Paul Krassner, countercultural ringmaster and leader of the Yippies, dies at 87

Author, comedian and Yippie co-founder Paul Krassner, in 2009, at his home in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. (Eric Reed/AP)

July 22 at 7:29 PM

He was a standup comedian encouraged by Lenny Bruce, a biting satirist celebrated by Kurt Vonnegut, and a swashbuckling drug enthusiast who took a “trip” with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, dropped acid before testifying at the Chicago Seven trial, and “ingested those little white tabs” with Groucho Marx in Beverly Hills.

In those heady years of 1960s radicalism and experimentation, Paul Krassner was also an irreverent ringmaster of the counterculture, known for battling censorship and decency laws, coining the term “Yippie” to describe his anarchic cohort, and founding the Realist, an influential magazine of satire and social criticism.

An FBI agent once described him in a letter to Life magazine as “a raving, unconfined nut,” a phrase that Mr. Krassner gleefully adapted for the title of his memoir. “The FBI was right,” comedian George Carlin later said. “This man is dangerous — and funny, and necessary.”

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