FBLA Exclusive: Interview with Randi Rhodes’ Ex-Writer Barry Crimmins


Randi Rhodes is in trouble for calling Hillary Clinton a ‘fucking whore’ as part of a stand up performance she did in San Francisco. Last word was that Air America suspended her for the YouTubed gaff.

In fairness to all stand up comedians, Randi Rhodes is not one. Nor was Michael Richards. Just so that’s stated for the record.

Barry Crimmins, who is a stand up, satirist and author, was a writer for Rhodes from March 2004 until the summer of 2006. The time when, arguably Rhodes was the most poignant and funny she’s ever been.

Crimmins talked exclusively with FBLA about the suspension.

FBLA: What you think of this ordeal?

BC: I looked at the video. She was inarticulate. It was in a club, obviously people were drinking. It didn’t seem like people were particularly aghast. As far as Hillary being a ‘whore’ – I criticize her a lot but that’s not the word I would use. And something no one is talking about is that she said this in San Francisco where many sex workers are unionized and she used ‘whore’ as a pejorative.

But as far as what she was doing up there, it looked like something that was not well put together. She was stringing together lines that she has used on the air and ad-libbing around them. That’s where the inarticulate language came in. I’ve seen people do a lot worse – she was getting laughs. I think they’ll use the whole ‘it’s just not funny’ excuse but she was getting some laughs.

But she’s a rep for sacred Air America – an allegedly progressive talk show network that’s now policing what its employees say on a Friday night in a bar. Next comes a memo forbidding on-air discussion of the ACLU.

There are two forces at work here: One is selling Hillary Clinton as feminist martyr, even though she’s running with assurances that she’ll be the perfect tool of the patriarchal war machine – not to mention a prime beneficiary of said machine. This is where some might apply charges of prostitution. Anyway, this played right into the endless “Hillary as gallant, little victim” stuff. She was the favorite with big time connections and now she’s The Little Engine That Could or Rocky, who also lost to a black guy with a weird name.

So ten days later, Force One From Victimhood meets meets Force Two From WEB 2.O – YouTube. This all falls in the lap of suits at perpetually failing Air America – suits apparently looking to dump a big contract.

FBLA: Did you write for her during the whole shooting Bush controversy?

BC: I wrote that sketch. Jeb Bush had just pushed through legislation making it OK for Floridians to shoot people if they felt threatened. This didn’t exactly make me feel comfortable as a performer whose been known to occasionally make audiences a tad nervous. Anyway, this bit was meant to satirize both Jeb’s law and W’s raid on Social Security. It was meant to sound like an old codger firing a warning shot because he felt threatened — sort of a “get off my land!” deal. Instead, it got produced with a burst of automatic weapon fire. This was wrong, I should have caught it, someone should have caught it – we didn’t.

I did give them the perfect escape line, which they didn’t use. The line was, “We’re sorry – we forgot how seriously this administration takes fictitious threats.”

But seriously, I don’t want Bush to be shot. I want him to live and face the judgment of history and know that he will forever be the measure of puniness.

In any case, it seems to me that calls to fire Randi are excessive. Her livelihood’s at stake and Americans have lost enough jobs lately.

I once lost a great radio gig for no good reason and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone – even if they were guilty of off-duty inarticulate speech.

FBLA: Thanks Barry! We’re such fans of what you do!

For more about Crimmins – visit his site.