Gallagher, watermelon smashing comedian, dies at 76



Gallagher, the long-haired, smash-’em-up comic who left a path of laughter, anger and shattered watermelons over a decadeslong profession, has died at age 76.

Craig Marquardo, in an announcement figuring out himself as Gallagher’s “longtime former supervisor,” mentioned that he died Friday at his dwelling in Palm Springs, California, after a short sickness. Gallagher had quite a few coronary heart assaults through the years, together with one proper earlier than a scheduled present in Texas in 2012.

With a beret on his head and some easy props, from a can of oil to a bull whip, the person born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. constructed a nationwide following within the Seventies and ’80s, showing on the “Tonight” present with Johnny Carson and starring in quite a few Showtime specials. His act included observational humor (“What about Easter? Whose thought was it to present eggs to an animal that hops”), political commentary (“They do not name a tax a tax. They name it a income enhancer”), invented sports activities (synchronized Ping-Pong) and his trademark Sledge-O-Matic destruction.

“Ladies and gents! I didn’t come right here tonight simply to make you snort. I got here right here to promote you one thing, and I need you to pay explicit consideration!” he would name out in his greatest rapid-fire impersonation of a late-night tv pitchman. “The wonderful Master Tool Corporation, a subsidiary of Fly-By-Night Industries, has entrusted who? Me! To present you! The handiest and the dandiest kitchen instrument you’ve got ever seen.”

Sledgehammer in hand, he would then apply his full muscle to apples, grapes, lettuce and different produce, most famously the inevitable watermelon, with viewers members in entrance showered in meals bits.

Gallagher was a Fort Bragg, North Carolina, native who began out in 1960 as street supervisor for the comic/musician Jim Stafford and shortly started performing himself, honing his act at the Comedy Store and different golf equipment. He was not the one funnyman within the household: His youthful brother Ron grew to become a comic, acquired Leo’s preliminary blessing and seemed and acted sufficient like his better-known sibling that some audiences had been not sure who that they had come to see. Leo Gallagher ultimately secured a court docket injunction barring his brother from utilizing his routines.

The elder Gallagher grew to become progressively controversial in recent times, chastised for racist and homophobic remarks. Gallagher even minimize brief an interview in 2011 with Marc Maron after the WTF podcast host confronted him about his statements.

“I’m the issue?!” Gallagher mentioned at one level. “Do you suppose when I’m useless, gays will lastly have a possibility in America? Have I actually been holding them down?”

In 2003, Gallagher was amongst greater than 100 candidates working within the recall election for California governor, gained by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Over the previous decade, Gallagher appeared in a Geico industrial and within the film “The Book Of Daniel.”


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