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Barry Crimmins
Barry Crimmins 2017.jpg
Crimmins performing in Oslo, January 2017
Born (1953-07-03)July 3, 1953
Kingston, New York, United States
Died February 28, 2018(2018-02-28) (aged 64)
Syracuse, New York, United States
Occupation Political satirist, comedian
Years active 1980–2018

Barry Francis Crimmins (July 3, 1953 – February 28, 2018) was an American stand-up comedian, political satirist, activist, author, Air America Radio writer and correspondent, and comedy club owner.

Early life

Crimmins was born in Kingston, New York, to Margaret Hooe and Phillip "Phil" Crimmins, a traveling salesman. When he was six, his family moved to Skaneateles, New York.

After graduating from high school in 1971, he started performing stand-up comedy at Under the Stone and later moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to pursue his comedic career.


Comedy and writing

Crimmins founded two comedy clubs, The Ding Ho and Stitches, in the 1980s in Boston. Shows at these clubs, produced by Crimmins, included performances by comedians Steven Wright, Paula Poundstone, Bobcat Goldthwait, Kevin Meaney, Jimmy Tingle and many others.

Crimmins' satirical writing and comedy routines focused on the need for political and social change.

Crimmins was the author of Never Shake Hands with a War Criminal.

Film and television

Crimmins was featured in a number of film and television appearances, including When Stand Up Stood Out (2003), The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1988–1989), and The Young Comedians All-Star Reunion (1986). He released two albums: Strange Bedfellows on A&M Records and Kill the Messenger on Green Linnet. His articles were regularly published in the Boston Phoenix among other publications.

Crimmins's life and work in comedy and politics were the subjects of a documentary entitled Call Me Lucky (2015) directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

On June 4, 2016, Crimmins shot a special, Whatever Threatens You, in Lawrence, Kansas for Louis C.K.'s production company Pig Newton.

Personal life

Crimmins was married to Helen Crimmins (née Lysen), a photographer and font designer in August 2017 in Chicago. They resided in Syracuse, New York. In January 2018, he was diagnosed with cancer and described the prognosis as "not very good". Crimmins died of cancer on February 28, 2018, in Syracuse at the age of 64.


Crimmins received the "Peace Leadership Award" from Boston Mobilization for Survival, and was honored by Community Works with the "Artist for Social Change Award" for his years of activism. Howard Zinn presented him with "The Courage of Conscience Award" from Wellesley College and The Life Experience School at The Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

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