07/03/2007 03:00 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

One Hell Of A Holiday

Barry Crimmins has finally forsaken the road, so if you didn't see him perform over the past 30 years, then you'll have to make do with Dane Cook.

Now, I don't want to sully Barry's name with Cook's, since the former made words fly while the latter merely jumps around. But it reinforces the fact that there are fewer and fewer real political and social satirists working today, the kind of satirist who doesn't let you get too comfortable with your own biases and superstitions; who doesn't think that the Democrats are The Answer to all that ails us. Barry's an equal-opportunity sniper who's now moved his perch from nightclub stage to online site, where he'll continue to fire away at the frauds and criminals who rule and rob us.

If you're unfamiliar with Barry, he is perhaps best known as the founder of Ding Ho, the Boston comedy club that produced the likes of Steven Wright, Bobcat Goldthwait, Paula Poundstone, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Denis Leary, Jimmy Tingle, Lenny Clarke, among many others. And of course there was Barry, tying it all together with his eloquent, gruff takes, piercing one-liners, and Twain-ish assaults. Indeed, I don't know anyone who appreciates and understands Twain more than Barry. He is perhaps the perfect person to keep that satirical flame alive.

Let me show you what I mean. Every July 4th, the Boston Phoenix asks Barry to share his thoughts on the current State of the Union. This year, Barry has channeled the thoughts of a certain fallen angel who's addressing one of his more rebellious servants -- Dick Cheney. In lesser hands, this would be trite. With Barry taking aim, however, we get a deeper look at what true venality is like. What better birthday present to give America! I believe that the old storyteller from Missouri would approve.