Watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher dies at 76

Gallagher was pioneer of TV comedy specials, says manager

American comedian Gallagher (born Leo Gallagher Jr) performs at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, July 10, 1981. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images) (Paul Natkin, (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images))

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gallagher, the watermelon-smashing comedian whose routine made him popular with late-night comedy and TV specials in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at the age of 76.

According to CNN, Gallagher’s manager said the comedian died Friday after a “short health battle” in Palm Springs, California,.

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Leo Gallagher made a name for himself in the 70s on late-night comedy programs like “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and “The Merv Griffin Show.”

His signature weapon of choice, the hand-made sledgehammer called the “Sledge-O-Matic,” would be used to smash food on stage, spraying the audience.

He had the first standup comedy special to ever air on cable television in 1980 with “An Uncensored Evening.”

He did comedy specials for Showtime throughout the 80s, as well as MTV and Comedy Central.

He continued to tour and perform into 2020, when the pandemic hit.

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About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.