Back in March Gallagher suffered three separate heart attacks and it seemed like the very appropriate time to post a long-gestating Gallagher piece we had been planning to write. Well, obviously, two months have passed, but during that interim we kept this tab open in our browser, a reminder that, eventually, we needed to get to it, to talk about Gallagher, to try to make some sense of this fallen from grace comedian in the twilight of career, and possibly of his life.
We should preface this by detailing our own personal history with Gallagher. We very clearly recall watching his cable specials as a child, filling time slots in the early years of Comedy Central and possibly even on VH1, before they had Celebrity Rehab to occupy the bulk of their schedule. Of course we remember the watermelon smashing – the Sledge-O-Matic – but we also vividly remember a giant couch, outfitted with a trampoline under the giant cushions, and as an eight year-old that seemed like the coolest thing ever. It was like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann, but crossed with a playground, with a purpose. We wanted one. The stage, with its oversized props, was quite literally a giant toy store, and Gallagher was the wily proprietor, with a sparkle in his eye and a mischievous grin. We’re not sure at the time that we really understood “comedy,” but we liked whatever he was doing. It may not have been comedy, but it sure as fuck was entertaining to a kid still five-years shy of his Bar Mitzvah.
We’ve admitted to having a soft spot for Gallagher, having vivid memories of watching his stand up specials that were replayed on Vh1 in the early 90s, and, in fact, seeing him live when he played Westbury Music Fair in the late 90s (and he was totally generous about autographing the t-shirt we had our parents buy us). While we certainly don’t agree with his politics, or really any of his views in general, we still think he’s gotten somewhat of a raw deal, at least in terms of the perception of his career. He might be hanging on now, truly a lion in winter, and his act might have gone off the rails, but there’s no denying he was a star for a time, and that few comedians have achieved the degree of success that he did. And, in fact, his most popular bit was his undoing, as the watermelon smashing Sledge-O-Matic routine has unfortunately come to define him (well, maybe until now), obscuring the more creative, cerebral parts of his act.
It’s doubtful we’ll ever witness a full-fledged Gallagher comeback. By now he seems to have lost or screw or two. Or perhaps he was always missing a couple, but their absence just manifested itself in less crazy and bitter ways. But at least we know that if our car ever gets stuck on a bridge that Gallagher has our back.
Once upon a time when I had a job I’d tune into Live! with Regis and Kellyevery morning while I got ready for my big day at the office. I’d only get to catch the first ten minutes or so, but it was often the highlight of my day. If there’s one part of Live! to take in it’s the first act banter. Unfortunately, I had to stop watching because I was leaving the house later and later every day.
Lately my schedule is all over the place and I haven’t seen the show in months. However, yesterday, just by sheer luck (as I got ready for a morning Wii Fit session) I turned on the TV and there were Regis and Kelly, two old friends, a sight for sore eyes. And fate was smiling on me because they were just having their daily chat over coffee. Basically you can turn into any episode around this time and hear Regis say something ridiculous, and this was no exception. However, I think this particular show was a little special, as Reege regaled us with a decades old story of the time he had kidney stones. What makes this even more amazing is that while Regis cannot remember who is co-host is, he does recall useless details like the name of his male nurse (Jose. Okay, maybe he made that up).
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He might screw up the name of every guest and point to his chest when referring to his kidneys, but Regis is still the King of Early Morning.