Your Poncho Is No Match for Flying Watermelon


If you had approached the 8-year-old me and told me one day I would leave the following voice mail message, I would have thrown my Man-E-Faces at you and told you to get your lying ass out of my couch fortress before you bring down the blue cushiony Walls of Solitude with your deception:

“Hi, this is (my name) and I was calling to set up an interview with Gallagher.”

Yes, that’s THE Gallagher, not Gallagher II or even Liam Gallagher. The watermelon smashing, long-haired stage hound who put the prop in “prop comedy” long before Carrot Top was even a Carrot Seed. For whatever reason, his TV specials dominated VH-1 in the late 80s and early 90s, apparently before they discovered they could pump out cheap programming by filming people wistfully reminiscing about things that happened TWO EFFING YEARS AGO. (“Oh hey, remember the iPhone? What a crazy fad that was! People back then were so silly!”)

I was a huge fan, because I was 8, and because I loved the idea of a grown man on stage spraying an audience with fruit bits, cleaning products and cake for 20 minutes while the squares in the front row held up their plastic sheeting. “Not me,” I’d say to myself, envisioning the day Gallagher finally came to the Toms River Community Center or something. “Only wimps would bring plastic.” To me, this was the equivalent of wearing one of those cheap plastic ponchos when going down Splashwater Falls at Great Adventure. Um, hello? The entire purpose is to get wet. Embrace it! Love it! Treat the squishing of your sneakers as a badge of honor as you wolf down your $10 cheeseburger next to those squeaky clean youth group members whose leader won’t let them ride the “Devil’s Flume.”

The poncho wearers were the kinds of people I wanted to follow to the parking lot and spray with a gigantic fire hose just as they opened their car door. “Goddamnit, Esther!” the frustrated dad would say, “I told you these stupid ponchos were a bad idea!” Then a kid would cry, and I would squeak away in my sneakers, contented with another day at the amusement park.

I haven’t heard back from the Gallagher people yet (also: Gallagher has people? Who knew?) so I don’t know if I will actually get the interview. But if I do, I expect great things, mainly because this interview with The Oregonian went so well. From Wikipedia, which, as you know, is always accurate:

In January 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. He criticized stand-up performers including 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 while he was 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 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, 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.

Either way, Gallagher will be here July 5. Leave your plastic at home.

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