Call Me Lucky

Call Me Lucky

2015, NR, 106 min. Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Aug. 7, 2015

Bobcat Goldthwait directs this documentary about Barry Crimmins, a comic with whom you are quite likely unfamiliar. Crimmins’ heyday was in the Eighties, prior to the arrival of a vast network of comedy clubs throughout the nation, and before the Internet and YouTube clips spread popular culture like wildfire. He was the virtual president of the Boston comedy scene during those years, and comics such as Steven Wright, David Cross, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Patton Oswalt, Tom Kenny, and more sing his praises in this film. Big and bearded, usually holding a beer and a cigarette, his fellow comics frequently describe his entrance as though a bear had just hit the stage. Gruff, smart, quick, and abrasive, Crimmins’ comedy could be like the attack of a wild animal. His friends always wondered about the source of his ferocity. Often, his sharp and incisive wit is compared with that of Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce.

The answers to the Crimmins mystery became clear in the early Nineties, when he started talking in his act, as well as in an article in The Boston Phoenix, about the sexual abuse he had experienced as a child. At this point Crimmins became a comic/activist, who devoted a great deal of his time to the protection of children from child predators. He trolled the early AOL chat rooms to expose the new and flourishing community of people sharing child pornography online, and testified before Congress at a point when hardly anyone present understood what the Internet was. In a present-day interview, Crimmins describes his goals as “the overthrow of the government of the United States and closing the Catholic church.” It has never been sufficient for him to just make the audience laugh.

A compelling character, cultural forebear, beloved friend, and unsung comic and activist, Crimmins makes for an intriguing subject. Nevertheless, the film consists mostly of talking heads and decaying video clips. You’ll be the richer for spending time in Crimmins’ company, but the material seems better suited to the small screen.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Bobcat Goldthwait
Moontower 2014, Day 2: Bobcat Goldthwait
Moontower 2014, Day 2: Bobcat Goldthwait
When the 'Cat shrieks, we listen

Anne Harris, April 25, 2014

From the Vaults: God Bless Bobcat Goldthwait
From the Vaults: God Bless Bobcat Goldthwait
The comedian-turned-director discusses "Sleeping Dogs Lie"

Marjorie Baumgarten, June 1, 2012

More Bobcat Goldthwait Films
God Bless America
Bobcat Goldthwait wrote and directed this seething comedy, which he describes as a "violent movie about kindness."

Marjorie Baumgarten, June 1, 2012

World's Greatest Dad
Bobcat Goldthwait directs Robin Williams in this comedy that harpoons pious sentimentality.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Sept. 4, 2009

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Parallel Mothers
Almodóvar and Cruz's latest pairing unearths Spain's history

Jan. 21, 2022

This Job Will Change Your Life
This Job Will Change Your Life
Former staff reflect on the zigs and zags of life post-Chronicle

Sept. 3, 2021


Call Me Lucky, Bobcat Goldthwait

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle