July 24, 1946
One of the fathers of "prop comedy," Gallagher is probably best known for his signature "Sledge-o-Matic" bit, in which he demolishes watermelons (and other objects) with a sledgehammer at the end of each set. Though he reached the height of his popularity in the 1980s, Gallagher has been performing stand-up comedy for over 40 years. In recent years, he has turned more right-wing and political, often expressing controversial opinions on matters of race and homosexuality. Don't worry, though: he still smashes things, too.
Quick Gallagher Facts:
- Gallagher, born Leo Anthony Gallgher Jr., was born in North Carolina and raised in Florida.
- He began performing stand-up comedy in 1969 while working as road manager for musician/comedian Jim Stafford.
- He has taped 15 live stand-up specials, 14 of which aired on Showtime throughout the '80s and '90s. From 1980 to 1987, he was releasing specials at the rate of one (or more) per year.
- In 2000, he filed a lawsuit against his brother to stop him from performing comedy clubs under the name "Gallagher Two" and even doing the signature "Sledge-o-Matic" bit.
- In 2011, Gallagher collapsed onstage in Minnesota after a mild heart attack. In March 2012, he suffered a second heart attack prior to a club performance and had to be placed in a medical coma for several days.
- After suffering a third heart attack in March 2012, Gallagher announced that he would retire from touring and intended to focus on writing TV scripts.
Gallagher Comedy Specials:
- An Uncensored Evening (1980)
- Mad as Hell/Two Real (1981)
- Totally New (1982)
- Stuck in the Sixties (1983)
- The Maddest (1983)
- Melon Crazy (1984)
- Over Your Head (1984)
- The Bookkeeper (1985)
- The Messiest (1986)
- Overboard (1987)
- We Need a Hero (1982)
- Smashing Cheeseheads (1997)
- Messin' Up Texas (1998)
- Sledge-o-Matic.com (2000)
- Tropic of Gallagher (2007)
Gallgher's brother, Ron Gallagher, began performing comedy in the 1990s, recycling several of his brother's signature bits -- most notably, the "Sledge-o-Matic" routine. He billed himself as "Gallagher Two" or "Gallagher Two," and many audiences would attend shows not realizing they were not seeing the original, more famous Gallagher brother. Gallagher finally sued his brother in 2000 and won the suit, preventing Ron Gallagher from performing under the name "Gallagher Too," using any signature bits and even bearing likeness to Leo Gallagher.
Additional Gallagher Facts:
- He was ranked number 100 on Comedy Central's poll of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.
- He ran for governor of California during the 2003 recall election, receiving over 5,000 votes.
- In later years, Gallagher's act became more political and right-wing, and his act began incorporating jokes and speech interpreted by many as racist and homophobic.
- In early 2011, Gallagher was a guest on Marc Maron's popular WTF podcast, but walked out of the taping when Maron brought up the accusations of racism and homophobia in the comedian's act.
- He has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida.