“Call Me Lucky” is another of those “the funniest comic you never saw” documentaries. Guys like Bill Hicks have earned them over the years.
The bearish Bostonian Barry Crimmins is so unknown that it’s a bit of a shock to realize, a half hour into the film, that he’s still alive.
But he is. And still raging about politics, the Catholic Church, American culture, values and the inherent unfairness of the capitalist system.
One wag — and there are many wags, many comics who are fans — labels him a cross between “Noam Chomsky…and Bluto.”
Bobcat Goldthwait’s film is about a guy who was a mentor (Bobcat made up his first name in tribute to “The Bear Cat” Crimmins, no idea how he made up the last name) to a generation of comics, running comedy clubs in the small upstate New York town where Crimmins and Bobcat both grew up, and in Boston — goosing the Boston comedy scene until it produced Denis Leary, Steven Wright and others.
But that’s not the reason to see this film, loaded with testimonials, recollections and jokes — an early Crimmins line about being “hassled the other day. Got caught smuggling books into Kentucky.”
“Lucky” gets at the origins of Crimmins’ angry humor, his sizable beef with the Catholic Church and the cause which took him all the way to Capital Hill, testifying before Congress.
With a little luck, this movie could help him realize a lifelong dream — to be excommunicated from the church he grew up in. Maybe then this angry old recluse will have a little peace, even if he loses a little of what’s made him funny all these years.
MPAA Rating: unrated, profanity
Cast: Barry Crimmins, Margaret Cho, Lenny Clarke, Steven Wright
Credits: Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait script by . An MPI release.
Running time: 1:46