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Gallagher is not only terrible, he's also apparently crazy.
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Mikal kHill



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
Posts: 6851
Location: http://mikalkhill.com
Gallagher is not only terrible, he's also apparently crazy.  Reply with quote  

Where's black gallagher when you need him?

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/gallagher-is-a-paranoid-right-wing-watermelon-smashing-maniac/Content?oid=4357855


June 29, 2010

Gallagher Is a Paranoid, Right-Wing, Watermelon-Smashing Maniac
The Decline and Fall of a Comedy Legend
by Lindy West


"You have your hat backward," Gallagher sneers at a twentysomething man in the front row. "Are you a homosexual? Because it seems you have a problem figuring out the front from the back." Big laugh. "I see people every day I can't figger out what sex they are," he continues. Even bigger laugh. The old man—1980s fixture, incessant smasher of fruit, and "comedy legend," according to the marquee outside—is onstage in front of a sold-out Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, Washington. An hour earlier, my friend and I had disembarked the packed rush-hour ferry in downtown Bremerton and wandered uphill through oddly deserted streets (our hundreds of fellow passengers seemed to have vaporized when they reached land) until we found the Admiral. Gallagher stood on the sidewalk. He was small and old—his back bent a bit, his trademark dark curls faded to a dank grayish-­blond. He scuttled around the corner and through a side door.

It's cocktail seating inside the Admiral—small tables of four—and we are placed at #B32 with a largish lady in pink and her mustachioed gentleman friend. "Oh, you're sitting with my daughter!" the elderly usher crows. "This is my daughter!" We aren't sure how to respond, so we say, "Cool!" Things are immediately awkward. They would only get worse.

My memories of watching Gallagher during my 1980s childhood (Comedy Central was my third parent) were pretty much apolitical—silly props, innocuous puns, and, of course, all the smashing, smashing, smashing. Tonight, we're expecting much of the same, only older, sadder. We are smug and a little bored. "Gallagher's gotta be, like, 90 now, right?" I joke. "Because he was, you know..." "Bald?" my friend offers. "In the '70s?" "Right." The stage is swathed in thousands of yards of black plastic sheeting. Spray-painted on the back wall is a banner (created, if the internet is any indication, by Gallagher himself before each show) that says: "G-[watermelon]-L-L-[space]-[watermelon]-R-R-R." It is... sad. We were right about that much.

Then Gallagher gets going. And fuck. Bremerton is a military town and a conservative one: It's more than just a slide into obscurity that delivered Gallagher to the Admiral rather than, say, the Moore in Seattle. You see, Gallagher is—how best to put this?—a paranoid, delusional, right-wing religious maniac. I HAD NO IDEA.

"Hey, President Obama," he spits out the name like a mouthful of burning hair. "You ain't black. I don't care what you say—you're a latte. You're half whole-milk. It could be goat milk—you could be a terrorist!" I am too busy losing my mind to catch the next joke, which is about Ted Kennedy's brain cancer. Aaaaand we're off.

Gallagher is upset about a lot of things. Young people with their sagging pants (in faintly coded racist terms, he explains that this is why the jails are overcrowded—because "their" baggy pants make it too hard for "them" to run from the cops). Tattoos: "That ink goes through to your soul—if you read your Bible, your body is a sacred temple, YOU DIPSHIT." People naming their girl-children Sam and Toni instead of acceptable names like Evelyn and Betty: "Just give her some little lesbian tendencies!" Guantánamo Bay: "We weren't even allowed to torture all the way. We had to half-torture—that's nothin' compared to what Saddam and his two sons OOFAY and GOOFAY did." Lesbians: "There's two types—the ugly ones and the pretty ones." (Um, like all people?) Obama again: "If Obama was really black, he'd act like a black guy and get a white wife." Michael Vick: "Poor Michael Vick." Women's lib: "These women told you they wanna be equal—they DON'T." Trans people: "People like Cher's daughter—figure that out. She wants a penis, but she has a big belly. If you can't see your dick, you don't get one." The Rice Krispies elves: "All three of those guys are gay. Look at 'em!" The Mexicans: "Look around—see any Mexicans? Nope. They'll be here later for the cleanup." The French: "They ruin our language with their faggy words."

Above all, everything is gay, gay, gay to Gallagher. He leans into it with the borderline-­nonsensical, icked-out, ignorant glee of a boy—or the protest-too-much vigor of a GOP senator. Gallagher delivers your Bible verse for the day: "Without God, we are nothing but dust. What is butt dust? Is that what you get if your homosexual isn't properly lubricated?" He relates a story about spilling mouthwash onto his crotch during a show: "Lucky for me, there was no homosexuals in the area—'cause my balls was minty fresh." At other points during the show, Gallagher says, "Men and women can't live in the same house" and "There's no way men and women can have a relationship." He says he can't remember why he used to feel pleasure in looking at a woman. And, "There's only one kind of homosexual guy, and that's the pretty ones—why do homosexual men have to be so good-looking?" Gallagher. Listen. Is there something you want to share with us?

Gallagher commands the stage with the weary, sure hand of a touring comic closing out his third decade on the road. He knows what he's doing, and even I'm not a big enough dick to dispute the "comedy legend" designation on the sign outside. The people of Bremerton eat it up, and despite the discomfort of sitting in a room full of rabid, frothing conservative dickwads (especially when the "comedy" veers creepily close to white-power rhetoric: "We're descended from an Anglo-Saxon Viking tradition!"), it's a relief to have them there. Gallagher needs them, and I need to not witness the complete mental breakdown of Gallagher.

"This is why I'm not on TV," he keeps repeating. "I am powerful. They can tell. I'm an American and I'm gonna speak my mind." He tells the truth, the truth, the truth, the truth, and everyone else is afraid. The TV talk-show hosts are afraid, the network executives are afraid, the American people are afraid. It's our fault that he's not a superstar—not his—and he needs us to know it. We owe him. "Dave Letterman ain't comin' here. Robin Williams ain't comin' out here. You gotta say, you know, Gallagher came here, and he did two hours."

In a section entitled "Additional Facts," the program describes, with heartbreaking false bravado, a 2008 interview that Gallagher seems to regard as his big comeback: "The Howard Stern Show. The interview lasted at least 1 hour and the callbacks were amazing. It was a chance for everyone to see and hear Gallagher in a new light." I couldn't track down an audio file of the Stern interview, but the show's website maintains detailed recaps of each episode:

Howard welcomed watermelon smashing comedian Gallagher to the studio and was surprised that he was wearing a suit... Gallagher then railed against the late night hosts; Jay Leno is impersonal, Conan isn't funny, and Letterman used his watermelon-­dropping bit. Gallagher said, "I'm an authority on comedy. I was a comedian in another life," and listed some of his lesser-known credits, like random parody songs... Gallagher then continued to list his crazy ideas; fart ring tones, a face-paint-focused environmental presentation for Al Gore, and something about photons and electrons.

Ugh. Devastating. It sounds just like the Gallagher show I watched—less a triumphant comeback and more the perversely fascinating but ultimately insignificant ramblings of a desperate has-been.

At last, after two hours of his tedious, hacky, right-wing manifesto, Gallagher gets to the part his (willing) hostages have been waiting for. It's time to smash some shit. There are the watermelons, there is some cottage cheese ("It's got the curds that blow up, just like on the news!"), there is sauerkraut and syrup and honey. Then Gallagher gets a tin pie plate. He opens a giant can of fruit cocktail and pours it in. He opens a can of some Asian vegetable—water chestnuts, maybe—and pours that in, too. "This is the China people and queers!!!" he screams and takes his sledgehammer to the thing with a fury that is no fun at all. Wet chunks of China people and queers fly everywhere. The hateful, bitter old man laughs. I cannot believe Bill Hicks is dead and this motherfucker is still touring.

On our way out the door, my friend says to me, "Hey—do you want to go beat up some queers? I heard they're really faggy." We laugh. But it isn't really funny.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:21 am
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neveragainlikesheep



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2536
Location: TKO from Tokyo
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Damn. That's kind of shitty. I liked the watermelon smashing.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:31 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
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Are you kidding? This sounds like the most entertaining show Gallagher has ever put on.

I heard something about this on AST and The AV Club somewhere.

I'm hoping Marc Maron gets Gallagher on WTF sometime. He'd be a fascinating interview.

But yeah Gallagher is doing the crazy thing on stage right now. I think the article is incorrect to say that Gallagher is the things he portrays on stage. Like I assume he doesn't smash watermelons with mallets off stage in his free time to relax. Dude was doing his act. His act may be racist and crazy, but hey...Andrew Dice Clay never tried to be a sweet petunia on stage either.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:47 am
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Mikal kHill



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
Posts: 6851
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I dunno. I mean, I like Neil Hamburger. I can dig some anti-comedy. That doesn't sound like that's what this is.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:50 am
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neveragainlikesheep



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2536
Location: TKO from Tokyo
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Mikal kHill wrote:
I dunno. I mean, I like Neil Hamburger. I can dig some anti-comedy. That doesn't sound like that's what this is.


Yeah, it sounds rather mean to me.

Neil Hamburger is the neo-Tony Clifton. Not the same as the legend, but familiar enough...
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:58 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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It's hard to tell without actually being there. Comedy isn't really made to be read about second hand from a biased source promoting a skewed agenda.

This is that crazy interview from 2009:
http://www.avclub.com/articles/gallagher,36622/

It's long and crazy.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:07 am
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T-Wrex
p00ny tang


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Terrible? Pshhh.. Sounds awesome.

That show review made me wish I was there.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:38 am
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wesfau



Joined: 22 Mar 2005
Posts: 702
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Not to defend him too much, but are we sure this is really Gallagher?

Didn't he sell his show to his brother some time ago?
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:58 am
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Mikal kHill



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
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That's what this story needs. A twist!

Gallagher was DEAD THE WHOLE TIME!
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:01 am
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the mean
Certified O.G.


Joined: 31 Jul 2003
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wesfau wrote:
Not to defend him too much, but are we sure this is really Gallagher?

Didn't he sell his show to his brother some time ago?

http://www.gallaghersmash.com/faqs.shtml

Who is Ron Gallagher?

Ron is Gallagher's younger brother. He used to do an impersonation of Gallagher but is no longer allowed to.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:26 am
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wesfau



Joined: 22 Mar 2005
Posts: 702
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the mean wrote:
wesfau wrote:
Not to defend him too much, but are we sure this is really Gallagher?

Didn't he sell his show to his brother some time ago?

http://www.gallaghersmash.com/faqs.shtml

Who is Ron Gallagher?

Ron is Gallagher's younger brother. He used to do an impersonation of Gallagher but is no longer allowed to.



Ah....there ya go. As usual, mean comes through with the straight dope.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:36 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6870
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Futuristxen is right. Gallagher was putting on a show and it's hard to make a judgment against his personal character based on this. If his audience enjoyed the show then it tells you everything you need to know. The audience that will still pay to watch Gallagher wants that kind of material. If they didn't he wouldn't serve it to them.

The only thing we can take out of this is that Gallagher is the type of person who would rather continue touring putting on shows like this than find a way to retire - at least from stand up. Maybe he can't get a job otherwise, can't afford retirement, and this is what he's reduced to doing. Maybe he's a total jackass and this is a reflection of his current world view. We don't know.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:58 am
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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They were talking about this on Never Not Funny a few weeks back with Sarah Silverman. How there really isn't retirement for comedians. And so a lot of them end up at the end of their careers with no work, and no job history for like 20 years and with their only options to do like low wage work.

I mean, how would someone like Gallagher retire, really? He'll die on stage.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:11 am
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Raoul DeGroot



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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Are we actually disputing this?
This isn't Andy Kaufman here. It's not even The Diceman. This is Gallagher.
If you can read about that act and question whether age and resentment has turned Gallagher bakook? ..well it makes me question your capacity to understand humanity.

This shouldn't be a topic for discussion. I'm going to have to ask that Redball and Futur retract their statements and also apologize to the forum. Now.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:49 pm
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mzehe916



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Switzerland
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Wasn't he always kind of political? Not in a "motivate people to the polls" kind of way, if I remember correctly he always involved some sort of political stance or social view. My older brother was a big fan and I loved the smashing fruit. I hate watermelon seeds and when I was younger and he would smash the watermelons it always give me this feeling of chomping hard on a seed. He pretty much was a train wreck that I couldn't ignore.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:54 pm
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