Thank You, Mask Man: Lenny Bruce’s Lone Ranger Comedy Routine Becomes a NSFW Animated Film (1968)

If you ever real­ly want­ed to know what was the deal between The Lone Ranger and Ton­to, the above video of Thank You, Mask Man might answer a few ques­tions. Warn­ing: it’s seri­ous­ly NSFW.

The audio for Thank You, Mask Man is tak­en from a stand up rou­tine from Lenny Bruce, who ruth­less­ly, hilar­i­ous­ly takes apart the leg­endary crime fight­er. After years of get­ting saved by a masked hero on a white steed, the denizens of a small West­ern town cor­ner him into accept­ing some­thing, any­thing as a token of their grat­i­tude. The hero points to a near­by Native Amer­i­can and says that he wants him. He pro­claims that he wants “to per­form an unnat­ur­al act.” The towns­peo­ple are hor­ri­fied. “I’ve read a lot of expos­es on how bad it is,” the Masked Man explains, “and I want to try it, just once.”

Jeff Hale, who lat­er went on to ani­mate that groovy Pin­ball Num­ber Count­down bit on Sesame Street, made the short in 1968, two years after Bruce’s death. The movie had a hard time get­ting booked into the­aters report­ed­ly, in part, because Bruce ruf­fled more than a few feath­ers in the film indus­try. Ulti­mate­ly though Thank You, Mask Man became a sta­ple at gay and cult film fes­ti­vals.

Bruce was, of course, the orig­i­nal bad boy com­ic. He laced his free form, light­ning quick per­for­mances with frank dis­cus­sions of sex, social issues and lots of swear­ing. Nowa­days, F‑bombs are par for the course in a come­di­an club but, back dur­ing the Kennedy admin­is­tra­tion, they were shock­ing. And they got him thrown in jail on sev­er­al occa­sions. You can lis­ten to anoth­er (unan­i­mat­ed) Bruce rou­tine below. It’s com­plete­ly NSFW.

You can find Thank You, Mask Man in the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lenny Bruce Riffs and Rants on Injus­tice and Hypocrisy in One of His Final Per­for­mances (NSFW)

George Car­lin Per­forms His “Sev­en Dirty Words” Rou­tine: His­toric and Com­plete­ly NSFW

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

by | Permalink | Comments (5) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (5)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Paul says:

    The cen­tral prob­lem with Lenny Bruce is that he was rarely fun­ny.

  • Mike says:

    IMDB: direct­ed by John Mag­nu­son and Lenny Bruce.

    John Mag­nu­son also pro­duced TYMM and direct­ed and pro­duced The Lenny Bruce Per­for­mance Film. He should have been cred­it­ed in this arti­cle.

  • Lisa Shapiro says:

    Was Lenny Bruce A Gay Man ?,just curi­ous 😃

  • Mark G Feeney says:

    he was mar­ried to a strip­per named hon­ey when he died.

  • james doyle says:

    Lenny Bruce was not gay although it would be sur­pris­ing if he did not experiement.He was divorced from Hon­ey but she was still in his life when he died in 1966, they had a daugh­ter, Kit­ty, born in 1955. Lenny became a mar­tyr for free speech and died from an over­dose after years of harass­ment from the courts and police who object­ed to his act and lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.