The depiction of Lenny Bruce in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is quite accurate. Bruce was charismatic, funny, and fearless. He brazenly ranted about race, sex, injustice, government, and war, using words the authorities considered ‘obscene’. As depicted in the series, Bruce spent many nights in jail and had a drug problem that ultimately caused his demise. 

Lenny Bruce’s mental and physical health deteriorated following his conviction for obscenity

In 1964, Lenny Bruce stood trial for obscenity before a three-judge bench. Artists, writers, and educators testified in Bruce’s support during his six-month trial. Regardless, the panel found him guilty, sentencing him to four months in a workhouse. 

The conviction seemed to break Bruce. His heroin use increased, affecting his mental and physical health. Bruce’s last performance was on 26th June 1966 at Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. 

He was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home on 3rd August 1966. An official photo taken showed him lying naked on the floor beside narcotics paraphernalia. The coroner ruled his cause of death as ‘acute morphine poisoning caused by an overdose.’

Phil Spector, a record producer and Bruce’s friend, obtained photographs of the scene to prevent their publication. The legendary comedian’s remains were interred at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California. 

Reverend William Glenesk delivered a moving eulogy that described Bruce perfectly. Glenesk said:

“He was in a sense an evangelist, on a street corner. He was a man—up tight against an artificial world… who shattered its facades, and its hypocrisy, and—if you will pardon the phrase which seems to become a cliche—he saw life as it is.”