36 Stanzas for Gallagher

or, How is it you can buy a whole chess set at a pawn shop?

As a Child,
Gallagher had a grandmother
who was an adagio dancer who ran off
with her partner.

As a College Student,
Gallagher first majored in Chemical Engineering
while working as a Chemist
at a Kaiser Aluminum nitric acid plant.

As a Beginner,
Gallagher was fired from his first job,
a humiliation exacerbated by the nature of the venue,
a joint named Quickie's Topless Bar & Pancake House.

As a Dreamer,
Gallagher took a bus to Las Vegas, where,
down to his last $25, he slept on a pile of tires
his first night there.

As a Parody of a Product Spokesman,
Gallagher enacted a grand finale
by pounding every laugh he could from a sledgehammer,
destroying an array of foodstuffs,
each of which splattered
into the plastic-clad front rows
of the theater.

As the Foremost Practitioner of Prop Comedy,
Gallagher "operated both verbal and visual puns,"
such as his Rolodex watch.

As the Hyperkinetic Linchpin
of Showtime's Late Night Comedy Line-Up,
Gallagher stated in an interview
that "the range of hyperbole
is too infinite. I don't want to make up
improbable lines. I work with the truth,
like with phrases we don't notice. For instance,
'Alcohol statistics are staggering.'"

As the Master of His Prop Chest,
Gallagher may choose to pull out
his moose douche, a car horn for pedestrians,
a synchronized ping-pong set, a stuffed dog
with a head at both ends, a pair of giant pants,
a driving desk, a Twinkie bug, bumper stickers
saying "I {spade} my dog" or "I {club} my wife,"
a lasso drill, or he may just tell you, "the one about the
blind skunk that fell in love with the fart."

As a Social Commentator,
Gallagher praised himself
for his courage to tell San Franciscans
that they "live in a bowl of granola;
whatever's not fruits or nuts is flakes."

As the Topic of a Concert Review,
Gallagher "comes up with some neat verbal
and observational things worthy of any top monolinguist."
Example: "You park in the driveway, but
drive in the parkway."

As a Braggart,
Gallagher claims to have done
(in 1988) "the greatest five minutes
ever done by a comedian on a variety show."

As a Sailboat,
Blowin' in the Wind of Turtle-Mania,
Gallagher and his manager Gary Propper
envisioned a movie that would have starred
Gallagher, John Candy, and two other comedians
as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

As a Nice Guy,
Gallagher helped his brother, Ron,
drop his job selling heavy equipment
to perform a tribute act called
Gallagher II: The Living Sequel,
after seeing a young Carrot-Top
in a comedy club.

As the Brother of a Comic,
Ron Gallagher began performing
a "best of" tribute act
of his brother's material.
They had an arrangement
throughout the nineties,
like a retail store
and a bargain basement.
Things went on. But not for long.
"Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?"

As a Bigot,
Gallagher found that a venue
he was performing at
had been egged with watermelons
by some fags who couldn't throw
because he made a joke in Lake Tahoe
about AIDS.

As a Funnyman,
Gallagher dragged
a giant couch on stage
and did a backflip
while jumping on it
before revealing
the couch monster.

As a Dreamer,
Gallagher ended a big show
flying over the audience
in a pedal-powered blimp
singing "Somewhere Over
The Rainbow," wearing
a rainbow hat.

As an Optimist,
Gallagher's monologues
in the eighties touched on
such topics as "style," "the sixties,"
and looking at the world with "new eyes,"
and promised "to explode your world
so you can put it back together
the way you want to,"
before slipping into long bits about
bad drivers and
women shoppers.

As a Balding, Slovenly Comedian,
Gallagher doused his Anaheim audience
with a predictable stream of ridicule and liquids,
adding little to the self-consciously offensive persona
he'd used as an act for years.

As a Superior Court Jester,
Gallagher had jurors laughing
and the plaintiff's attorney fuming
as he waved his arms, wisecracked,
and poured on the sarcasm, convincing the jurors
that he hadn't hit Robin Vann in the head
with the penguin during a show,
drawing chuckles from the judge,
who said,"it was entertaining.
It certainly wasn't boring."

As an Unlikely Source of Pain and Suffering,
Gallagher's prop penguin
with a fire extinguisher inside
and a red bow tie on
sat in the courtroom where
Gallagher was a Defendant.

As the Winner of the Case,
Gallagher said "I watch baseball games,
and people get hit with foul balls." For
the record, his own injuries have included
two broken arms, a chipped tooth, and
a dislocated elbow.

As a Capitalist,
Gallagher did a photo shoot
at Knott's Berry Farm
surrounded by 20 kids in penguin suits
and by live penguins
and by inflatable penguins
and called his next series of live shows
"The Vicious Malicious Penguin Tour."

As a Father,
Gallagher described a day at home
with his son Barney. They swung
from bungee cords in the living room,
decapitated dolls with a plastic sword,
then hit the 75 feet of Velcro
on the slope
in the backyard.

As a Suspect in a Murder,
Gallagher was never really a suspect
but just that Florida witnesses described
to police sketch artists
a face that looked just like
his face.

As a Performer at Rascal's
in 1993, Ron Gallagher (The Living Sequel)
lost control of his Sledge-O-Matic
and caused an audience member to lose
his sense of taste and smell
after being struck in the head
with an oversized wooden mallet
during a comedy routine.
Ron was responsible for $700,000 in damages
and Richard Carpini could no longer smell
the soaps and shampoos
that his company marketed to hotels.

As a Patron,
Ken Kiessling bought a ticket
to see a Gallagher, and was
disappointed to see Gallagher's
younger brother instead. "I look more
like Gallagher than he does," said Ron in
response to confusion. "To a true fan,
there's only one Gallagher,"
said someone else.

As a Comic Innovator,
Gallagher did a terrible thing
just last year, by performing:
"Gallagher en Espanol: La Fiesta Grande"
in the wake of a perceived "Latin invasion."
A review in the Los Angeles Times
found the show breathtakingly savage
and a "litany of degrading
stereotypes and insults."

As a "Crossed-Up Crossover,"
Gallagher studied Spanish for one month
learning important words
such as cerveza, caca, and culo,
and inventing Spanish words such as "sperm-o."
He proceeded to offend a crowd of Latinos
while wearing a giant sombrero and shaking keg-sized
maracas, telling the booing crowd that he was a cowboy
and that he was a newborn Mexican, throwing eggs
and marshmallows at an old lady and a baby
as they tried to leave, and spitting beer on some kids.

As a Sign of Fatigue,
Gallagher muttered "I need a beer"
in English and let fly some vulgarities
under his breath, but everyone heard.
In a later interview, he predicted,
"the future will be bilingual artists
selling their art on the Internet."

As a Grievant,
Gallagher sued his brother (The Living Sequel)
in a federal court in Michigan, asking for a judge to order
him to stop using the Gallagher name and duplicating
the Gallagher act after Ron took a Millennium Eve gig
at Detroit's 2,000-seat Fisher Theatre
that created "consumer confusion."

As a Plaintiff,
Gallagher listened to a statement taken from his dad
saying that the boys had smashed fruit together
while growing up, and also saying that Ron
was considered an emergency stand-in
because of Gallagher's "volatile temper and drug abuse."
Gallagher said that his little brother
used to refer to himself as a mere pimple
on the backside of his famous brother.
"But the pimple's infected now, and I can't sit down,"
he told The Associated Press.

As a Concerned Businessman,
a 53-year old Gallagher listened
as a Federal Judge read an injunction
prohibiting a 48-year old Ron
from "performing any act
that includes the use of a sledgehammer
or other similar device to pulverize
watermelons, fruits, food, or other items
of any kind." He is also prohibited from
performing in Gallagher-like clothing, specified as
"beret, striped shirt, long hair, and mustache."
Ron Gallagher is prohibited from performing
with a watermelon or any "squirting device"
and he can't call himself
"Gallagher" or use the term
"Sledge-O-Matic."

At Bocanuts,
in Boca Raton,
Ron Gallagher played one of his last shows
as Gallagher II: The Living Sequel
to fulfill an obligation.

As a Wizard of His Own Devising,
Gallagher did a photo-shoot
where he sat cross-legged
with nothing on but briefs
and a big watermelon sticking out
like a boner.

Gallagher's spirits seemed to fade with the dusky light.
Darkness began creeping into the room.
"One night I was watching TV. This ad for Veg-O-Matic came on.
'Why not just smash the food?' I thought. 'You have to eat it
anyway.'"

About This Story


  • Author: Jay Sanders
  • Published Online: Jan 13, 2012