Born: July 24, 1947
Death: November 11, 2022
AKA: Leo Gallagher
BlueMeter: Tame

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2014 I Am Who I Pretend To Be
2014 Looking for Intelligent Life
1980 Gallagher Live

Long out of print. Re-released in 2014

Specials (and other video)

2007 Gallagher: Tropic of Gallagher
2000 Gallagher:

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1998 Gallagher: Messin' Up Texas

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1997 Gallagher: Smashing Cheeseheads

Part of "The Sledge-O-Matic Collection"

1993 Gallagher: We Need A Hero

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1987 Gallagher: Overboard

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1986 Gallagher: The Messiest
1985 Gallagher: The Bookkeeper

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1984 Gallagher: Melon Crazy

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1984 Gallagher: Over Your Head

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1983 Gallagher: Stuck in the 60s

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1983 Gallagher: The Maddest

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1982 Gallagher: That's Stupid
1982 Gallagher: Totally New

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1981 Gallagher: Two Real

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1981 Gallagher: Mad As Hell

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1980 Gallagher: An Uncensored Evening

Part of “The Sledge-O-Matic Collection”

1977 The 2nd Annual Young Comedians Special

Books (by and about)

No books by or about this comedian.


After graduating from the University of South Florida with an engineering degree in 1969, Gallagher began working as comic/musician Jim Stafford's road manager. Stafford and Gallagher went out to California in 1979 and Gallagher decided to take the stage himself. He began honing his own comedy act while hanging out at both The Comedy Store and the Ice House.

Gallagher was one of the most popular and recognizable American comedians during the 80s. He produced at least one special a year from 1981 to 1987, all of which were carried by Showtime cable network, and all of which were re-broadcast numerous times throughout the year. To date he has done sixteen specials. Has become one of the most successful stand up comedians of all time because of his constant touring and loyal following.

His signature schtick is the "Sledge-O-Matic," a large wooden mallet that Gallagher uses to smash a variety of objects, including computer keyboards, containers of cottage cheese, cartons of chocolate milk, tubes of toothpaste, poundcakes, Big Macs, and, most famously, watermelons. Given the messy nature of this portion of his act, it is usually saved for the finale of his shows. Show attendees in the first two or three rows are usually provided with plastic sheeting for protection, and many fans bring their own additional protection (raincoats, umbrellas, and so on). Gallagher performs other prop-food gags including a demonstration of constipation using a jar of JIF Peanut Butter and an explanation of the difference between men and women using a sausage wrapped in a banana peel.

In addition to the Sledge-O-Matic, Gallagher's act features a variety of props, including a large trampoline designed to look like a couch, an adult sized Big Wheel, and a cap with a fringe of hair attached to the back. However, Gallagher does not rely exclusively on props for his comedy. Large portions of his shows feature Gallagher simply speaking to the audience on a variety of topics, displaying a wry observational wit and sharply pointed social commentary.

In particular, while the Sledge-O-Matic act works as an example of physical prop comedy, Gallagher frequently uses this portion of his act as a subtle (or overt) criticism of America's consumer culture. The act itself is a parody of the hype-filled, low-budget ads for kitchen gadgets such as Ginsu knives that permeated the American television airwaves during non-primetime hours in the late 70s.

Gallagher writes all of his own material, runs his own operation, and does more than 100 concerts a year, selling out the majority of them. All of Gallagher's affairs are handled exclusively by his companies, Sold Out Shows and Fun Fun Fun. Gallagher is a self-contained touring business with an agent, promoter and road manager all in-house. For the last eighteen years, Ruth Ann Hoffman has booked and promoted all of Gallagher's dates across the country. Gallagher calls Hoffman his "Personal Promoter."

At some point during the early 90s, Gallagher's younger brother Ron Gallagher asked Gallagher for permission to perform shows using Gallagher's old routines, and also using Gallagher's trademark Sledge-O-Matic routine. The idea was that Ron Gallagher, who was unemployed, would tour the country working small venues that couldn't afford a show put on by Gallagher himself. Since Ron bears a strong familial resemblance to his older brother, the show would be almost like having a real Gallagher show.

Gallagher granted his blessing to his younger brother on the condition that Ron and his manager would make it clear in their promotional materials that it was Ron Gallagher, not Gallagher himself, that was putting on the show.

After a few years of complying with Gallagher's conditions, Ron began subtly blurring the line between his act and that of his brother. He would often promote his act as "Gallagher Too," a moniker Gallagher felt was insufficiently informative. In some instances, Ron's act was promoted in a way that provided no clue to prospective attendees that they were seeing someone other than Gallagher himself.

Gallagher initially attempted to get his brother to stop these activities by requesting that he stop using Gallagher's well-known Sledge-O-Matic routine. These efforts proved fruitless, and Ron kept touring as "Gallagher Too" while using the Sledge-O-Matic routine his older brother had made famous. Consequently, in August 2000, Gallagher sued his brother for trademark violations and false advertising. The courts ultimately sided with Leo Gallagher, and an injunction was granted prohibiting Ron from performing any act that impersonates his brother in small clubs and venues.

During the lawsuit, all of Gallagher's immediate family sided with Ron over the controversy. As a consequence, Gallagher is now estranged from his parents and siblings.

In January of 2005, the Oregonian's entertainment section printed a short interview with Gallagher where he gave scathing reviews about many of the top comedic performers in America. Among the criticisms were the low quality of stand-up performances by David Letterman, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and Michael Keaton. Gallagher expressed frustration over Hanks and Keaton's success, remarking that they were millionaires and someone with his skills and ability was reduced to renting a condo. While criticising Jay Leno and Letterman, he expressed surprise that they never invited him to appear in their shows, citing that Johnny Carson never liked him, but still booked him.

Gallagher reserved special wrath for Comedy Central's list of the greatest 100 stand-up comedians, where he was listed as #100, just below Janeane Garofalo. Gallagher insulted the list as a whole, stating that when reading it he "was trying to find anyone I ever heard of." He went on to claim that he had invented the concept of the one-person comedy show on cable television. To counter the list, he ran his own top comedians election at his website where he was voted the #1 comedian.

In April of 2006, Gallagher appeared on the morning show of Nashville station 104.5 The Zone. There to promote a stop at Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville, Gallagher was apparently not in a laughing mood. One of the show's co-hosts Mark Howard asked Gallagher, known for smashing watermelons and Jell-O, how he got into smashing watermelons. Gallagher responded by accusing Howard of not doing his research, and asking a question on par with what a high school reporter would have asked. He explained that his real fans know that he no longer does such low brow comedy. He demanded an answer as to why he would ask about something that isn't in the show. In fact, the show that Gallagher had advertised and was promoting specifically stated there would be "No Melon Smashing". Apparently, Mark Howard was not aware of this or chose to ignore the fact.

The interview proceeded to spiral downwards. Howard and his co-host Kevin Ingram, keeping their cool, allowed Gallagher to go on a tirade. "I basically let the guy beat me up for 20 minutes," Howard said. "We were sponsoring his deal (with Zanies), so I wasn't going to go on the attack. At one point he said, 'Who paired you two guys up?' intimating that we were just awful."

The next day, Gallagher returned to the station requesting a meeting with the station manager. Nashville Citadel Market Manager Dave Kelly said in an interview with The Tennessean, "He wanted people fired, and he was very upset. Apparently, he is a comedian who likes to pick on people but doesn't like to be picked on himself. He was in my office about 30 minutes, making it clear that he does not want to be known as the guy who smashes watermelons."

No action was taken against either host, and Gallagher's website ( continues to prominently display a watermelon motif, including a "Watermelon Mart" section, complete with watermelon-related links and recipes. Gallagher has continued to smash watermelons and other items in his recent shows.