Comedian Gallagher, Famed For Smashing Watermelons, Dead At 76

American comic Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., identified by his stage identify Gallagher, has died from organ failure, his household instructed NBC Information. He was 76.

His longtime and former supervisor, Craig Marquardo, additionally confirmed the information to HuffPost.

The funnyman and sledgehammer fanatic handed away Friday whereas in hospice care in his Palm Springs, California, residence, his son-in-law instructed NBC. Earlier than his demise, he had spent years preventing critical well being circumstances, together with a number of coronary heart assaults.

Gallagher turned a family identify in 1980 along with his comedy particular “An Uncensored Evening,” directed by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees fame, Marquardo instructed HuffPost in an emailed assertion. “This was the first comedy stand-up special ever to air on cable television.”

Gallagher on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1978.

The prop comic deployed his observational humor in a number of HBO specials and 14 specials that aired on Showtime and MTV. Based on his web site, he was the top-rated comic in ticket gross sales and rankings for 15 years and carried out 3,500 reside reveals all through his decades-long profession.

Towards the top of his profession, the comic starred in his first film, “The Book of Daniel,” and had a sequence of very acceptable Geico industrial s.

Gallagher was finest identified for his signature comedy bit, “Sledge-O-Matic,” by which he’d take a big mallet and launch his anger by smashing numerous meals and objects. He’d typically goal his props bits towards a reside viewers — forcing them to defend themselves with plastic and goggles.

Though Gallagher shattered every part from pound cake (heh) to a newspaper merchandising machine, his followers have been most passionate about his love for obliterating watermelons.

Marquardo instructed HuffPost that Gallagher toured for his loyal viewers steadily till the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gallagher’s humorousness stopped resonating with youthful audiences in his later years. A 2011 evaluate of a present he did in Florida by the Miami New Occasions described the comic as “aging, confused, defensive, [and] slightly bigoted.”

Gallagher performing in San Francisco in 2011.
Gallagher performing in San Francisco in 2011.

C Flanigan by way of Getty Photos

“Though it’d be sort of pompous to call Gallagher an actual bigot, let’s just say, it was more than a challenge for me to even get his knocks on gays, Blacks, Mexicans, Jews, and women,” the reviewer wrote.

Lindy West of Seattle’s “The Stranger” expressed an analogous opinion in a 2011 evaluate of one in every of his gigs in Washington state. West described being shocked to find that Gallagher was “a paranoid, delusional, right-wing religious maniac” after a joke he made about former President Barack Obama’s pores and skin tone.

“Gallagher was known for his edgy style, brilliant wordplay, and inventive props,” Marquardo instructed HuffPost.

While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story.”