There's a weird thing that happens when you really admire the work of a writer, actor, comic, filmmaker or, in the case of Bobcat Goldthwait, all of the above. You become personally invested in the artist, which at its extreme can result in criminal stalking and at its most tame can be simply hoping for that stranger's well being from afar. I'd put myself in the latter category (despite the restraining order), as demonstrated by my concern over Goldthwait's mental well being when his pal Robin Williams committed suicide. Goldthwait had also been pretty close to Kurt Cobain, so going through that (at least) twice in a lifetime would be unsettling. Sure enough, Goldthwait's Twitter and other social media contact with the outside world ground to a halt upon Williams' death. So it's refreshing to see Goldthwait now out promoting his latest movie, including live and in person in Santa Ana Sunday night.
Though Goldthwait is better known for his standup and roles in the Police Academy flicks, he deserves more praise for his own small, potent and intelligent comedies such as Shakes the Clown, World's Greatest Dad and God Bless America.
His latest is the documentary Call Me Lucky, which is about standup Barry Crimmins, who Goldthwait has said in interviews helped mentor him coming up as a comic in Boston. That's something of a surprise when you consider Goldthwait started as a screechy voiced absurdist and Crimmins is known for in-your-face political comedy and satire.
What Goldthwait has said he has tried to get at with Call Me Lucky is how Crimmins is not more famous and how he managed to function given a dark secret from his past. Among those interviewed in the film are Marc Maron, David Cross, Margaret Cho, Patton Oswalt, Tom Kenny, Kevin Meaney, Lenny Clarke, Steven Wright, Crimmins' mother Margaret Hooe, sister Mary Johanna Smith and, of course, Crimmins himself. Given the subject's stark and smart political observations, especially his real-time criticism of the foreign policy of 1980s America, it's no surprise that Billy Bragg and Cindy Sheehan also appear in Call Me Lucky.
The film kicks off a one-week run at The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana tonight, but if you stick around after the 7:30 p.m. Sunday screening you can participate in an audience Q&A with Goldthwait. If you go, ask him for me how he's doing.
Here's the trailer:
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Click here for ticket information: http://thefridacinema.org/event/call-me-lucky/.
Click here for the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/819584118128696/.