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L E’s Stories – “Sledge-O-Matic” Comedy From The Mind Of Gallagher – A Legendary Comedic Genius

Today’s story is about a really funny comedian who has been making people laugh since 1969….who Bone Daddy saw live in Austin on two different occasions throughout the decade of the 1980’s….as BD has often claimed that Gallagher was a comedic genius…..who created “side splitting” laughter whenever he performed on stage or simply opened his mouth…..especially when he had a “prop” nearby.  Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. known mononymously as Gallagher, is an American comedian known for smashing watermelons as part of his prop comedy act.                                                                                         

Comedy – 1981 – Gallagher Live – The Sledge – O – Matic & A Watermelon Pig

                                                                                                                                                                                    After college, Gallagher began working as comic/musician Jim Stafford’s road manager. Stafford and Gallagher traveled to California in 1969, during which time Gallagher decided to perform himself. He began honing his own comedy act while frequenting both The Comedy Store and The Ice House. He was repeatedly denied appearance on The Tonight Show in the 1970’s and 1980’s….as Johnny Carson disliked prop comedy…..however, he was liked by some of Carson’s staff….so, Gallagher eventually performed several times on the show when guest hosts were filling in for Carson. Gallagher first appeared on The Tonight Show in December of 1975….when he demonstrated his prop, “The Tonight Show Home Game”, and Carson noted it was his first appearance. Gallagher again appeared on The Tonight Show in May of 1979, a show hosted by Carson.                                                                                                                                

Comedy – 1983 – Showtime Special – Gallagher Live In Concert – Mad As Hell

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOG ASIDE:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Since Bone Daddy had not only video taped many of the 13 original live performances of the comedian known as Gallagher’s Showtime performances back in the 1980’s…..but he also showed them on the Big Screen (10 ft diagonal) many times throughout his 17 years at Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place at 302 E. 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas….and people loved sitting in the bleacher section and watch Gallagher smash all kinds of food matter with his “Sledge – O – Matic”…..and they would literally be rolling on the floor with laughter……cuz Gallagher was simply hilarious.

 

Comedy – 1985 – Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon – Featuring The Comedic Genius Of Gallagher

Gallagher was one of the most popular and recognizable American comedians during the 1980’s. He did fourteen comedy specials for Showtime which have been re-broadcast numerous times…..and most notably on Comedy Central….as each of these Showtime specials were originally a part of our vintage ImaSportsphile video museum….which were part of the 100 videos cassettes that got lost during the storing of the Sony Betamax cassettes over the next 24 years before Bone Daddy and I started this project….so, we figured that we should dedicate at least one really good post that showed off the talents of this wonderfully funny man.                                                                                                                                      

Comedy – 1983 – Gallagher Live In Concert – On Going To School To Learn The English Language

                                                                                                                                                                        Gallagher’s signature sketch is a pitch for the “Sledge-O-Matic,” a large wooden mallet that he uses to smash a variety of food items and other objects, culminating with a watermelon. It also features a variety of props, including a large trampoline designed to look like a couch.  While the Sledge-O-Matic act is an example of physical prop comedy, the act itself (and even its name) is a parody of ads for the Ronco Veg-O-Matic, a kitchen appliance that was heavily advertised on American television from the mid-1960’s through the 1970’s. Gallagher also uses wordplay in his act, pointing out the eccentricities of the English language…..which has similar qualities to a George Carlin stand-up routine.                                                         

Comedy – 2012 – Live At The Gas Monkey In Dallas Texas – With Gallagher & VideoBob Smashing Watermelons With The Sledge-O-Matic

                                                                                                                                                                                    In July 1999 he did a show in Cerritos, California in which he used stereotypes that were considered offensive towards Mexicans. In January 2011, Gallagher walked out of comedian Marc Maron’s WTF  podcast when Maron continued to ask Gallagher about the jokes after Gallagher had responded that, out of a two-to-three-hour show, they were only five jokes that he had heard in the street. In a subsequent interview which touched on the incident, Gallagher accused Maron of “taking the other side of everything”.

 

Comedy – 1986 – Gallagher Live In Concert – With The Trampoline Couch & His Sledge-O-Matic  Which Works On Anything Routine

In July 2012, Gallagher was featured in a television commercial for GEICO Insurance…..while repeating his Sledge-O-Matic bit.  Though it varies from performance to performance, Gallagher will usually end each of his shows with his signature sledge-o-matic routine.  It traditionally begins with the following preamble,  “Ladies and gentlemen! I did not come here tonight just to make you laugh. I came here to sell you something and I want you to pay particular attention!  The amazing Master Tool Corporation, a subsidiary of Fly-By-Night Industries, has entrusted who? Me! To show you! The handiest and the dandiest kitchen tool you’ve ever seen. And don’t you wanna know how it works!?  Well first you get out an ordinary apple. You place the apple between the patented pans. Then you reach for the tool that is not a slicer, is not a dicer, is not chopper in a hopper! What in the hell could it possibly be?! The Sledge-O-Matic!”  Gallagher would then produce a large, usually wooden, mallet, roughly the size of a sledgehammer, and smash it down onto the apple(s) hurling chunks of produce into the audience. People in the first several rows are usually prepared with tarps and raincoats and many comedy clubs also have taken great measures to cover up and protect their club with tarps and plastic sheeting.                                    

Comedy – 2014 – Gotham Comedy Live – With Guest Host Gallagher                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In 2004, Comedy Central rated Gallagher the 100th best stand-up comedian of all time. Gallagher was displeased with being ranked so low, and he told The Oregonian, “I looked at the other people and I was trying to find anyone I ever heard of. How could I be behind people I never heard of? … I made 13 one-hour shows for Showtime, which are available on videotape. I invented the one-man show on cable.”           

Comedy – 1984 – Gallagher Live On Stage – The History Of How The USA Was Settled By The Pilgrims                                                                                                                                                                                                Gallagher took comedy to a whole new level by smashing anything and everything with a mallet, especially watermelons! He was the number one comedian in ticket sales and ratings for 15 years and has one of the most loyal fan bases….as the truth be known….making the top 100 best stan-up comedians list of all time is really neither here nor there….cuz the simple fact remains…..as evidenced by the videos of Gallagher herewith….this man was a very funny person that has made audiences laugh profusely wherever and whenever he has  performed over his 51 year career….and who definitely deserves his place here at ImaSportsphile….as we hope you enjoy them as much as Bone Daddy and me.                                      

Comedy – 1981 – Gallagher Live In Concert – On How All Hand Guns Should Be Made + How To Protect Your Home From Robbery

                                          

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