People seem to remember the 1960s as an age where progressive ideas and social advancement ran as freely as peace, love, and Jimi Hendrix guitar riffs, but sadly, these naïve dreamers were grossly outnumbered by hordes of citizens and officials hell-bent on repeating the routine and peaceful Eisenhower led 1950s. It was during this turmoil-filled climate of in fighting that two future legends and first amendment advocates accidentally met.

By the mid 1960s, Lenny Bruce had achieved a devoted cult-like following of rabid fans eager to hear his subtle insights wrapped in outrageous profanities. Shockingly, police officers and overzealous, hypocrite district attorneys didn’t share their admiration. This led to undercover sting operations that frequently ended in obscenity violation arrests. Legend has it that during one of these witch hunts, an ardent and determined fan was arrested alongside his fallen hero. It was none other than future stand-up pioneer and living genius George Carlin.

After Bruce’s early death, at age forty, Carlin joined fellow uncensored button pushers like Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx to limit the restrictions on acceptability. This led to HBO stand-up showcases and eventually, the Russell Simmons produced ‘Def Comedy Jam.’ These shows coupled with Pryor and Foxx performances helped to create an atmosphere of tolerance allowing comedians the freedom to do and say as they please.

It’s in this atmosphere of unfettered expression that Starz will premiere ‘Martin Lawrence Presents: 1st Amendment Stand-Up.’ The weekly laugher, which premieres April 18th, will mesh up and coming comedians with established stars. Nutty Professor veteran Doug Williams has signed on to host, and off-key pioneer and “Just A Friend” crooner Biz Markie will serve as performer and music coordinator.

The first episode will spotlight ‘Chappelle Show’ star Donnell Rawlings, Ian Edwards, and Sheryl Underwood. Expect the jokes to abrasive, the audience to be raucous, and the laughs to be almost continuous.

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