Gallagher died at 76 on Friday, November 11. The comedian, whose full identify was Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., handed away as a result of organ failure, in response to a press release from his supervisor Craig Marquardo to CNN. The comic’s rep confirmed his demise in a press release to HollywoodLife. “He handed away right this moment in Palm Springs, California, in hospice care,” they mentioned.
Recognized for his bombastic stage present, which included him smashing watermelons, Gallagher was beloved by audiences for many years. The comic had quite a few Showtime comedy specials and carried out all around the nation. After many years within the highlight, he’s been extensively referenced in various parodies and tributes through the years. He’s survived by his daughter Aimee and son Barnaby. Discover out extra concerning the comedian right here.
1. Gallagher was a touring comedian for over 40 years.
Gallagher’s comedy profession started within the late Nineteen Sixties, the place he carried out on the Comedy Retailer and Ice Home. He made his debut on The Tonight Present With Johnny Carson in 1975, which is taken into account a ceremony of passage for a lot of comedians. He carried out many occasions on the present through the years. As a comic book, Gallagher was thought-about an innovator of prop comedy, and earned the nickname “The Wizard of Odd,” per The New York Instances.
Whereas he used a wide selection of props, his signature joke was most well-known because the “Sledge-O-Matic,” which concerned him taking a sledgehammer to all kinds of fruits, however essentially the most remembered have been the watermelons. He mentioned it was the primary routine that he wrote in a 2011 interview with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast. He launched his first particular An Uncensored Night in 1980, and his most up-to-date efficiency was at New York’s Gotham Comedy Membership in 2014 for Gotham Comedy Stay.
2. He had a level in chemistry.
Whereas his prop comedy act could seem quite simple, Gallagher’s early profession earlier than performing might shock some. He graduated with a level in chemical engineering from the College of South Florida, with a minor in English. After he graduated, he labored briefly as a chemist and likewise as a supervisor for musician Jim Stafford. He admitted that he wasn’t certain what he would’ve utilized his diploma in direction of, however steered maybe most cancers analysis within the aforementioned WTF interview. He additionally mentioned he continued to satisfy with physicists as he toured in his profession.
3. In later years, his act was criticized for offensive stereotypes.
Whereas many beloved Gallagher’s foolish type of prop comedy, some points of his efficiency courted controversy later in his profession. He was reported to have made racist and homophobic jokes throughout his act in a 2010 evaluation by The Stranger. Marc Maron confronted Gallagher about drawing on racist stereotypes through the 2011 WTF interview, which led to the comic strolling out on the podcaster. “Why are you taking the opposite facet of all the pieces I say?” Gallagher requested shortly earlier than strolling out.
Except for his controversial jokes, Gallagher was sued by individuals who mentioned they have been injured due to his act. A girl in 1990 claimed she was hit by a prop and unsuccessfully tried to sue him, per The Los Angeles Instances. He additionally claimed that he was sued by viewers members who have been injured by a few of his prop comedy in a 2009 interview with The AV Membership. “My insurance coverage was really canceled at one level as a result of somebody sued me saying that they’d been harm significantly by a sweet bar within the balcony. One way or the other a sweet bar I hit with a tennis racket so the folks on the balcony might have sweet? Stated that she was injured in her eye, and the insurance coverage firm determined to not battle her case and pay it off and canceled me!” he mentioned. Gallagher would additionally sometimes heckle comedians who have been employed to open for him.
4. He sued his brother over the ‘Sledge-O-Matic.’
In the course of the 90s, Gallagher’s youthful brother Ron Gallagher started to tour and carry out his brother’s routine, initially with the unique’s blessing. Ron carried out below the identify “Gallager Too” or “Two.” He carried out lots of the identical prop comedy jokes that his brother did in his act, per The Baltimore Solar. Gallagher later sued Ron for utilizing the “Sledge-o-Matic” routine towards his needs and likewise that his performances have been marketed as being deceptive, per Selection.
5. He ran for governor of California.
Except for his comedy profession and scientific pursuits, Gallagher additionally had political aspirations. He ran as an unbiased candidate for governor of California in 2003, however he solely garnered about 5,000 votes, in response to election data.