A comedian who attacked stereotypes and used profanity, but broke down content and language barriers for his profession, is the subject of HBO's "Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth," debuting Monday at 10:15 p.m.
Robert De Niro narrates the Emmy-nominated documentary, which follows the rise and fall of one of show business's most revolutionary figures.
The film uses rare television footage, audiotapes, home movies and candid interviews by those who knew him best: his ex-wife, Honey Bruce Friedman; their daughter Kitty; his mother; Steve Allen, who gave Bruce a national TV forum; and journalists Paul Krassner and Nat Hentoff.
In expanding the boundaries of free speech, Bruce was admired by some -- in 1961, he filled Carnegie Hall for a midnight performance during a major blizzard -- but reviled by many more.
Bruce also wound up a broken man. The film deals with his bouts with the law, conviction and time served in jail before he was found dead in his bathroom after buying $40 worth of heroin.
The documentary is nominated for an Emmy in the categories of nonfiction special and achievement in nonfiction programming -- cinematography.
Repeats: Thursday at 2:40 a.m. and Aug. 17, 22 and 25.
Sunday on Sci-Fi Channel at 9 p.m., "Mystery Science Theater 3000" ends a 10-season run of laughs, jeers and the criminal masterminding of Diabolik as the ship Satellite of Love and host Mike Nelson turn for home. Repeats at 11 p.m.
Sunday on History Channel at 10 p.m., "As It Happened" takes a one-hour look at the stormy days at the end of the Nixon administration, when Richard M. Nixon became the only president to resign from office. Repeats at 2 a.m and Saturday at 3 p.m.
Sunday on Comedy Central at 10 p.m., "A Comic Life," with Ivan Reitman hosting a Steve Martin profile that includes performance highlights and comments from Carl Reiner, Teri Garr, Lorne Michaels and Dick Smothers. Repeats: Monday at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Friday at 12:30 a.m. and Saturday at noon and 10:30 p.m.
Monday on Showtime at 10 p.m., the monthly series "Barry Levinson on the Future in the 20th Century" continues with an installment called "Yesterday's Tomorrows."
Tuesday on A&E Network at 8 p.m., "Biography" looks at actress Susan Sarandon, a Catholic University graduate with a commitment to social awareness. The installment, called "Rebel With a Cause," includes clips from the 42 films she has made during her 26-year career, earning three Oscar nominations and one win -- as best actress of 1996 for "Dead Man Walking." Repeats at midnight.
Tuesday on USA Network at 9 p.m., Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in "Legionnaire," a film that mixes Marseilles in the 1920s with the turbulence and disorder of colonial Morocco. Repeats Saturday at 7 p.m.
Wednesday on TBS at 8:05 p.m., "National Geographic Explorer" focuses on Sylvia Earle and her crew as they examine sea life using a revolutionary one-man submersible. The segment, "Geo Scientists: Diving Deep," repeats at 12:35 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.
Saturday on A&E Network at 9 p.m., "Strangler's Wood" finds John Nettles as Inspector Barnaby and Daniel Casey as Sgt. Troy investigating the murder of a young South American woman found strangled in the woods. Repeats at 1 a.m.