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.

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Comments (5)
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  • 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.

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