State of the Art

Filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait heads to Charlotte

Charlotte Film Society will bring in “Call Me Lucky,” a documentary about Barry Crimmins.
Charlotte Film Society will bring in “Call Me Lucky,” a documentary about Barry Crimmins. Courtesy of Charlotte Film Society

The early 1980s were a good time for comedy. Robin Williams and Richard Pryor rode high; the late Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison unleashed rants; old-timers such as Rodney Dangerfield and Phyllis Diller delivered their lifelong, classic acts.

That period also unleashed two young performers whose destinies came together 30 years later: Bobcat Goldthwait and Barry Crimmins. The Charlotte Film Society will show the documentary that links them Saturday, and Goldthwait will speak about it afterward at Park Terrace Cinemas. movie content director Sean O’Connell will conduct that post-screening discussion.

Folks in their 40s may still think of Goldthwait as the distracted, nasal guy who seemed to dredge oddball jokes up from the bottom layer of a confused brain. They may also recall Crimmins as a rage-filled political satirist.

Fewer of us knew that Crimmins opened two Boston comedy clubs, the Ding Ho and Stitches, where Goldthwait and many other comics worked. And almost nobody knew that Crimmins had been abused as a child, until he decided in the 1990s to become an activist and hold people responsible for images of abuse on the Internet.

Since then, Crimmins has won various public service awards. His change of life inspired his old friend, who has been directing films for the last 25 years, to tell his story. “Call Me Lucky” was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and has won similar awards at smaller fests.

Tickets cost $12 or $5 if you’re a Film Society member. (You should be, because annual memberships cost just $12 and come with other benefits). Nationally recognized filmmakers seldom come to Charlotte to talk about their works, so kudos to the CFS for bringing him.

Toppman: 704-358-5232