Gallagher (comedian)

Gallagher (comedian)

Infobox Comedian
name = Gallagher

caption =
birth_name = Leo Anthony Gallagher
birth_date = birth date and age|1946|7|26
birth_place = Fort Bragg, NC
website = []

Gallagher (born Leo Anthony Gallagher on July 26, 1946 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina) is an American comedian and prop comic, most popularly known for smashing watermelons as part of his act.


After graduating from the University of South Florida with a chemical engineering degree in 1969, Gallagher began working as comic/musician Jim Stafford’s road manager. Stafford and Gallagher went out to California in 1979 and Gallagher decided to take the stage himself. He began honing his own comedy act while hanging out at both The Comedy Store and the Ice House.

Gallagher was one of the most popular and recognizable American comedians during the early 1980s. He produced at least one special a year from 1981 to 1987, all of which were carried by Showtime cable network and then re-broadcast numerous times throughout the year. To date he has done 16 specials.

tandup act

His signature sketch is the “Sledge-O-Matic,” a large wooden mallet that Gallagher uses to smash a variety of objects, including computer keyboards, containers of cottage cheese, cartons of chocolate milk, tubes of toothpaste, pound cake ("I guess it does"), Big Macs, and, most famously, watermelons. Given the messy nature of this portion of his act, it is usually saved for the finale of his shows. Show attendees in the first two or three rows are usually provided with plastic sheeting for protection, and many fans bring their own additional protection (raincoats, umbrellas, and so on). Gallagher performs other prop-food gags including a demonstration of constipation using a jar of Jif peanut butter and an explanation of the difference between men and women using a sausage wrapped in a banana peel.

Gallagher claims he originally developed the Sledge-O-Matic act for George Carlin, but it was rejected so Gallagher used as the center piece of his own actFact|date=August 2008.

In addition to the Sledge-O-Matic, Gallagher’s act features a variety of props, including a large trampoline designed to look like a couch, an adult sized Big Wheel, and a cap with a fringe of hair attached to the back.

In particular, while the Sledge-O-Matic act works as an example of physical prop comedy, Gallagher frequently uses this portion of his act as a criticism of American consumer culture. The act itself is a parody of ads for kitchen gadgets such as Ginsu knives that permeated the American television airwaves during non-primetime hours in the late 1970s. (See [ Wikiquotes] for the traditional introduction to the Sledge-O-Matic sequence.)

Business activities

Gallagher writes all of his own material, runs his own operation, and does more than 100 concerts a year. He currently denies that he has a first name, although it is unclear whether he legally changed his name.

All of Gallagher’s affairs are handled exclusively by his companies, Sold Out Shows and Fun Fun Fun. Gallagher is a self-contained touring business with an agent, promoter and road manager all in-house. For the last 18 years, Ruth Ann Hoffman has booked and promoted all of Gallagher’s dates across the country. Gallagher calls Hoffman his “personal promoter.”Fact|date=February 2007

Gallagher ran for the Governor in the 2003 California recall election, finishing 16th out of 135 candidates with 5,466 votes.

The “Gallagher Too” controversy

At some point during the early 1990s, Gallagher’s younger brother Ron Gallagher asked Gallagher for permission to perform shows using Gallagher’s old routines, and also using Gallagher’s trademark Sledge-O-Matic routine. The idea was that Ron Gallagher, who was unemployed, would tour the country working small venues that couldn’t afford a show put on by Gallagher himself. Since Ron bears a strong familial resemblance to his older brother, the show would be almost like having a real Gallagher show.

Gallagher granted his blessing to his younger brother on the condition that Ron and his manager would make it clear in their promotional materials that it was Ron Gallagher, not Gallagher himself, that was putting on the show.

After a few years of complying with Gallagher’s conditions, Ron began blurring the line between his act and that of his brother. He would often promote his act as “Gallagher Too,” a moniker Gallagher felt was insufficiently informative. In some instances, Ron’s act was promoted in a way that provided no clue to prospective attendees that they were seeing someone other than Gallagher himself.

Gallagher initially attempted to get his brother to stop these activities by requesting that he stop using Gallagher’s well-known Sledge-O-Matic routine. These efforts proved futile, and Ron kept touring as “Gallagher Too” while using the Sledge-O-Matic routine his older brother had made famous. Consequently, in August 2000, Gallagher sued his brother for trademark violations and false advertising. The courts ultimately sided with Leo Gallagher, and an injunction was granted prohibiting Ron from performing any act that impersonates his brother in small clubs and venues.

During the lawsuit, all of Gallagher’s immediate family sided with Ron over the controversy. As a consequence, Gallagher is now estranged from his parents and siblings. [ [ 90ways - Criticism - Week 93 ] ]

"The Oregonian" interview

In January 2005, the "Oregonian"’s entertainment section printed a short interview with Gallagher where he gave scathing reviews about many of the top comedic performers in America. He criticized stand-up performers and comedic actors, including David Letterman, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and Michael Keaton. Gallagher expressed frustration over Hanks and Keaton’s success, remarking that they were millionaires while "he" was renting a condo. While criticising Jay Leno and Letterman, he expressed surprise that they never invited him to appear in their shows, citing that Johnny Carson never liked him, but still booked him.

Gallagher reserved special wrath for Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, where he was listed as #100, just below Janeane Garofalo. Gallagher criticized the list as a whole, stating that when reading it he “was trying to find anyone I ever heard of.” He went on to claim that he had invented the concept of the one-person comedy show on cable television. [ [ Can’t Stop The Bleeding » Comedy Is Not Pretty. And Neither Is Gallagher’s Act ] ]


* "An Uncensored Evening" (1980)
* "Mad as Hell"/"Two Real" (1981)
* "Totally New" (1982)
* "Stuck in the Sixties" (1983)
* "The Maddest" (1983)
* "Melon Crazy" (1984)
* "Over Your Head" (1984)
* "The Bookkeeper" (1985)
* "The Messiest" (1986)—contains clips from previous specials
* "Overboard" (1987)
* "We Need a Hero" (1993)
* "Smashing Cheeseheads" (1998)
* "Messin’ Up Texas" (1998)
* "" (2000)
* "Tropic of Gallagher" (2005)


External links

* [ Gallagher’s official site]
*imdb name|id=0302329|name=Gallagher
* [ Reprint of the "Oregonian" interview]

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