Barry Crimmins, Pioneering Comedian and Anti-Pedophilia Activist, Dies at 64

Crimmins was the subject of Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2015 documentary “Call Me Lucky”

barry crimmins
Getty Images

Barry Crimmins, the Boston-based comedian and political activist who was the subject of Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2015 documentary “Call Me Lucky,” has died at age 64 just weeks after disclosing a cancer diagnosis.

His wife, Helen, who herself is battling stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma, tweeted the news early Thursday.

Crimmins was a major figure on the 1980s comedy circuit in Boston where comics such as Stephen Wright, Denis Leary and Bobcat Goldthwait first emerged.

He became famous for his outspoken political views — even serving as a correspondent for the left-leaning talk-radio network Air America. In the 1990s, he revealed during a stand-up set that he had been raped as a child and became an advocate for victims of childhood sexual abuse.

After discovering chatrooms for pedophiles on AOL, Crimmins led a crusade against the company and others he felt were involved in distributing online child pornography, even testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing on the matter.

Tributes quickly poured in for the political satirist. “Barry Crimmins was a compassionate, hilarious man who touched so many lives,” Judd Apatow tweeted.

“Rest in Power Barry Crimmins. You fought with your whole heart to make the world better,” “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead wrote.

John Hodgman added, “Barry Crimmins has been an inspiration as a comedian and model of human courage and decency for as long as I’ve been conscious.”