gallagher dead

Legendary comic prop Gallagher, dead at 76

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember a time when “incidental” comedy wasn’t frowned upon. Long before the days of Carrot Top, a comedian named Gallagher made his fortune smashing watermelons with a mallet and, sadly, the former headliner passed away at seventy-six. If you’re a comedy fan, you’ll know Gallagher’s reputation in recent years hasn’t been great, as he slipped out of an interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast when challenged on some of his material (leading to one of the podcasts greatest lines: “Oh, come on, Gallagher!”).

Leo Gallagher was all the rage in his youth, having appeared on The show tonight several times, despite Johnny Carson’s supposed dislike of prop humor. Later in his career, Gallagher found himself in a fierce legal battle with his brother, Ron Gallagher, who performed as “Gallagher Too”. The legitimate Gallagher initially allowed his brother to use his material, including the famous track “Sledge-O-Matic”, but ultimately the public was confused as to who the real deal was, leading to a trial. For the record, the “Sledge-O-Matic” routine involved Gallagher destroying watermelons with mallets. Although not high art, audiences of the 70s and 80s found it hilarious.

According to People, Gallagher was in poor health recently and died of multiple organ failure. He had been touring regularly until the pandemic, and Paul F. Thompkins memorably played him in the recent Bizarre: the story of Al Yankovic.

Although his sense of humor might seem a bit old-fashioned, there’s no denying that in his heyday he made a lot of people laugh. In 2004, Comedy Central named him the 100th greatest comedian of all time.

Do you have fond memories of Gallagher? Let us know in the comments!

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