Take a Drink: each time Barry takes a drink
Take a Drink: when Barry goes on a rant on stage so virulent you fear for his health
Do a Shot: if you also laughed your ass off during said rant
Take a Drink: when an interview subject comes up that you recognize.
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –
Barry Crimmins is a comedian with fury. Fury which he delivered unto a captive audience from the pulpit of his comedy clubs “The Ding Ho” and “Stitches” in Boston in the 1980s and 90s. Crimmins developed a firebrand approach to comedy that was as explosive as it was expansive. His unique blend of politically charged commentary, self-deprecating wit, and misanthropic delivery was so hard-hitting that it likely is the result of his relative obscurity as a performer, along with his unwillingness to compromise himself.
Still, Crimmins’ became highly respected by his peers, and his eagerness to take up causes earned him the respect of left-wing activists. But underneath his anger with the world, his frustration, his bludgeoning of all things conservative, Barry had his reasons. Barry was a childhood victim of rape, which he famously confessed before an audience at one of his performances.
His friend and fellow-comedian Bobcat Goldthwait chronicles Barry’s life both on and off the stage, and particularly following the story of Barry’s work to rid the world of Child Pornography and abuse.
“Bobcat Goldthwait?” most people still exclaim, “Wasn’t he that crazy guy from the Police Academy movies?”
Yes… Yes he was.
In truth, Bobcat has spent the last 20 years cultivating a career as a director of film and television, and has numerous credits to his name. Call Me Lucky feels like the culmination for Goldthwait as comedian and filmmaker, as he manages the delicate balance between the two elements throughout the film. There are times in which the deeply upsetting side of humanity is revealed, and Bobcat is able to convey this with empathetic eyes, and then reverse gears into humor within a matter of moments. A lesser director might have struggled with finding the proper tone, but Barry’s story is handled perfectly.
In his early childhood, Barry Crimmins experienced the worst trauma that a human being can endure, and emerging from that he found an outlet for his pain in the most personal and public venue possible. Barry became an advocate against all things powerful, all things “respectable”, as those same figures and organizations who claim to hold power over us pose the biggest threat. Goldthwait’s film shows that Barry prides himself as a malcontent, an instigator. While those labels are not without merit, there is far more to Barry than that. He clearly feels deeply for all those victimized, not only in terms of his anti-abuse advocacy, but in all walks of life.
What makes story so fascinating is that despite a fiery stream which could be easily confused for cynicism, Barry is actually quite an idealist. He sees the system around him as broken beyond repair, and through his humor and activism seeks to inspire those around him to help tear it down so a new one can be built. Even in spite of the overwhelming odds against him, his efforts have re-doubled.
Bobcat Goldthwait’s film is a loving tribute to his talented and passionate friend. Regardless of whether you see Crimmins as a philosopher, an agitator, or a madman (or all of the above), you will leave Call Me Lucky respecting him and his earnestness as a human being.
Call Me Lucky is available now on DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes, Amazon, and other digital platforms.