Gallagher, a comedian who destroys watermelon, dies at the age of 76


Comedian Gallagher, best known for his watermelon-smashing comedy routine and many popular specials in the 1980s, died Friday morning, according to his manager Craig Marquardo. He was 76 years old.

According to a statement provided to CNN by Marquardo, the comedian died “after a short health battle” and “passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California.”

Gallagher, born Leo Gallagher, became a household name in the early 1980s with a comedy special called “An Uncensored Evening,” the first comedy special to air on cable television, according to a shared obituary by Marquard

Gallagher’s most famous part involved a handmade hammer he called the “Sledge-O-Matic,” which he used to smash food on stage, spraying the audience.

Comic Gallagher circa 1970s.

“That was another thing he liked to claim credit for, which was physically engaging the audience in that way,” the obituary said.

Gallagher, a The Fort Bragg, North Carolina native earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida before moving to Los Angeles and developing his comedy act at legendary venue The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip , according to his bio on Selak’s website. Entertainment, a booking agency.

People started to take notice in 1975 when he performed his brand of stand-up comedy on Johnny Carson’s famous “The Tonight Show.”

Television was good to him and in 1978 he appeared on “The Mike Douglas Show” and the following year he appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show”.

But it was his 1980s Showtime comedy specials that cemented him firmly in pop culture, and he went on to do more than a dozen for the network over 27 years.

He was also an early staple of MTV and Comedy Central.

“While his counterparts were doing sitcoms, hosting talk shows and starring in movies, Gallagher stayed on tour across America for decades,” the obituary said. “I was pretty sure I had a record for most stand-up dates, just for wear.”

Gallagher toured constantly until the Covid-19 pandemic hit and used the break to spend time with his son Barnaby and daughter Aimee, the latter of whom had appeared with him in his specials when she was small

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