This DVD includes two of Gallagher’s comedy specials from 1983, The Maddest and Stuck in the Sixties. I recognized a lot of The Maddest from heavy rotation on Showtime in the years where I spent a lot of time in a mobile home with but a television (well, and a brother, and friends who were prohibited from actually being in the trailer when my sainted mother was at work). However, it’s entirely possible that Showtime played The Messiest, a 1986 compilation of bits from other specials.
Gallagher deals with topical comedy and relies on a lot of props for his humor–a giant sofa to jump on, a motorized school desk, an animatronic baby doll in a high chair representing his new childm and of course the Sledge-o-Matic that he uses to smash produce up to a watermelon at the end of each show. In Stuck on the Sixties, he does hit a couple of political points to contrast the early Reagan era with his idealized version of the sixties, but overall, it aged better (at forty years old now) than, say, Dennis Miller’s The Raw Feed from only twenty years ago. Or maybe I have extra affection for the comedian because I watched his special or specials over and over again when I was younger.
When I was browsing the DVDs at the Friends of the Library book sale this spring, a woman waved her hand at the DVD and said that he’s funny. So I told her about how his brother would do his act sometimes, but it turns out I got the story wrong: His brother looked a lot like him and did his own shows, perhaps hoping people would confuse him with the Gallagher until the Gallagher sued his brother to make him stop, and he did.
Gallagher toured until 2020 when the pandemic shut everything down, and he passed away last year. I kind of wish I would have seen him live, but one wonders if his comedy became more political as everything did in the 21st century. I can believe not, at least until I run into some of his later comedy specials on DVD.