August 25, 1990
Re "The Diceman Taps Into a Primal Howl" by Lawrence Christon, Aug. 20: To name some of Andrew Dice Clay's antecedents and omit Lenny Bruce, the vulgarian's vulgarian, is an egregious oversight. This is the guy whose "sacrifices" made the entertainment world safe for (to use Christon's words) the "vile, crude, misogynistic, racist, homophobic," etc. Had Bruce lived, he'd be right there with Clay, stamping around in his own stercoraceous metier, giving him a downhill run for the money.
September 13, 1998
I can understand why Robin Williams likes Eddie Izzard so much ("Allow Him to Digress," by Paul Brownfield, Sept. 6). Izzard's Engelbert Humperdinck bit is straight out of Lenny Bruce's routine about two agents watching a guy painting their office and wondering if they could make him a star. His name is Adolf Schickelgruber and Lenny, doing all of the voices with a German accent, riffs on making the name more acceptable for show business: "Adolf Schickel, Adolf Gruber, Adolf Hittel, Adolf Hit . . . Hit . . . Hitler.
February 14, 1993
As assistant director of publications for the music publishing firm of G. Schirmer in New York City from 1960 through 1963, I had occasion to personally work with Leonard Bernstein. I can categorically state to Avik Gilboa (Letters, Jan. 17) that Bernstein did not like to be called "Lenny" and only tolerated it from some of his older associates and peers such as Aaron Copland. I can distinctly remember during one rehearsal Bernstein had with the New York Philharmonic where he blew up and immediately chastised one of the players who had called him Lenny, demanding a little more respect and to be referred to only as either Leonard, or Maestro.
October 17, 2004
I was moved by Mark Swed's tribute to Leonard Bernstein ("Lenny, the Indispensable," Oct. 10). Swed revealed his own heart, embracing the faults of the great conductor by recognizing their profound impact on Bernstein's character and art. Quite frankly, I expected Swed to despise Bernstein's conducting and his music as too emotional, too flamboyant, too dramatic, just too much!