(Lenny Bruce, San Francisco, 1961).

Miguel Adrover


October 4, 1961

Oh, I like you, and if sometimes I take poetic license with you and you are offended…now this is just with semantics, dirty words. Believe me, I’m not profound, this is something that I assume someone must have laid on me, because I do not have an original thought. I am screwed. I speak English. That’s it. I was not born in a vacuum. Every thought I have belongs to somebody else. Then I must just take, ding ding ding, somewhere. So I am not placating you by making the following statement. I want to help you if you have a dirty word problem. There are none, and I’ll spell it out logically to you.

Here is a toilet. Specifically — that’s all we’re concerned with, specifics — if I can tell you a dirty toilet joke, we must have a dirty toilet. That’s what we’re talking about, a toilet. If we take this toilet and boil it, and it is clean clean, I can never tell you specifically a dirty toilet joke about this toilet. I can tell you a dirty toilet joke in the Milner Hotel, or something like that, but this toilet is a clean toilet now.

Obscenity is a human manifestation. This toilet has no central nervous system, no level of consciousness. It is not aware — it is a dumb toilet — it cannot be obscene — it’s impossible. if it could be obscene, it could be cranky, it could be a Communist toilet, a traitorous toilet. It can do none of these things. This is a dopey toilet, Jim.

So nobody can ever offend you by telling you a dirty toilet story. They can offend you from the area that it’s trite — you have heard it many, many times. Now all of us have had a bad early toilet training — that’s why we are hung up with it. All of us at the same time got two zingers — one for the police department and one for the toilet. “All right he made a kahkah, call a policeman. All right, OK. Are you going to do that anymore? OK, tell the policeman he doesn’t have to come up now.”

All right, now we all got the “Policeman, policeman, policeman,” and we had a few psychotic parents who took it and rubbed it in our