Theater Jul 1, 2010 at 4:00 am

The Decline and Fall of a Comedy Legend

Keat Teoh


Ouch. I remember that old douchebag from "Make Me Laugh". Fuck you for making me remember that!
Why does this man not have his own hour on Fox?
Gallagher be tryin' to tap some Tea Party ass.
I feel almost as creeped out as if I'd been there myself. Now *that's* reviewin!
@4 - Right on.
Ewww. Glad I didn't even know about it. The Bachelorette all of a sudden doesn't seem like such a pathetic entertainment option.
I'd never seen his act on TV or in person but I remember all of his videos cluttering up the comedy section of the local video store. I always wondered who his audience was...glad I'm not part of it.
My mouth was hanging open in disbelief throughout the entirety of this article. My coworkers probably now think I'm having some sort of seizure. Thanks a lot, West.
A few weeks ago, our little podcast commissioned a drawing of Gallagher as the Human Centipede. We did it purely for the giggle that the image provoked. Now I feel almost justified making him eat his own ass into infinity.…
I've always wondered what his appeal was, as I've never liked him to begin with. This just confirms what I've always known, that he's a douche bag.
But how does Gallagher II feel about all this?
Wow. I thought he'd just become irrelevant because he refused to give up the watermelon-smashing bit. This is far, far creepier.
Well, quite obviously: Gallagher is gay.
@4 You summed it up. Also two Lindy reviews in one day? Amazing.
Before I read this review, I didn't even know Gallagher had a regular stand-up routine... I thought all he did was get up there and smash things.
I'm pretty sure comedy central wasn't around in the 80's.
I sorta liked his giant couch trampoline, that was kinda awesome. I think I saw that on Comedy Central in the 90s. (PS Lindy, Comedy Central became Comedy Central and not the Comedy channel sometime in the mid-90s).

Man, that sucks. I never really loved the guy, but neither did I abhor him as I do now. And he did have that sort of 80's era nostalgic icon thing going for him that I appreciated on some level and now need to disavow myself from. What an asshole.
I remember when Gallagher was... not a wingnut fuckjob.

At least I didn't think he was.

Then again I was... 12.
I remember seeing a tape of him on my sister's VCR back in the late '80s. I was absolutely amazed - I'd never seen anything more aggressively, relentlessly stupid. Sounds like he hasn't changed much, just gotten a little edgier now that he's playing smaller rooms.
totally agree with 4 and 19
and 13 too, obviously
Does he scream all this as he's tramping around onstage? Because in my mind, it was coming out of Gallagher's mouth, but all at maximum volume, like Sam Kinison's ghost has inhabited his body.
I heard recently that there's no such thing as an apolitical comedian anymore, and this is going some way toward convincing me.
Congrats, Lindy. This post has already made it onto Wikipedia.
Did you see that interview he gave with the AV Club?…

It's CRAZY, but pretty much right in line with what Lindy's seen. And can't unsee.

I used to love him too, when I was like, 10 -- even not just the smashing shit part, but the bit about, say, how "comb" and "tomb" and "bomb" etc. don't rhyme. "Comb. C. O. M. B. Change that C to a T. Tom-B? NO TOOOOOMB! Change it to a B? BOOOOOM? No, that's what they go, but it's a BOMB...."
Fantastic writing. I was a child of the 80s and remember Gallagher. I have no words. Wow. The size of the audience enjoying a show that is SCARY-racist(!!) is evidence that we are not post-race. A whole room full of homophobes and racists/white supremacists in one place. That is a damn scary thought.
Actually, the racism in Gallagher's stand-up routing puts his WATERMELON smashing bit into a whole new and wicked scary light.

And why the freak is he so obsessed with gays?

One badly messed-up dude, all in all.

I wonder if you saw the original Gallagher, or his brother - and this is not a joke.

Apparently, the original guy's brother has co-opted the act, and can do everything but smash watermellons. Sounds like Lindy might have seen the Evil Twin Gallagher.
Uhh, Comedy Central was born in 1989
i'm so sorry that we are not friends, because i could have warned you.

i commented on the slog post yesterday with a link to an account of a new york show of his that i "experienced" a couple years ago.

my friends and i all felt like we had PTSD afterward.

it still hurts to eat watermelon.
Was that the "real" dude or not.

I suspect it was. Made me laugh when I was a kid. And I remember this one joke:

"Texas should be it's own country so it could just invade Cuba... they'd be like "We got down here looking for some beach front property and all we found was the help".

Well, that was funny and all at the time but I guess I didn't know how deep that joke lived in his soul.

I'm sure he'll be out our redneck conservative way next. I'll be sure and pass.
Oh, GAWD------yet another right-wing celeb goes down with his shit!
good golly Miz Molly! I hope you had a half gallon of Vodka for the ferry trip back! OY!
"I cannot believe Bill Hicks is dead and this motherfucker is still touring."

That part actually stung, a bit. Bill Hicks had some rants, too, (The NKOTB as Nazi Youth rant was kinda disturbing the first time I saw it) but at least he was funny. It sucks to think that I've already seen everything he'll ever do, while this guy has spent the better part of four decades traveling around spewing shit across the country.

Well, him and Lisa Lampanelli. Two people who defile the name "comedian".
Wow, I never really thought Gallagher's watermelon-smashing act was all that funny (this is comedy?) but I had no idea how awful he truly is. Thank you, Lindy: I usually read you to get a good laugh, but this story had me feeling angry, sad, repulsed...and grateful that you wrote about this pathetic waste of a man. Hopefully others will read your review and avoid him the next time he crawls into their town.
Ooo...taking on Gallagher! Edgy!
i LIKED IT! the minty balls joke was funny has hell! HA!
As a gay man, I've gotta say... I don't see what the big deal is. He sounds like he was doing what comedians are expected do: Peddling (admittedly lame) jokes. I'm not seeing how he's doing anything demonstrably different from any other comedian.

He definitely sounds like he's got an agenda that informs his comedy (which is certainly not unique to him), so I can certainly understand if someone feels differently than me. But c'mon, it's Gallagher. Who's he gonna influence? He's probably pretty sad most of the time. Leave the poor old fart alone :P
Yeah, I saw him at The R.O.T. Rally. He definitely was an over-bittered person. He still had some good lines but he just didn't seem to be enthusiastic anymore. Just... tired. I did get some good shots of food stuffs going flying and of his hammer breaking though.
The best line of all is the part about Bill Hicks being dead. Points to Lindy.
Its funny when other "comedians" make fun of Palin, Bush, Limbaugh, etc.... It's entertainment.
It's a comedian. They are all non-funny douches, who cares what the political party is. He's just going for a reaction.
That's the point it IS funny when other comedians make fun of Palin, Bush, Limbaugh (especially Limbaugh).

When conservatives try the same thing, it invariably devolves into the venom-spewing hatefulness that Lindy witnessed.

They lack good humor, on a number of levels.
@30 - How sad I found the time to look into that!! His brother is no longer allowed to perform using any of the sledgie stuff. Wiki lists Gallgher's routine for 2010 pretty accurately as described by Lindy.
So it's funny when Chris Rock or Richard Pryor say it, but a white guy says it and he's a racist?

Ew. So this guy was the dude hosting the kid's cartoon shows when I was a kid. I never saw his show, but it creeps the hell out of me that the smiley friendly goofy guy introducing He-Man or whatever was this warped and twisted.

Though I guess the argument could be made that He-Man is also warped and twisted when viewed as an adult. Sigh.
I-I went to see a shabby blue collar cable TV comedian and I was offended!!!

Then you apparently sat there for an hour and took notes.

You are the very definition of a Seattle Douchebag.
It's sad to see my childhood hero turn into someone like this. I grew up watching his specials, I still have his leap year marathon from 1988 on a VHS tape. I saw his show in 2005 and he was simply awesome. However, reading this just days away from him being in Syracuse [and about to buy tickets for it] I elected not to go.

Some don't find him funny, but I found him absolutely hilarious, and what was so hilarious about it was the truth in his comedy. He was not always like this and if anything, he poked a little fun at God ["I wonder why God didn't make us wheels? He must've known we'd get skates for christmas" and "God made flying squirrels so they could swoop down and surprise the acorns"]

For those of you asking how the sledge-o-matic was funny, I don't think it was ever MEANT to be funny. It was something different, something other comedians didn't do. What other comedian smashed a watermelon or any foods? That sketch is what set him apart from all others. His jokes were funny, the sledge-o-matic just added fun interaction between him and the audience, and the audiences LOVED it. Hell, it was awesome for me to get up on stage and smash something with his sledge-o-matic, and he was so awesome about it too. We met him after the show, and I had an old Gallagher t-shirt of my dad's, and he remarked that he hadn't seen it in many years, even a decade, and signed it for me.

I have no idea what happened in the past five years, but all I know is that I don't want my memories of his Showtime specials, and the memory of my FINALLY meeting my childhood hero to be tarnished and ruined in one night. So I'm not going to go see him.

I can understand some of his reasoning with the young comedians, and with the couple in NY that he had removed, as comedy now is a MUCH different thing than it was back then. He has performed for decades and knows the art form of prop comedy. However, something about him as changed, and to be honest, he's right. The audiences have changed. People now are completely different from what they were back in his prime. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be accepting it too well nowadays.

But back in 2005, he was absolutely amazing, not only to witness on stage, but to meet afterwards. He was so friendly and accomodating. Now....I'm just speechless and saddened by it.

I can only hope that he ditches this new outlook and goes back to the Gallagher that I remember watching throughout the years. =(
Sweet Holy Jesus! I just checked Gallagher's website, and he is playing at the "Gathering of the Juggalos" this summer. Is that his fan base now?
Is he a right-wing nutjob, or does he just pick on whatever political party is in power? Yes, he was political back in the 80's, but then he was giving it to the Reagan administration. Perhaps he's gotten conservative with age; more likely he just says what people want to hear.
poor delusional libtard, so butthurt because someone wasn't PC? I don't understand how your insane little world works, but I know how the real world works. Real people aren't politically correct, and yes, they give and take jokes about others, based on their race or what have you with good humor. Only a braindead sheeple libtard would be so insulted by someone else saying these things...I bet you'd just love to silence him. Hmm? Maybe he shouldn't have freedom of speech...well this was a free country, and because people who think like you have freedom of speech, the rest of it have to watch it burn.
Oops, that posted before I was ready.

What's weird about this is that, when I was 12, I understood Gallagher as a harmless pot-smoking old hippie. Not just because of his look, but because of his show "Stuck in the 60s," which pretty much endorsed all the peace-and-love-and-dope mantras of the era.

Hell, the theme song even went "My hair is still long/the New Right/is still wrong."

Just look at the cover:…

Do old comedians just go crazy sometimes? It happened to Dennis Miller.
I saw him like 15 years ago...and while I was delighted with the fact that it took me three washes to get all of the smashed food out of my hair, I do recall being pretty disappointed that his comedy was more political than funny. I don't remember politics creeping into his stand-up routines when I was a kid. I agree with Djeph...I think maybe old comedians do sometimes slide into that abyss of crazy.
As a kid I remember watching him on TV as he trotted around the stage in these oversized high heeled shoes. It kinds makes sense now after reading this article. He's nuttier than a crap fight in a monkey house.
I'm with all those who never thought he was funny to begin with. Does sound like he is a self-hating homosexual, though...
There are some comments from some silly young people here. Don't you just love teenage conservatives? They're like baby birds.
How can a guy who looks like an off-duty mime identify as a conservative? He used to wear a Frenchie-ass beret ferchrissakes...

If you keep slummin at these leftist interweb places, you'll never have enough time to butt rape the city slickers who come canoeing through yer backwater...
Man. As far as the category "Things that retrospectively ruin my memories of the '80s" goes, this isn't quite up there with Steve Largent.
But it's close. Real close.
'I cannot believe Bill Hicks is dead and this motherfucker is still touring.'

Are you referring to the same Bill Hicks that compared people who like New Kids on The Block to the Nazis? The Bill Hicks of 'Goatboy' fame? Sounds to me like Hicks and Gallagher were pretty much on the same level, it just that one was left wing, the other right wing.
I could barely understand your article it was written so poorly.
Hey, Lindy, you got called out by Michael McKean (in a good way).… You can retire now.
Oh Lindy, I love your articles. It's too bad that you had to suffer the fucking hack that is Gallagher, in order to write about it. Also, thank you for acknowledging bill hicks.. i believe at one point bill hicks actually talked about what a no-talent ass clown gallagher was - along w/carrot top- and it is very, very sad that his words are hauntingly true in this case: "good men die every day, while talentless hacks thrive and proliferate"
Gallagher was on Opie and Anthony's Sirius-XM show a few months back. They called him a racist (somewhat jokingly), he got pretty angry and left angry. It was great radio that's for sure, it helps that he's both very bitter and about as nutty as a fruitcake. Of course he panders to the same Red-State audience as the Cable Guy and the "you're a redneck if..." bunch.

On the other hand I'd pay to see the discomfort of a couple of arrogant Seattle Douchebags sitting among a bunch of military guys having to listen to him.
In a comment above, "Rubble" takes issues with a positive mention of Bill Hicks, suggesting that Hicks and Gallagher were the yin and yang of the same comedy ethos. I have no problem with Rubble's comparison (it's his opinion; no big whoop), but it behooves me to correct a slight misrepresentation in his post: Hicks was not in essence comparing fans of NKOTB to Nazis. He was comparing America's obsession with conformity, surface beauty, safety and banality at the expense of honesty - things "played from the heart". Messy and ugly to be sure, but (to Hicks' mind) true and honest and real. In other words, Hicks was referring to America - not necessarily boy band fans - a subtle but important distinction. Decide for yourselves:…
The above Hicks link seems to have been cut off. It should end like this: /watch?v=7YiPKy1NO3A
"If pro is the opposite of con, and progress means to move forward, what does congress mean?" - Gallagher
There's no proof here that he's actually right wing. Maybe he just wants to shock people
He's obviously lost his pre-frontal lobe.

Early in his career, ( I'm going back to the mid-eighties at least) he had a great act, before all the watermelon smashing bullshit. I remember a great line that went: "Don't smoke pot... when you're already stoned. Because you don't get more stoned. You just get less pot."
One of my favorites, but no doubt a line he'd like to disavow now in his right-wing hate-haze.
Hooray for Lindy, brilliant witty woman! picked up your Gallagher rant and ran with it for "This Week in Crazy":…
I'm with you, Lindy. Thank you for such an accurate article that touched on everything I felt. I was at the show because it was so close to my place of residence. It was a mistake. A big fucking mistake.

I would have walked out if I didn't bring company with me. It would have been great to heckle him on my way out. I really missed my shot. How unfortunate.

How many fucking times can you repeat "right wing?" Too bad his comedy isn't as sad as yours, maybe then you'd have enjoyed the show.
It's called comedy people. Go listen to some George Carlin and see if it's not more offensive than this. You praise and herald George Carlin for you call it "telling it like it is", but when Gallagher does it from his own perspective, he's not a comedian; he's a right wing religious nut case. Pretty hypocritical.
Meh, but George Carlin was funny. This guy just sounds like my aging relatives.
""If pro is the opposite of con, and progress means to move forward, what does congress mean?"

Gallagher may have used it too, but I'm pretty sure it was Nipsy Russell who first said it. I can't imagine Gallagher being that witty.
Bless you for mentioning Bill Hicks. :)
#72 - That quote of his was actually during a show which featured the "watermelon smashing bullshit" and the actual quote went "Don't smoke dope when you're stoned. You don't get any higher, just lower on dope."

He has ALWAYS smashed Watermelons in any televised show. His very first special which was in....79 maybe? He smashed one. All his specials following, he smashed one. There may have been a small portion of shows that weren't televised or recorded or made into specials that didn't feature watermelon smashing, but I can assure you, in the mid 80s (at the time of The Maddest & Melon Crazy), he WAS smashing them, and he still had great acts.

That seems to have changed, he seems to have gone senile and it's disappointing, because once upon a time, he was a fantastic entertainer, and I'm sure he could be if he left the hate out of his acts as he did in the 80s. There was dislike, yes, but now it's gone straight to flat out HATE.

And people can defend it all they want, but I can tell you, there's a definite difference between the Gallagher now, and the Gallagher then. At the same time, there is a difference between the audience now and the audience then. The audience int he 80s didn't give a shit if their clothes got ruined, and they laughed with all the jokes. Now, there seems to be too much taking offense at jokes. However, as I said, there is a difference between a joke and being downright hateful and disrespectful towards those who hand you a paycheck.
Who would have thought someone would Gallagher's haircut would choose to stress that the body is God's temple?

@4: +1
"Only America could produce a comic named Gallagher who ends his show by destroying good food with a sledgehammer. Gee, I wonder why we're hated the world over?" - Bill Hicks
So we have an article by our alternative to the MSM here in Seattle that is talking about the ravings of a has been comic whose career peaked around 1986?

WOW!! That's powerful reporting for ya!!
@84 "WOW!! That's powerful reporting for ya!!"

Hehindeedy. An entertainment reporter reporting on ENTERTAINMENT! THE NERVE OF THAT LINDY.

I'm up for the collapse of the "MSM" as much as anybody, but you should probably take Alex Jones' diamond gusset jeans out of your mouth.
What a complete, total and utter piece of shit. He is a completely worthless human being, and anyone who pays money to watch this asshole is just as bad.
I stopped reading the milquetoast, easy-to-offend Stranger about a decade ago. I see not much has changed.

What is it that you right wing loons don't understand about freedom of speech? No one is saying that Gallagher can't say what he says. He has every right to spew racist and homophobic nonsense on stage. Just as Lindsay has every right to report on what a washed-up ignorant fool he is.

Every time some Republican asshat says something racist and gets called out they scream that their free speech is being stifled. You goose steppers are clearly confused as to what free speech actually is. But then you're confused about pretty much everything else, so I'm not surprised.
I always thought that he was a fag when I would see him on tv as a kid. And I'm a fag so I should know!

My favorite aspect of his comedy was his observation on language. For example, "why do we park on a DRIVEway, and drive on a PARKway??"

Horrifying. Just horrifying.
@ Nom DeGuerre^^ That's a Nipsey Russell quote....stolen by Gallagher...just like the parkway/driveway quote....way older than the 80's comedy special where that jackass used it.
Outside of smashing shit, that puke's stand-up was mostly bought, borrowed or stolen.
I sat in my car and listened to his Howard interview. (That funny guy from my childhood). He was out there but didn't come across as the nut-job Lindy says. I'm not surprised though. I did a "Zen" dive in grammas pool on the 4th because I laughed alot at him in the 80s.
Gallagher was never a respected nor relevant comedian. Children and adolescent minded pot heads liked him. He really never had any influence and still doesn't. Anyone who agrees with his points of view are clearly all ready lost and have no clear insight into reality. Gallagher soon will die and no one will give a fuck. Let's hope that day is tomorrow.
Actually Gallagher's early stuff was on Showtime or HBO - way before Comedy Central was born; before there was enough cable bandwidth to support the extra channels.

His was the first oft-repeated comedy special, along with a great comedy show starring John Byner called "Bizarre", where you could see BOOBIES and HEAR THE 'F' WORD coming out of YOUR TELEVISION!!!

Lindy is too young to remember.

Oh - and good review. Gallagher has become a real douchebag. You'd think that surviving cancer would build character - not prompt you to tear down others.
This review totally sleeved me, but the millipede post and the "nuttier than a crap fight..." comment made my night. Great writing, great readers!
Let's see, Goerge Lopez can rant against George W. Bush and it's all in the name of comedy. But when someone goes after a liberal like Obama, suddenly it's hate. Lindy West is a hypocritical idiot.
I suppose you find King Shamir Shabazz hilarious, though...
Gadzooks, you libs sure get your panties in a wad when the shoe is on the other foot. Okay to paint George Bush as the scum of the earth and all Republicans are evil, but when someone fires the same back, you fall into your normal rant. I'd laugh my ass off but it is already gone at watching your bumbing leaders in the White House and Congress walk around wothout any clothes! November's payback is going to be a bitch!
I see the teabaggers have arrived to deflect criticism away from their hero and saviour Gallagher and try to put it somewhere else. I guess we can all live safer now....NOT.

Actually "liberal" John Stewart and any number of others "go after" Obama all the time. The issue wasn't the target of Gallagher's "comedy" - it was his message. I don't recall any racist messages made about Bush being white (i.e. "why doesn't he act like a real white man and get himself a black wife"), nor do I recall Lopez assailing heterosexuals every other line.

Want to see a "hypocritical idiot"? Look in a mirror. Clearl you didn't even read Lindy's article.

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