Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gallagher es muy mala!

Oh no!! Gallagher is back touring!

Maybe the unfunniest comedian in the history of show business is on the comeback trail, smashing watermelons in a town near you. He performed a show in nearby Cerritos in 1999 that resulted in a review so scathing and hilarious I had to keep it. If you can imagine the thinking that could have produced such a staggeringly ill-conceived show, you laugh twice as hard.


And so, as a public service to anyone even thinking of attending an upcoming Gallagher show, here is this LA Times review.

CROSSED-UP CROSSOVER

Comedy: Promoted for Latinos, Gallagher's pseudo-Spanish show is a litany of degrading stereotypes and insults.

By ALISA VALDES-RODRIGUEZ, Times Staff Writer


Hmm. How to put this delicately? We'll simplify: Mime-like, stringy-haired man in black hat smashes food with mallet on stage for living. Man, who no espeakey no Spanish, hears Spanish, thinks Spanish good, Spanish muy muy dinero. Man spends one month learning important Spanish words such as cerveza, caca and culo (butt). Man invents Spanish words, such as "sperm-o" and "embarazamante." Man decides this is enough Spanish to put on show for Latinos. Man smashes pinatas, wears giant sombrero and shakes keg-sized maracas. Man mocks Jews and gays and women and constipated old people. Man thinks he is muy funny comedian-o.

Man hopes all Spanish-speakers agree.
But wait. There's more. Mucho more.

Man rents hall in Cerritos. Man advertises "Gallagher en espanol: La Fiesta Grande" on Spanish radio. Man hopes thousands will come. Two hundred come, many with children and babies and old (possibly constipated) people. Man babbles for three hours Thursday night in "language" neither English nor Spanish. Language heretofore known as Gallagher-bonics. Next day, executive director of Cerritos Center for Performing Arts issues statement stressing that "Gallagher show was a rental event and not produced or presented by the Cerritos Center."

Man hires dance troupe to open show. Man performing for mostly Mexican American audience. Dance troupe, called Salsa Kids, performs Puerto Rican dance style. Male dancers wear guayaveras, the four-pocket shirts worn by old Cuban men in Miami. Mexican American audience appears unimpressed. Stone faces say: Ugh, bad medicine. "Is this like ballroom?" a woman in the audience asks. "My sister, she's taking that ballroom dancing."

Show goes on.

First nine rows of audience are in white plastic chairs. People in white plastic chairs equipped with clear plastic bag to wear over clothes because later mayonnaise and refried beans will spew over them. Signs warn: Cuidado, Piso Resbaloso. Wet floor. Man shoots water on audience from giant penguin after salsa dancers leave stage.

Other man named Vic Dunlop, a comedian hired to help because he supposedly speaks Espanol, takes stage. Dunlop wears Mexican blanket, sombrero and glasses with eyes painted on them. Makes jokes about black people and blind people in bad Spanish. Says show is sponsored by Culo Cola, the soda with the taste of an expletive. In audience, Debra Garcia, 50, is bored and thinks the show immature and plans to leave early.

Man appears with penguin and yells, "Como? Este hombre no esta en mi show. Vamanos."

Second assistant "comedian" who actually does speak Spanish comes on stage. Her name is Dyana Ortelli and she is Mexican American and makes a living mocking Jennifer Lopez's bottom, stereotyping Chicanos, and wearing bad wig and no pants. Ortelli helps man throw chocolate at crowd. Man says: "Quien no tengo chocolate?" Translation: Who I don't have chocolate? No one sure what he is saying.

Man introduces Chupacabras. Chupacabras is goat-sucking monster seen in Puerto Rico three years ago. Man in ape suit pretends to be goat-sucking monster. Man forces child onto stage with monster. Man asks: "Quien tiene mas pelo de Chupacabra?" Translation: Who has more hair of Chupacabras? Child makes disgusted face, jumps off stage. Ortelli looks sad. Man babbles about goat-sucker: "Es muy fuerze, es muy fuerza." Translation: Is very strength. No one laughs. Man frustrated. Tries to say "espectaculo," which means "show," but says "specta-culo," which sort of means butt-gazer.

Man calls for rock band. Fulano de Tal, from Miami, plays well. Man wears giant parachute dress and dances. Man spray-paints a lie on the back wall: Yo No Soy Gringo. Man says in Spanish that he is a cowboy. Man says he is newborn Mexican and caresses his naked hairy belly.

Man tells joke about bear and rabbit pooping.

Man gathers audience volunteers for Mexican hat dance. Says "Tengo un muchacha" over and over. No one laughs. Man says "Culo, culito" until people laugh. Man says "moco" for extra humor. Man is tired of trying. Man says in English "I need a beer." Man curses under breath off mike, but audience hears anyway.

Man begins dumping buckets of food onto plates. Man stops trying to speak Spanish. Man gives up and speaks English. Man says: "We were expecting a big crowd tonight and we're going to do a show for a big crowd anyway" because the crowd is small and shrinking. Man is booed again. Man yells: "It's the Fourth of July weekend, you don't got no place to go so just shut up." Man hits Pop Tarts with tennis racquet. Man says "Un muchacho quiero comer," which means "I want to eat a boy" and the boys look scared.

Many people who paid between $21.50 and $26.50 per ticket walk out as man flashes white underpants and yells culo, culo, culo and cerveza. Man angry Latinos have no sense of humor. Man throws egg and marshmallows at old woman and baby as they waddle out of theater. Man calls old woman vulgar name in English. Man spits beer on children. Some in audience too polite to leave. Others impolite enough to boo. One courageous enough to hurl a lunchbox-sized chunk of watermelon at man's head.

Man smashes food with 16-pound mallet. Man says, inexplicably, "Todo el mouthwash el hits me en el crotch-o." Man sings "La Cucaracha."

Man smashes more food. Show over. Man bows. Man slips on floor.

45 comments:

D. McEwan said...

Man, that sounds like Gallagher's BEST SHOW EVER!!! And I speak, sadly, as a survivor of a number of Gallagher performances.

Oh, I only paid to see him once, and that was over 30 years ago. But when I was working door at The Comedy Store 28 years ago, I not only had to work door for Gallagher performances, but worse still, I had to help CLEAN UP THE ROOM AFTERWARDS, something Gallagher did not participate in.

There were two acts we dreaded in those days, Gallagher and Lenny Shulz, as both involved making a gigantic mess with food, although Lenny's at least mostly consisted of his smearing food on himself, rather than spewing it on the house. But both finished, packed up, went home, and left us to hose the room down.

However, Lenny was a sweet guy who was pleasant to be around. Gallagher had an ego the size of South America, and did not like to socialize with other comics, or even just manage to be civil. He was an ass.

About Vic Dunlop: I haven't set eyes on him in decades, and have no idea what he's like now, but back then, he was a sweetheart. I worked with him a bit, and did sketches with him, and he was always pleasant to work with. Not an egomaniac, not an upstager. Good company. But no one's idea of a great comic (Except perhaps his.)

Once, Lenny Shulz was the to be the last act in The Main Room before we closed down for a two-week hiatus, when everyone would be on vacation, so the decision was made to just leave Lenny's huge mess for when we got back from vacation. Big Mistake. When we reopened those doors two weeks later --- the rats! The Rats! THE RATS!

Fortunately, Lenny had a day job as a high school teacher. (I can not imagine his classes.) So he only did his stand-up act during school vacations.

But is Gallagher "Maybe the unfunniest comedian in the history of show business"? After all, Carrot Top is still out there.

Thanks for bringing back those nightmares.

Bianca said...

that was so hilarious I almost wet my pants...

i mean "hilari-oso. te amo pants un wet-o"

Michael Jones said...

Now, that's a guest we need on American Idol!

Bitter Animator said...

I am so lucky I know nothing about this guy except that he smashes up fruit.

Although, from what I can gather, that's all there is to know.

JC said...

Oh man! I remember when he used to be ALL over Showtime in the 80s.

SO not funny.

The Onion A.V. Club did a review of a more recent show...

Anonymous said...

Doesn't he have a twin brother or something?

Thought I read that somewhere, they take turns perpetuating their abominable creation on the public.

Bg Porter said...

re: Gallagher's brother -- his younger brother had a deal with him to work smaller markets, but according to Wikipedia, that didn't work out so well, and he's not allowed do do that anymore.

I always took a strange glee in the fact that the demand for Gallagher was so high that we had to start making more, just to fill that urgent need.

Michael Zand said...

OMG, I remember that review from the Times. I even read it to my wife. It's funnier than anything Gallagher ever did on stage.

Anonymous said...

Moth...Flame. Bad reviews...me. I can't help it but your post has made me real curious.

Brian Scully said...

As bad as Gallagher and that review were, they are STILL funnier than Dane Cook.

Courtney Suzanne said...

Gallagher is working on the perception that if you wait around long enough, you become "retro".

I remember watching ads for his show when I was a little girl. "Watermelon Crazy". I wondered why anyone would pay money to have fruit bits spewed all over you. I think I must have been more rational than most adults back then.

The Minstrel Boy said...

didn't that pinche cabron start off on the "gong show" of all places?

that should have been a fucking clue dontcha think?

just when the latino community thought that there would be nothing in the world that could make them miss bill dana. . .

Paul said...

Gallagher was somewhat funny back in the day. Perhaps his worst special was the one where his arm was in a sling, so he had to have someone else smash the watermelons for him. Sad.

alan said...

A few things :

1) A few years ago Gallagher licensed out his old act to his brother. Conan O'Brien had Mexican Gallagher on his show as he assumed this would be a world wide franchise.

2) Sinbad is less funny than Gallagher.

3) Gallagher was on Howard Stern last week, and as it turns out he is the most bitter comedian, jealous of every successful comedian.

Awesome.

Amber said...

Eons ago, I believe back in the 80's, a friend of ours at the time bought tickets for him and my now-ex and me to see some comedian we'd never heard of called "Gallagher". Now, our friend knew we liked comedy because we would play Steve Martin or Richard Pryor records at our parties, you know...we grew up with Bill Cosby, etc. We told jokes. We would laugh at others' jokes.

Obviously, we had the humorbone going for us.

So he raved about how MUCH we were going to love this Gallagher. "Oh he's so FUNNY! He's just amazing! He's just the FUNNIEST GUY! EVAR!"

We had balcony seats (thank god!) and our good buddy lamented the fact he wasn't able to get front row seats. He eagerly pointed out the plastic all over the first couple of rows and I innocently asked what that was for.

"You'll see," he said, with a grin.

Yeah. I saw, all right. I saw a guy come out on a stage that was covered with various equipment and food, who began screaming and shouting about nonsense.

Un
Funny
Very

My (now ex) husband and I did not laugh ONCE! And you know...we were trying. We really wanted to make our friend happy. So I plastered a fake grin on my face and kept it there for as long as I could until slowly it faded, turning into a frozen, "get me the hell out of here" expression.

If we hadn't come in our friend's car, we would have left. I cannot remember a more horrible experience at a show, ever. And I've been to some pretty dismal productions in my life.

Then the grand finale came. Whereas Gallagher takes a big-assed mallet and starts pounding on watermelons and various other food substances so that the mess would splurt all over the audience. Who inexplicable laughed at this.

O_o

WHAT is funny about that?

All I could think was, thank GOD we're not sitting down there.

Yes, we kept the friend, despite his horrible taste in comedians. He was a good guy and besides, he was one of our "moving" friends. You can't alienate your good "moving" friends, right? The ones that help you out for beer and pizza? Right.

VP81955 said...

I thank God Gallagher has apparently never made any contributions to political candidates. I fear one of them would be elected president and appoint him ambassador to some obscure country, where he might unwittingly start World War III.

Tim W. said...

Are the same people who watch Gallagher the same people who watch American's Funniest Home Videos and Adam Sandler movies, because I've always wondered what type of people kept those things going.

cpo snarky said...

Quick - somebody round up the Unknown Comic and Bruce "Babyman" Baum. I smell a "Hack-a-palooza" tour!

Geoduck said...

Just dittoing other's comments: It's not like Gallagher is a comedic genius, but there are much much worse comedians out there, past and present. Sorry to hear about the ego, but I'll always have soft spot for the man.

Anonymous said...

I think Gallagher WAS funny in his early days. The smashing of the fruit was at the END of his routine and was silly even back then. I liked him. It was a different era and we wern't as jaded as we are today.

What he has become, along with George Carlin, are angry, unfunny old men. So sad.

Batocchio said...

"And if you thought Gallagher was bad in English..."

Emily Blake said...

Wow. It really does make you wonder how all the people involved in putting this thing together didn't notice what a horrible idea it was.

Gee, let's put a bunch of Mexicans in a room and insult their culture for two hours.

And Brian Dane Cook is a lot funnier than that. It's been my experience that people either love him or hate him and lots of people love him - myself included, but I'm pretty sure nobody loves Gallagher.

Anonymous said...

I have this very vivid memory of Ted Mack presenting Gallagher on The Mike Douglas Show in the 1970's.....he was Mack's latest (and I believe last) amateur "discovery".

Thanks a lot, Ted.....you gave the unsuspecting world Gallagher and the you died so you wouldn't have to suffer the consequences.

gregorykelly said...

I loved Gallagher on the Bobby Van-hosted "Make Me Laugh."

And why, by the way, is Make Me Laugh not on TV (or DVD) somewhere?

D. McEwan said...

"it turns out he is the most bitter comedian, jealous of every successful comedian."

Alan, he was always this mean, bitter little guy, even three decades ago, even at the inexplicable height of his inexplicable success, when he had one identical cable special after another. As someone who has worked with both, I can tell you that even Andrew Dice Clay was pleasanter to work around. (And Andy Clay is every bit as unfunny, although after Gallagher's shows you have to scub the theater, whereas, after hearing Andy work, you want to scrub your brain. UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!)

I believe Gallagher and his brother's conflict ended in injunctions and - wait for it - bitter recriminations.

Makes me long for a return from the dead of Sam Kineson, with whom I always had a good relationship, and who, for all his controversy, was genuinely funny, and had something to what he was saying.

All Gallagher's act ever really said was "LOOK OUT!"

Tom Quigley said...

Being of Irish descent, I'm ashamed that he goes by the name Gallagher...

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Are the same people who watch Gallagher the same people who watch American's Funniest Home Videos and Adam Sandler movies...

I'll bet you those are the same ones who find insight whenever Tom Bergeron spends a few excruciating minutes playing a home video slowly to analyze its joke content. How much symbolism can you actually find in someone being hit in the nuts anyway?

I don't watch it often, but when I unfortunately do (a result of working in the living room on the computer and no escape from the TV next to me), I miss Bob Saget on it.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for more recent times or people who worked with him, but I saw him in person in a theatre on Wilshire Blvd in the 70s and he was great. Sledge-o-matic was old then, but he made it funny and he had some Carlin-like observations that were right on (oops, lapsed into 60s talk).

But Sam Kennison?? Loud and doped up is not funny.

jbryant said...

anonymous (11:56 am): I just saw George Carlin's latest HBO special the other day, and while I didn't get a lot of belly laughs, I thought he was still funny and insightful. He has a way of being totally misanthropic without coming off as depressed about it. I'm not even sure I'd say he's bitter -- he can work himself up into a pretty good lather as part of his shtick, but I don't get the impression he sits around fuming about it in his down time.

D. McEwan said...

Anonymous,

I might expect that someone who found Gallagher in the 70s (When I first knew him) "funny and he had some Carlin-like observations that were right on" to dimiss the genuinely insightful satiric and scathing observations that Sam screamed at his audiences.

Ironically, Sam was pilloried by my fellow gay community for some comments that they also missed the point of, though they never went after Gallagher, one of the most relentlessly homophobic comics about, and doing an act that is still full of raging homophobia, along with his Mexican bashing. (That's the real irony of the show Ken posted about. Gallagher's a raging Mexiphobe also) Sam's material on gays, when you actually listen to what he was saying, was - ahem - right on.

Sam was brilliant. Yes he was loud, and yes he had a drug problem, but his act had real bite, and real thought, every bit as much as Carlin or Pryor.

These days, 20 years past his prime, Gallagher is still raging against gays, Latinos and "Hippies"! Hippies! in 2008, he still rages against hippies.

Is it any surprise that an act whose trademark is smashing stuff, and assaulting the audience with gunk is a ragaholic?

Whereas Sam's act was ABOUT rage, but Sam was not full of rage himself. Offstage, Sam was a sweetheart.

But then what do I know? I merely worked with both, though I socializd and became friends only with Sam.

Anonymous said...

Some people like chocolate, some like strawberry. I found Sam boring, self-righteous and not funny.

Ed said...

Gallagher as unfunniest comedian? Not even close.

Ant, anyone?

While I have no basis to deny that G was/is a beast to work with, the one time I saw him (in Georgia) he was out front before the show and greeted anyone who cared to stop by and say hello. He didn't have a single bad thing to say about/to anyone who come up to him.

The show was overlong, but he honored the audience with energy and enthusiasm. He did not phone it in. There are a lot of "performers" who could take a note or two from him.

YMMV.

cpo snarky said...

With all the "unfunniest comic" bashing going on here, I'd like to think that, somewhere, Pauly Shore is reading this and breathing a sigh of relief.

A. Buck Short said...

And yet he was considered a GENIUS at La Cachette. The California Vegan on Santa Monica, not so much.

d., I’m with you on Carlin, and with you jb on Kinison. And amber, well, hell I just like to say “amber.”

If you remember the hippy dippy weatherman etc., you can see how Carlin either re-invented himself with the zeitgeist, or at least just came out. For me the Kinison and Gallagher arcs crossed real early. Gallagher was funny to me when the concept was fresh. I could see Steve Martin doing an act like that – once. It’s the concept that was funny, not the execution. Some comedians can develop a trademark like the Jack Benny “look,” and it’s funny because you expect it – but also know you’re not likely being set up for a papaya hematoma. Kinison scared the bejezzus out of me the first time, and then he just grew.

I always wondered whether the raincoat was out of a mortal fear of turning the corner and running into Gallagher. (See how we brought it all together there in a denouement of compared and contrasted rages?)

The one thing that always has me second guessing myself, is when there’s somebody I just don’t get that accomplished comics find hilarious, like Rickels. Is it that they know there’s basically no act, and he looks like he could die up there any minute, and them somehow lives to tell about it. And as Don might say, “To be Frank,” I also can’t figure out the Newhart-Rickels club. To me that's Brando and Wally Cox all over again, except maybe they share the occasional pacing stutter? To me Rickels always reminded me of a goiter with feet. So Ken, drop your pants, fire a rocket, and please explain it for me.

But d., I gotta tell ya, the visual image of literally being pilloried by gays is not quite as invigorating for some of us as it may be for others.

One final question to show how little I know. How common is it for somebody with a standup act to use writers, and how does that work? I realize that until you’ve made it, you can’t afford ‘em, but what then?

D. McEwan said...

ANT as unfunniest comic ever. Hmmmmm. Tempting, but he does use a lot of great material - all stolen from better comics, which are all comics, even Gallagher. Me no like ANT.

Some very successful stand-ups employ writers. Back in my stand-up days, 30 years ago, I know Jimmy JJ Walker employed a string of writers. I believe Letterman picked up a check or two writing for Walker in his (Letterman's)pre-success days. Again, way back then, Kip Adotta approached me about doing some writing for him, but nothing ever came of it. Stand-ups with writers are exceptions rather than the rule.

I suppose Rickles is someone you either like or don't. I can't take a large or a steady serving of him, but at his best, he is damn funny.

Anonymous said...

No mention of "Blue Collar Comedy", especially "Larry The Cable Guy"? For shame!

jbryant said...

Just saw John Landis' Rickles documentary on HBO on Demand the other night. Disjointed, but beautifully shot. Mostly talking heads interspersed with bits from his act and clips from his movie and TV appearances.

I think Rickles' shtick is funny, even though very few of his "zingers" are really any good. It's the attitude, the almost stream-of-consciousness interaction with the audience, that sells it. Rickles isn't a comedian you quote (except of course "You hockey puck").

As for the Blue Collar guys, maybe it's my Kentucky roots, but I have a distressingly high tolerance for those guys. Even when they're not particularly funny, they don't anger me the way they do some "city folk" (though Larry does come out with some unconscionable stuff). But Foxworthy is pretty benign, Engvall even more so. I'd say Ron White is by far the smartest, dirtiest and funniest of the bunch. I'm guessing no one else here will have even measured words of praise for these dudes but, hey, if you grew up with Hee Haw, they seem almost sophisticated. :)

Bob said...

I'll admit that much of the Rickles patter makes absolutely no sense at all; it's just attitude rushing in on a tidal wave of words. But the guy has said some stuff that's absolutely brilliant. There's that classic line he used on Sinatra, who, having watched Rickles for the the first time, stood up after an hour and made to leave. Rickles said, "Siddown--I had to listen to you sing." That's funny.

As for Gallagher, I know this makes me sound 100 years old, but there's something about wasting all that food that's vaguely obscene to me.

Anonymous said...

jbryant got it right on the Blue Collar guys. Foxworthy and Engval are good, solid MOR pros and Larry the Cableguy drifts off a bit for my taste. But Ron White was the great discovery for me when I watched their show. Dean Martin combined with small-town Texas boy? It makes no sense but it works great. See, he was thrown out of this bar in New York City...

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'll take Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White. Foxworthy is good but middle-of-the-road. Engval makes his bones on a stolen concept. His "here's your sign" bit is a direct steal of Mad Magazine's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" department.

I remember London Lee. He did the flip side of all those comics who talked about growing up in poverty, complaining about the problems of coming from a wealthy family. Looked like the kind of guy even nerds would beat up for his lunch money.

Kennison cracked me up when he screamed. Sorry, I can't help it.

Not funny at all include Sinbad, Carrot Top, and Howie Mandel.

j g said...

I saw the Stern show appearance last week- Gallagher pretty much accused everyone this side of Johnny Carson of ripping him and his act off at some level

ajmilner said...

Random thoughts:

* "(Lyle Langley) cut corners everywhere. Bad wiring, faulty brakes, and the celebrity on the maiden voyage was Gallagher." -- Sebastian Cobb, "Marge vs. the Monorail" episode of The Simpsons

* "Carrot Top, the comedian for people who don't get Gallagher." -- Bill Hicks. Hicks also observed that one of America's top comics smashes food onstage, yet Americans can't POSSIBLY imagine why we're loathed around the world.

* Back in the 1980s Albert Brooks called up his comedian pals and suggested starting up a boomer version of the Friars Club. At the group's first meeting, Albert promised, "we'll decide which one of us gets to kill Gallagher."

* If you can scrounge up a bootleg copy, and if you have a penchant for lousy comedy movies, try to track down RECORD CITY, a 1978 drive-in spectacular with Gallagher doing his Sledge-o-matic spiel.

Anonymous said...

unfunny, bitter, homophobic, offensive to Latinos....

I really thought this was a Mencia review...

Susan Easyman said...

I don't know why all the ANT bashing happens. I am a fan of comedy and a fan of ANT's since first hearing him on Howard Stern.

I've actually have emailed him and he responded which was more than I could say for some others.

So many people accuse him of either being a thief of material or a hack...so if he stole your material, your in essence saying you're a hack...and so far, Rogan was the only one to actually mention any "stolen" joke -- a toss away lifted from a movie. My 10 year old could have come up with that joke. Parallel Theme ring a bell?

Funny thing, i've seen Jim David do a very similiar joke - it's even on his cd - which was releasd after the movie was released. Did Rogan go after David? Nope..hmmm. The Joke Police were off that night.

I'd love to know which comics say that ANT has stolen from them. I told ANT the next time i saw any ANT bashing i was going to step up. If you're reading this ANT...i did.

chicken shit comedians hide behind lies and their misery...I've noticed it's always the comics with zero career and talent who go after the comics with success.

Excuse me for that last comment..it wasn't an original thought..I might have stolen it. This post will probably not make it ecause it challenges your good ole boy network...but i feel better already.


Susan Easyman
A proud Ant fan!
suziqeasy@aol.com

woodlawn said...

America Has Talent