Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Gallagher once again


Okay, so I'm sorry to bring up Gallagher again. Gallagher is the '80s prop comedy sensation known for smashing watermelons with a large mallet. He's turned racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and has started lecturing comedians on the importance of not drinking water on stage.

Gallagher was interviewed on Marc Maron's podcast. From the interview:
Gallagher: "Most comedians are terrible. They should listen to me..."

Maron: "Okay. I will hear you out."

"...and I help them when I can."

"What is your problem with most comedians?"

"Well, like I just said, their show has no dynamics [sic] and it's not a show based on their knowledge of the audience; it's a show about them. And comedy is not therapy. Just because it's a--"

"Wait a minute. But if you're talking about a show about them, if some--if you're saying that a person that talks about themselves on stage is not a comedian then you're dismissing a great many great comics."

"Yeah."

"Yeah. So you--"

"They did it wrong."

"No, they didn't do it wrong."

"Okay, you walk in a doctor's office and he talks about his problem instead of---"

"That's an old joke. If a comedian talks about himself and that is funny--if a comedian is a storyteller---by your rubric, you're dismissing---"

"He can't work a state fair."

"Who the fuck wants to work a state fair necessarily?"

"Everybody."

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled on this from seven years ago about Gallagher alienating the audience while performing at a county fair:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/hillsboroargus/2010/08/fruit-smashing_gallaghers_cont.html

From the article:
About 2,400 people attended the free show, which headlined opening night for the 2010 fair. Many of those 2,400 left before the performance was 30 minutes old.
Gallagher, best known for wielding a sledgehammer to smash food onstage, started his show with a 45-minute set that included dozens of profanities and off-color jokes, particularly disparaging to homosexuals.
Many of the jokes are not fit for publication in this newspaper. Here are two we can share with you:
“Why didn’t Ted Kennedy mind dying of brain cancer? Because he wanted to have a hole in his head like his brothers.”
“You’ll notice there are no Mexicans here. They’ll be here to clean up later.”
 ...
Golladay was also bothered by the comedian as he was throwing mini candy bars from the stage. As Gallagher spotted a woman in a wheelchair, he said, “Let’s give it to the lady in the wheelchair. Maybe it will cure you and you’ll jump up.”
...
Inside the amphitheater, many members of the crowd were younger children, who cheerfully chanted his name before the show started and wore ponchos in anticipation of the watermelon smashing. Gallagher launched his first profanity two minutes into his performance.
...
She said when she hired Gallagher she was thinking about what kind of crowd she wanted to cater to.
What crowd was that?
“Fans of Gallagher. We hired Gallagher knowing he had a good fan base, and fans would come out to support him,” she said.
But don’t many people just know Gallagher as the watermelon guy?
“I couldn’t tell you what people may or may not know about him,” Perkins-Hagele said.

First time I saw Gallagher was when he was on the game show Make Me Laugh. Some years later, in high school, I had this friend whose family had Showtime and HBO and little else. They lived in a small rental house. The family--the mother, my friend and his sister--slept every night in beanbags in front of the TV. The lights were all burnt out and the TV was their only source of light. I sat there watching Gallagher's comedy special. He was rolling around on roller skates the whole time. I remember this one bit he did but I don't want to talk about it.

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