At the end of Lenny Bruce’s brilliant, long riff as captured on his album Live At The Curran Theater, he refers us to the end of a Julie Garland Concert at Carnegie Hall (an iconic concert and album amongst her fans – as demonstrated by the Rufus Wainwright recreation). Lenny tells us that applause embarrasses him. Given that, he never quite knows how to ‘end’ his concert appearances. What he says about Garland ( and the way he says it) sent a chill up my spine when I first heard it some 45 years ago. And it sends a chill up my spine to this day as I listen to the bit again tonight.
At the end of her concert, the applause is long and overwhelming (as mimicked by Lenny). I’ll paraphrase:
“Don’t you ever get tired?” Judy calls out to the audience.
“Noooooooooooooo………” the audience cries out.
The audience loves her, worships her. They identify with her tragedy. The dues she’s paid. The dues they’ve paid.
“Don’t worry…..we’ll sing ’em all; and we’ll stay here all night”, Judy calls back to them. And the audience gasps. Then comes the line that blew away Lenny as well, as Judy calls out to her fans…
“Cause I never wanna go home….”
And they don’t wanna go home either. Nobody wants to go back to the room alone.
Lenny quickly leaves the stage.