ends Apr 28

I’m Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce

From 22 critic and 28 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent

About the show

Ronnie Marmo stars as the legendary comedian Lenny Bruce in this solo show, which ran for 110 performances in Los Angeles. Directed by Tony Award winning stage actor, film and television star, Joe Mantegna. More…

This look at the life and battles of the groundbreaking comedian not only draws from his many court battles championing the freedom of speech but also includes many of Bruce's original comedic bits and insights from his own writings.

1h 30m | Ends Apr 28 | The Box (Lower E Side)


95
TheaterScene.net

"A major facet of Marmo’s bang-up performance is his smoothly alternating between hilariously replicating Lenny Bruce’s polished stylings of controversially explicit language during his prime, along with his agonized ramblings...Mr. Mantegna perfectly achieves the desired netherworld theatricality of Bruce chronicling his life to a nightclub gathering with choice presentational flourishes that harness the excellent production elements for an optimum of visual force." Full Review

95
Theatre is Easy

"Ronnie Marmo is perfection as Lenny Bruce. His cadences and phrasing are spot on...Legendary stage and screen actor Joe Mantegna directs Marmo in this solo performance, brilliantly creating several environments that differentiate between Bruce’s standup act and theatrical narration...This show will give you the opportunity to learn and experience who he was with all of his attributes, deficiencies, and vulnerabilities." Full Review

85
Woman Around Town

"Marmo’s theatrical portrait of Bruce couldn’t be more relevant...Malmo’s play not only illuminates and entertains, but gives us a glimpse at the person behind his effect...Marmo has done a formidable job...My sole caveat about this script is that the character’s heroin use is suddenly referred to without showing when/how it began or spiraled before killing him. Still, the piece showcases highly accomplished playwriting.” Full Review

85
TheaterScene.com

“Part biodrama, part confessional, part stand-up comedy...It succeeds when Marmo conveys something new about Bruce...Marmo might do well to expand his play and perhaps include a few more sketches from Bruce’s stand-up oeuvre...That said, ‘I’m Lenny Bruce’ can speak to anybody who is concerned about democracy in the Trump era. The play is a must-see for anyone who has ever cared about free speech and wants to see how Bruce fiercely fought for it tooth and nail." Full Review

80
New York Stage Review

"Bearing a close enough resemblance to Bruce, Marmo reprises excerpts from routines to prove the late comic’s—and Marmo’s—comic theses. He’s excellent at assuming Bruce’s casual approach, his easy gestures, his soft, seductive voice...Strong as the 'I’m Not a Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce' writing and performing are, there is one particularly pertinent biographical acknowledgment missing: what Bruce picked up from friend and fellow comedian Joe Ancis." Full Review

80
Theater Pizzazz

"A hip and funny as well as a very sad show...Marmo is the most Bruce-like of all the actors I’ve seen portray Lenny...Marmo doesn’t dig extensively into Lenny’s bits and the laughter they received...Marmo deals more with Lenny’s refusal to bow to the powers-that-be...Marmo’s Lenny becomes the M.C in the wry story of his life. He stumbled into a life in comedy, after his ad-libs were greeted with laughter, and he died in agony." Full Review

80
Scene on Stage

"Bruce’s voice, which Marmo evokes without resorting to out-and-out imitation...Marmo portrays Lenny’s descent into drug addiction and general disrepair unsparingly; his opening and closing tableaux are devastating...There’s nary a lull, although sprinkling in a few more snippets of Lenny’s really funny early bits would afford a welcome respite from the intensity of the later legal stand-off...The show is recommended for admirers of Lenny Bruce." Full Review

75
Talkin' Broadway

"Some of the most compelling moments in the show focus on Bruce's court appearances and his pleas on behalf of freedom of expression...Throughout his performance, Marmo presents us with a man who has a voracious appetite for an audience's love and laughter, always ready with a million-watt smile even when he grows increasingly wobbly on his feet...With this show, Ronnie Marmo is giving Bruce the kind of justice he also would have appreciated, another audience." Full Review

75
Theatre Reviews Limited

"Mr. Marmo deftly provides an authenticity to the cadence, posture, and mannerisms of the comic, but what suspends the audience in disbelief is his ability to inhabit the soul of Lenny Bruce immersed in a crusade...Director Joe Mantegna at times uses a heavy hand to extract the emotional content of the piece but fits the pieces of this puzzling life together in a clear and comprehensive manner...As playwright, Mr. Marmo is less successful." Full Review

60
Theatermania

"Heartfelt, provocative, yet disappointingly conventional tribute...Bruce was unquestionably a boundary-pusher, which is why it is somewhat disappointing that Marmo and director Joe Mantegna lean on many of the same tropes found in nearly every fringe festival solo show...It helps that Marmo is a talented mimic...Despite its flaws, 'I'm Not a Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce' reminds us of one of America's great champions of free speech." Full Review

50
The New York Times

"Despite a structural conceit that establishes the action as an exercise in deterministic tragedy, the show lacks propulsive energy. It isn’t very funny, either, which may have something to do with Bruce’s material: It’s simultaneously ahead of its time and dated...Much of the standup in 'I’m Not a Comedian' is fairly familiar, and the show does not shed any new light on its subject’s all-too-familiar demons. But it does make you mull Bruce’s legacy. " Full Review

45
Lighting & Sound America

“Marmo's solo show isn't all that interested in humor...If you grew up steeped in Lenny Bruce...you won't learn anything new...It's a depressing tale, told here faithfully but with little flair...What's most surprising is the flatness of the comedy sequences...Mantegna has directed in a manner that is determined to drive home The Importance of Being Lenny, an approach that doesn't do this material any favors...The word for this one is unnecessary.” Full Review

95
BroadwayWorld

for a previous production “Directed with great skill by Joe Mantega, Marmo thoroughly commands the stage and audience from start to finish...Marmo brilliantly leads the audience through the many ups and downs of Bruce's hard life...Including Bruce's descent into hard drugs - a scene that was truly difficult to watch in its realistic depiction...The perfect star showcase for Marmo...His reincarnation of the comedic genius is not to be missed!” Full Review

95
LA Weekly

for a previous production “Artfully directed...An 85-minute solo piece with Marmo in an intense and memorable performance...What powers the play is not only the inherent drama, of tragic proportions, in Bruce’s life but also Marmo’s flawless embodiment of the man. There’s never a moment when we doubt the person before us is this smart, tormented individual come to life. It’s an illuminating in-depth performance, worthy of its subject, a singular artist come and gone before his time.” Full Review

95
The Tolucan Times

for a previous production “Described as obscene, provocative, criminal and controversial, this powerful one-man play is all of that and more! Marmo gives a breathtaking performance...Directed with gritty focus by Mantegna, the delicate balance between actor and director is strongly felt here. Not usually a big fan of ‘one-actor’ productions, but now and then one comes along that I feel puts the audience in a focused and appreciative trance throughout. This is one of those magical times!” Full Review

90
Splash Magazines

for a previous production “Marmo managed to effectively profile the comedian...Marmo IS Bruce. In his solo tour-de-force, Marmo leads the audience through Bruce’s turbulent life...In his stunning performance, chronology plays a secondary role to the emotional explosions which punctuated Bruce’s life...This is a must-see show. However...This is definitely an adults only production. Despite much of the gritty content...the show is remarkably tasteful...This performance is about words, not actions.” Full Review

90
Show Mag

for a previous production “A telling one-man stage iteration of Bruce's tumultuous life...Written by Jason M. Burns and Ronnie Marmo, who renders an astute portrayal of the late comic, ‘I Am Not A Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce’ receives pristine clarity and great theatricality through Joe Mantegna's straightforward direction and Marmo's riveting performance...Through Marmo's intense portrayal, we learn of Bruce's life...A dramatically packed 90 minutes.” Full Review

90
NOHO Arts District

for a previous production “Ronnie has created a play that feels more like an intense flashback into pivotal moments in Lenny’s life...Told with kindness, candor and...truth...Ronnie fills the stage with his vivid interpretation of Lenny...interspersing the show with uncannily accurate performances of excerpts from Lenny’s actual stand up...It has an achingly timeless quality to it, Ronnie is totally mesmerizing and his surreal attachment to this icon gives him the power to bring him back.” Full Review

90
The Los Angeles Beat

for a previous production “One play you do not want to miss and that is because of the exceptional portrayal of Lenny by Marmo...Marmo masterfully takes us through a journey of Lenny Bruce’s troubled life...Including his successes, failures, his marriage to Honey Harlow, a stripper he met in a bar, the birth of his daughter Kitty and his relationship to his Long Island Jewish mother Sally Marr...As I watched Marmo on stage I couldn’t help but imagine what Lenny would say if he was alive in this political climate.” Full Review

85
Stage Scene LA

for a previous production “Marmo brings the ground-breaking standup comic legend Lenny Bruce back to scabrously funny, heartbreakingly poignant life...Highs and lows and joys and heartbreaks...’I Am Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce’ has them all, and if there were some opening night nerves, there’s no denying the authenticity and comedic/dramatic flair of Marmo’s multi-hued Lenny under the guiding eye of director Joe Mantegna.” Full Review

85
Los Angeles Times

for a previous production “This perfectly inflected performance is expertly directed by Mantegna...When Marmo picks up a mike to re-create excerpts from Bruce's routines, the result compares favorably with existing footage of the comic in action...Marmo's Bruce is equally unsparing in confronting his own failures as a husband and father...This engaging and illuminating portrait allows subsequent generations to understand who Lenny Bruce was, and, more important, why he mattered.” Full Review

80
Stage Raw

for a previous production “An inventive portrait of comedian Bruce...Infused with a sampling of the comedian’s off-the-cuff, riff-like performance style, Marmo ably inhabits Bruce’s persona...Mantengna establishes a seamless flow of story and comedic performance...The main focuses of this one-man play are the tragic consequences of being a comedian before his time...'Lenny Bruce’ pinpoints the ethno-social taboos that were still in place during the 50s and 60s." Full Review


100
Must see, Profound, Relevant, Riveting, Great acting

See it if You want to see the brilliant actor channel Lenny Bruce and be deeply moved from laughter to tears in a lovely setting at the Cutting Room.

Don't see it if You have no desire to know more about legendary ahead of his time Lenny Bruce.

97
Ambitious, Great acting, Riveting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to learn more about Lenny and delve into issues of his time

Don't see it if You think your going to a light comedy show

Also It is a nightclub format so you can purchase food and drink We felt ob... Read more Read less

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You are interested in what makes someone funny and how the same things destroy him.

Don't see it if If four letter words upset you. Well if they do, you better not talk to anyone in 2018

93
Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Raunchy

See it if Want to see a great acting performance about a comedian that was misunderstood during his time.

Don't see it if Strong language upsets you.

93
Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting

See it if You are a Lenny bruce fan or want to know his story.

Don't see it if You can't take a disturbing true life story or you don't appreciated a one man show.

92
Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Intense

See it if You want to see a terrific portrait of a performer who was way before his time performed with great, forceful acting in a fabulous venue.

Don't see it if You are turned off by Lenny Bruce and obscenities

89
Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Raunchy

See it if you are a fan of Lenny Bruce, or of stand up comedy with a critical edge, you'll enjoy this one-man interpretation of LB's life.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy edgy and at times raunchy cultural criticism

85
Entertaining, Riveting

See it if you appreciate history of comedy. It's a tragic story told beautifully.

Don't see it if it's not a comedy show. But at times very funny.

85
Clever, Ambitious, Funny

See it if You want an empirical demonstration of the importance of free speech, not just an academic exposition.

Don't see it if You believe that words have an intrinsic power to hurt, and not, as LB put it, that it's the suppression of the word that gives it its power

Also The show takes a different approach than the 1974 film. I enjoyed both... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Raunchy, Riveting

See it if you are interested in finding out more about the life of Lenny Bruce, enjoy a well acted,intense biographical study, don't mind vulgarities

Don't see it if not interested in Lenny Bruce,are offended by strong language, once not permitted on stage

Also Bruce was a pioneer in the area of free speech comedy, punished for on... Read more Read less

85
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great staging, Edgy, Too long

See it if If you have always been curious about the life of Lenny Bruce and you want to see some bravura acting.

Don't see it if If you don't like the potential of interaction with the actor and you want fluffy fun,

Also This show was good but could be great with some editing. Some of the s... Read more Read less

80
Absorbing, Edgy, Funny, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if You're interested in first amendment rights and satire.

Don't see it if You're prudish and close minded about our hypocritical & pious culture

80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Engaging

See it if You are a Lenny Bruce fan. Such a joy just to hear his words again.

Don't see it if You are easily offended.

80
Intelligent, Well-researched, Provocative, Fast-paced, Well-acted

See it if you are a Lenny Bruce fan - this is as close to actually seeing him perform as you'll ever get.

Don't see it if you'd be unable to sit through reenactment of Lenny Bruce material that uses obscenities, the n-word & racial slurs to make a social point

Also Extremely well researched; I've read just about every Lenny Bruce bio ... Read more Read less

78
Funny, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if If you are a Lenny Bruce fan, if unique stories of social unfairness and political incorrectness interest you.

Don't see it if If you do not like Lenny Bruce, if you are offended by political incorrectness or explicit sexual talk.

75
Funny, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting

See it if CRACK UP

Don't see it if No reason anything live is worth it

75
Well staged, Edgy, Terrific portrayal, Raunchy, Disappointing

See it if For a taste of the life & style of a comedy trailblazer who burned a path for Carlin, Pryor, et.al. U can hear the poetry in his sets.

Don't see it if Language & nudity offends U. Seems comedy doesn't age well. Great acting, but routines that shocked & brought belly laughs, fell to silence.

73
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You like and are interested in Lenny Bruce, enjoy a snack and drink with your show, want to travel back in time a little.

Don't see it if You want to learn something new about Lenny Bruce, don't like shows in clubs, don't find Bruce interesting or funny.

Also This play shows how much the world has changed since Lenny Bruce's lif... Read more Read less

71
Clever, Funny, Great staging, Overrated

See it if You want some good comedy. To learn a little as bout lenny Bruce. Had some sad moments.

Don't see it if If you do not like comedy or shows with cursing.

70
Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense, Dated

See it if You like monologue theatre want to understand the tragedy of a great comedian and social critics life and death.

Don't see it if You have ‘to come’ and laugh at comic material that is dated - but at times still thought provoking - and think that comedy is always funny.

Also Spoiler alert - the tile tells the story - this is not an actor doing ... Read more Read less

70
Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Dated

See it if Looking for a good overview of Lenny Bruce's career and later downfall.

Don't see it if If you are easily offended by language or racial humor. But rather tame relative to today's comics.

Also Bit disappointed; missed some of the energy and roughness of his perfo... Read more Read less

69
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Depressing

See it if you'd like to see a fine actor completely immersed in the difficult life of Lenny Bruce

Don't see it if you're hoping to see Bruce's energy and comedy recreated, an ambitious undertaking that isn't quite achieved; if you want upbeat/uplifiting.

Also The focus on Bruce's issues rather than his comedy, on his drug and fa... Read more Read less

42
Didn’t learn much

See it if You want to see a one person play where the actor tries to re-create Lenny Bruce is life

Don't see it if You are a big fan of Lenny Bruce and know a lot about him. You won’t learn anything new

Also My plans fell through and I took a chance on this one. I was not plann... Read more Read less

86
Absorbing, Intelligent, Funny, Riveting, Edgy

See it if You want to see a well-crafted and well-acted one-man show about an important and consequential figure in 20th Century American history.

Don't see it if You don't want to hear ethnic or racial profanity on stage or don't want to be confronted with some edgy theater or don't to see nudity.

Also It took me some time to get into Ronnie Marmo's Lenny Bruce. His over-... Read more Read less

100
Intelligent, Profound, Relevant, Must see, Masterful

See it if Ronnie Marmo is the reason I go to live theater. The writing is brilliant and so is his performance. Go!

Don't see it if Do not see this one man show if all you think about Lenny Bruce is that he was an obscene heroin addict.


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