Watermelon-Smashing, Comedian Gallagher, Passed Away At 76

Watermelon-Smashing, Comedian Gallagher, Passed Away At 76: According to his manager Craig Marquardo, comedian Gallagher, well known for his watermelon-smashing comic routine and numerous successful specials in the 1980s, passed away on Friday morning. He was 76. The comedian “went away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California,” according to a statement given to CNN by Marquardo, “after a short health fight.”

According to an obituary given by Marquardo, Gallagher, the real name Leo Gallagher, rose to fame in the early 1980s with a comedy spectacular titled “An Uncensored Evening,” the first comedic stand-up special to ever show on cable television.

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The “Sledge-O-Matic,” a hand-made sledgehammer that Gallagher used to crush food on stage and spray the audience with it, was the centrepiece of his most well-known routine. The obituary stated that physically involving the audience in that way was another accomplishment he loved to take credit for.

According to his biography on the website of booking agency Selak Entertainment, Gallagher, a native of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in chemical engineering before relocating to Los Angeles and honing his comedy act at the storied venue The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.

When he showcased his brand of prop comedy on Johnny Carson’s renowned “The Tonight Show” in 1975, people started to pay attention. He had success on television, appearing in 1978 on “The Mike Douglas Show” and in 1979 on “The Merv Griffin Show.”

He would go on to produce more than a dozen comedy specials for the network over 27 years, but it was his Showtime specials from the 1980s that solidified his place in popular culture. Additionally, he was a Comedy Central and MTV mainstay in their early years.

The obituary stated that Gallagher “stayed on the road touring America for decades as his competitors went on to do sitcoms, host talk shows, and appear in movies.” By attrition alone, he was very certain that he had set a record for the most stand-up dates.

Until the Covid-19 outbreak struck, Gallagher continued his tour and used the downtime to spend time with his daughter Aimee, who had previously co-starred with him on his specials, and son Barnaby.

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