If you’ve paid attention to comedy for the last forty years, you’ve no doubt heard of Gallagher.
He was a prop comedian who featured a routine where he would smash watermelons with a gigantic sledgehammer.
Sadly, he passed away this weekend at age 76.
Variety has details:
Gallagher, Comedian Known for Smashing Watermelons, Dies at 76
Gallagher, the inventive prop comedian known for smashing watermelons as part of his act, died Friday of organ failure, his former manager Craig Marquardo confirmed to Variety. He was 76.
Gallagher had been in hospice care in California after suffering multiple heart attacks in recent years.
Born Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., the mononymous comedian became a household name in 1980 with “An Uncensored Evening,” the first standup comedy special to ever air on Showtime. Gallagher would go on to create 12 more hourlong specials for the network, as well as several popular programs for HBO.
Gallagher’s signature bit involved a handmade sledgehammer he called the “Sledge-O-Matic,” which he would use to smash food onstage and spray it onto the audience. His hammer’s trademark victim was the watermelon. Gallagher also became famous for his witty wordplay and sharp observational comedy.
While his contemporaries went on to host talk shows or star in sitcoms or movies, Gallagher remained on the road in America for nearly four decades, touring steadily up until the COVID-19 pandemic and playing over 3,500 live shows throughout his career. In his later years, Gallagher led a long-running Geico commercial and appeared in his first movie, “The Book of Daniel.” In 2019, he embarked on a farewell tour dubbed the “Last Smash.”
He will be missed.
Although watermelons everywhere are breathing a sign of relief, it was a better world with Leo Gallagher in it. Sweet, smart, funny and talented, he will be truly missed. RIP Gallagher
— RUTH BUZZI (@Ruth_A_Buzzi) November 11, 2022
Gallagher, the comedian who became a household name in 1980 with “An Uncensored Evening,” has died at the age of 76.
Smash a watermelon in his honour today. pic.twitter.com/8NTu7YLE9S
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) November 11, 2022
Gallagher took comedy to another level. pic.twitter.com/AwaurOAr8s
— comedycentral (@ComedyCentral) November 11, 2022
Rest in peace, sir.