Lot 18 of 202:
Lenny Bruce's breakout at Chicago's Cloisters night club  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$480
$800 - $1,200

Signed contract between Lenny Bruce and the American Guild of Variety Artists [AGVA] for his national breakout at the Cloisters night club, Chicago, August 5, 1958


San Francisco




Printed contract filled out in pencil. 11x8½".

Printed form contract completed in pencil, including Bruce’s signature. Until the Cloisters, Bruce had played mostly a few small clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco; he was virtually unknown outside the west coast. Hugh Hefner caught Bruce’s act at Ann’s 440 in San Francisco the month before and offered to use his influence with the Chicago nightclub scene to have Bruce play one of the Second City’s premiere clubs. For the first time, Bruce was given “equal or 100% billing on marquee and all advertising.” He walked on stage opening night with “I’ve been thinking a lot about the President’s job. Eisenhower… you want to take a chance on a man over 55 when Mutual of Omaha won’t?” After this Chicago engagement his national career took off in full earnest. With the lower 1” separated at its perforation, but present. The front is marked in pencil “This is just the copy” and the contract is signed only by Bruce.

Lot Amendments

Some discoloration and wear, 6" closed tear; a rare piece marking a key moment in Bruce's career.

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