Comedian Barry Crimmins Dies at 64

Comedian Barry Crimmins has died at the age of 64, his wife says. In the late '70s, Crimmins founded Boston's Ding Ho Comedy Club, which helped launch the careers of stand-up comedians like Steven Wright, Denis Leary and Dana Gould.

In January, Crimmins tweeted that he had cancer and that his prognosis was not good. The comedian’s death was announced Thursday on Twitter by his wife Helen, who wrote, “Barry passed peacefully yesterday with Bobcat [Goldthwait] and I. He would want everyone to know that he cared deeply about mankind and wants you to carry on the good fight. Peace.”

Crimmins played an influential role in developing and promoting a more politically minded and socially aware vein of comedy.

In the '90s, Crimmins emerged as an activist against child pornography after discovering chat rooms for pedophiles on the nascent internet. A child-abuse survivor himself, Crimmins even testified in front of Congress about the issue in 1995.

“We sort of were able to carry on from where Lenny Bruce got things,” Crimmins said on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast in 2013. “Lenny did all this stuff, but it had to be about him, because he was always in trouble. Now you’re not going to be in trouble for being that guy. And so now, you can actually get down to brass tacks.” Crimmins was the subject of the 2015 documentary Call Me Lucky, directed by his fellow comedian Bobcat Goldthwait.

Goldthwait, who chronicled Crimmins' career and activism in his 2015 documentary, Call Me Lucky, paid tribute with a photo of his longtime friend on Instagram.

Other comedy frontrunners like Judd Apatow and John Hodgman have paid tribute to Crimmins since the news of his death.

“Barry Crimmins was a compassionate, hilarious man who touched so many lives,” Apatow wrote on Twitter. “He gave so much of himself to help other people. I hope his life inspires others to follow his example. And he was hilarious. We love you Barry.”

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

Gould also paid tribute to Crimmins.

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Patton Oswalt called Crimmins a "blazing, hilarious soul."

Actor and comedian Tom Arnold called Crimmins "my brother."