Fruit-Smashing Comedian Who Briefly Lived in Central New York Dies
Popular '80s comedian Gallagher, who was widely known for his watermelon-smashing routine, has died. He was 76 year old.
His manager Craig Marquardo made the unfortunate announcement to the New York Daily News:
[Gallagher] succumbed to his ailments and passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California. He had previously suffered numerous heart attacks, something he and David Letterman talked about on an appearance a few years back.
Born Leo Gallagher, Jr., he was known for his biting social commentary and unconventional prop comedy. His most popular bit was arguably his "Sledge-O-Matic" routine which saw him smash a watermelon on stage with a large mallet. Audience members who knew what they were getting into often wore parkas to prepare for the messy onslaught.
Back in 2014, Gallagher briefly drifted around Central New York, staying with various members of the community after a scheduled show in Oneonta. At one point he was spotted in Utica buying watermelons for his performance at the Radisson. (You can read the humorous account of that here from WIBX's own Bill Keeler.)
Gallagher said at the time:
When I meet my fans, they seem really friendly, so I just thought I'd hang out with them.
The funnyman first rose to fame in 1980 with the TV special "An Uncensored Evening." He was the archetypical "road comic," who shunned sitcoms and mainstream Hollywood projects to tour the country with his acerbic act. Gallagher remained active on the comedy circuit for decades.
Townsquare Media offers its condolences to Gallagher's friends, family and fans.