Political Humorist Barry Crimmins Dies at 64

Barry Crimmins
Mike Pont/WireImage
– Barry Crimmins
Barry Crimmins (L) and Bob Godwaith (center) discuss the documentary “Call Me Lucky” in 2015.

Barry Crimmins, a comedian who helped boost the careers of other humorists including Steven Wright, Paula Poundstone, and Bobcat Goldthwait to prominence in the 1980s by booking them in Boston comedy clubs, died Feb. 27 at his Syracuse, N.Y., home. He announced he had cancer just weeks prior.

Crimmins, 64, was a central figure in the Boston comedy scene in the 1980s both as a performer and as a booker at venues such as the notorious basement room in a Chinese restaurant called Ding Ho, as well as comedy club Stitches. In later years he set his sights on activism against child pornography after revealing his own childhood abuse.

Leading up to his activist period, his comedy became more political. “Before a lot of these guys like Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, he was one of the first guys that really would nail that kind of thing,” comedian and writer Paul Kozlowski said in an interview for Goldthwait’s 2015 documentary about Crimmins, “Call Me Lucky.”

Comedian and writer Dana Gould added, “He wasn’t the most successful comedian in Boston, He was like the president of the scene.”

Crimmins also opened for activist artists during the 1980s, notably Jackson Browne and Billy Bragg, according to the New York Times.