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Bobcat Goldthwait brings his comedy to Tacoma

Awkward, misanthropic, hopeful comedian and director Bobcat Goldthwait will be making appearances in Tacoma, tonight through Saturday. Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank

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Even before he started writing and directing fiercely original movies like World's Greatest Dad and God Bless America, it should be noted that Bobcat Goldthwait was always more than the guy with the squawking voice in the Police Academy movies. As a stand-up comic, finding his footing in the Boston comedy scene, Goldthwait developed a unique point-of-view that split the difference between absurdist comedy and borderline performance art.

After finding mainstream success in the ‘80s, thanks to the loud character he'd created (that he would come to resent), Goldthwait began the process of being as true to himself as a performer as possible. These days, as a comedian, storyteller and unpredictable filmmaker, Bobcat Goldthwait is never anything but forthcoming and refreshingly honest with the art he aims to create. From Thursday through Saturday, Goldthwait will be appearing at the Tacoma Comedy Club to share some of his fascinating life with you.

"Now, I'm basically myself onstage," said Goldthwait. "Whenever I read things online of people being snarky about my early career, it's never people that saw my stand-up back in the day, because there was always some content being smuggled into my stand-up, even though there was a persona. So, when I read that stuff, it's kind of funny, because I'm like, ‘Oh, you mean the Police Academy movies that you watched. You're not only outing me for being in a sh@#&* movie, you're outing yourself for watching a sh@#&* movie (laughs).'"

If Goldthwait established himself as a director to watch with a one-two punch of pitch black comedies, World's Greatest Dad and God Bless America, he made it known that he's one of the most eclectic indie filmmakers working today with his next projects.

"What's exciting, for me, is to try out different genres," said Goldthwait. "I wanted to do something suspenseful, so I did a scary bigfoot movie that was found-footage, which is an overused device. I thought I'd do my version of it. I like the challenge of doing different kinds of movies, which probably hurts me, in a way. I think some filmmakers tend to make the same kind of movie in the same style, and then they become a brand. My movies, are either similar, or mostly similar tonally; but that's not a brand. There's no section on Netflix for awkward, misanthropic, hopeful films (laughs)."

Goldthwait's recently released documentary, Call Me Lucky, which finds a fascinating subject in Barry Crimmins. Crimmins was a force of nature in the Boston comedy scene when Goldthwait was coming up, and Call Me Lucky not only tracks Crimmins' career as a ferocious political comic, but also his time on the forefront of battling the exchange of child pornography in the infancy of the Internet after revealing his own childhood abuse.

"I decided to tell Barry Crimmins' story as a doc, because that seemed like the only way it was going to get made," said Goldthwait. "It was hard. Sometimes, I would have to ask him to not tell his story, but to remember his story, which is a horrible thing to ask your friend. ... I wanted to show the audience this man who was able to channel his anger into something positive and have a life that is healthy and fulfilling."

It's an amazing balancing act that Goldthwait strikes in Call Me Lucky, laying so much groundwork showcasing Crimmins as such a compelling performer before revealing the tragedy of his childhood -which is essentially how Goldthwait and his peers experienced that news, with Crimmins deciding one night to talk about it onstage. It's a documentary that's tender and also surging with Barry Crimmins' rage and desire to right so many of the things that are poisonous in this world.

Bobcat Goldthwait's own life is one worthy of a documentary, but until someone makes that movie, let Bobcat tell you himself on stage.

Tacoma Comedy Club, Thursday, Nov. 5 8 p.m., $10-$14; Friday & Saturday Nov. 6-7, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., $20-$25, 933 Market St. Tacoma, 253.282.7203

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