The world lost an intensely great comedian, Barry Crimmons has passed away of cancer at the age of 64. This information was revealed via is personal Twitter account by his wife Helen, “Barry passed peacefully yesterday with Bobcat and I. He would want everyone to know that he cared deeply about mankind and wants you to carry on the good fight. Peace.”
Crimmons was never really a household name, but his influence was still felt far and wide, as the likes of Bobcat Goldthwait, Paula Poundstone, Lenny Clarke, Denis Leary, Louis C.K., and Kurt Metzger were all influenced by him. Crimmins railed for freedom of speech and political to his core. Crimmins was influential in the Boston comedy scene in the 1970s and 1980s.
While always on the fringes, Crimmins saw a resurgence of his career after the 2015 Bobcat Goldthwait-directed documentary Call Me Lucky. Goldthwait was immensely influenced by Barry (the story is that Crimmins would call himself “Bearcat” as Bob Goldtwait would call himself “Bobcat,” Crimmins stopped doing that and Bobcat never did and the name stuck). The documentary told Barry’s story and documented his crusade in the 90s to take on child sex offenders after the realization that he too was molested at a young age. Leading Crimmins to testify before congress on his discoveries about what the horrors the emerging internet posed on the topic. The documentary put Crimmins back at the forefront of people’s minds, at a time when a fiercly outspoken person was needed as freedom of speech was facing new challenges.
Louis C.K. thought it a travesty that Crimmins had never released a stand-up comedy special and worked to rectify that in 2016 by self-releasing the special Whatever Threatens You on his website, releasing it along with this statement:
Barry Crimmins’s special was shot in Lawrence, Kansas in July 2016. I produced and directed the special; this is not a thing I usually do but Barry is one of my favorite comedians of all time. He is a rarely intelligent and hilarious political satirist and obviously this being an election year it’s a particularly good time to hear what he has to say.
When I started out in the clubs in Boston, Barry was one of the Titans. One of the great comics of the time and he was singularly responsible for fostering a massive standup comedy scene in Boston that begat some of the best comedians of the last 35 years.
Most importantly, Barry is hilarious and brilliant.
A lot of comedians fall into categories or clusters but I’ve never seen what Barry does repeated anywhere. He has an approach to American life, American leadership and the people here and where we have been and where we are headed and why we do what we do that just blows me away.
I think that his comedic voice is essential. That’s why I made his special
During this time Crimmins hit the road with Kurt Metzger, who he himself was coming under attack for his words about an alleged rapist in the comedy community and calls for him to be fired from Inside Amy Schumer. The two dubbed their tour, Your Making It Worse and they hit the road together. In January of 2017 the two comedians were in a car and they hit a patch of black ice and collided with an 18 wheeler. They were both banged up and had to cancel a few dates but they made it out alive and the accident could’ve been much worse.
About a year later in January 2018, Crimmins was a guest on Conan O’Brien to reveal that he himself had cancer. It was a tough pill to swallow for someone who had already been through so much. He had also recently married Helen who herself was fighting stage-four non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Helen released updates on Barry through her own GoFundMe Page with an update about a week ago stating that Barry was finally starting to receive proper care through writer’s guild insurance that kicked in at the top of the year and that one of the reasons Crimmins took so long to get care was that he wasn’t adequately insured and didn’t want to rack up the medical bills.
While I don’t wish this on anybody, there are times when I can’t help but think that there are individuals who deserve this rather than us. The only reason Barry didn’t see a doctor right away is because he didn’t have adequate health insurance and he didn’t want to rack up huge medical bills while we were already dealing with my huge medical bills. I lobbied for him to go despite what it would cost, but he had made up his mind to wait until he was covered. The American healthcare system really screwed both of us. Maybe the individuals who decided that profit over people was the way to go deserve this crap?
Thoughts, prayers, positive energy, etc. are all welcome. Questions, psychic predictions, a doctor who promises a miracle cure if you subscribe to his newsletter, etc. are not welcome. Anybody who needs the details about what is happening already has them and the other stuff is just silly and totally useless to all of us.
Rest in peace Bearcat, you will be missed.