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Barry Crimmins (1953 – 2018), influential comedian and activist

(Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Helped launch the careers of Denis Leary and Steven Wright

Barry Crimmins, the influential comic who founded Boston’s Ding Ho Comedy Club, has died from cancer at the age of 64. 

His death was announced Thursday on Twitter by his wife Helen, who wrote, “Barry passed peacefully yesterday with Bobcat 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 was the founder of two influential Boston comedy clubs, Ding Ho and Stitches. The clubs helped launch the careers of many comedians including Dana Gould and Denis Leary. 

Crimmins was known for injecting political and social commentary into his act. He was a crusader against images of child abuse on the internet, receiving the "Peace Leadership Award" from Boston Mobilization for Survival. 

He appeared on television on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” and was the subject of a 2015 documentary titled “Call Me Lucky,” which was directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait. 

Many paid tribute to Crimmins on social media. 

Director Judd Apatow on Twitter: “Barry Crimmins was a compassionate, hilarious man who touched so many lives. 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.” 

Comedian/Actor John Hodgman on Twitter. “I had not known this sad sad news til this moment. Barry Crimmins has been an inspiration as a comedian and model of human courage and decency for as long as I’ve been conscious.” 

We invite you to share condolences for Barry Crimmins in his Guest Book.