Instead of a snooty old biography of my life, let’s have some fun with it. Maybe you know some of the answers, maybe you are just a good guesser. No matter what, you are sure to find out some pretty cool things you never knew before. Enjoy!
Question 1 of 25 :
My first job in Los Angeles was what?
Car Wash Attendant
During one of my first tries at the business, I needed a day job, so I washed cars in Fullerton, California. This was even AFTER my first appearance on the Mike Douglas Show.
Question 2 of 25 :
Which actor from the 70’s hit TV show ‘Welcome Back Kotter’, did I break their collarbone when they tried to slide into home plate during a celebrity softball game?
Gabe Kaplan (Mr. Kotter)
I was playing catcher and he was rounding third to go home, so I stood in to block the plate. I guess he thought eventually I would get out of the way. I didn’t. Sorry, Mr. Kotter.
Question 3 of 25 :
Which country music star did I open 100 shows for in 1980?
This was my first real big gig, though I am not sure if Kenny saw many of them. He usually wouldn’t arrive until my show was almost over every night, the audience all warmed up and Gallagher-ized.
Question 4 of 25 :
Which Oscar-winning actor asked me to play his best friend in a major feature film in the 80’s?
Dustin had seen me on television in a news piece and thought I had relayed a lot of genuine emotion in the clip he saw. He called and invited me to his house to talk to me about a part in his next movie, where I would play his best friend. Well, my girlfriend at the time said there was no way I was going there without bringing her (Dustin was a HUGE star at the time). So we get there and he tells me that his character had just gone through a heartbreaking divorce, and as his best friend, what advice would I give him. I WANTED to say, “Screw her, you can do better, your whole life is ahead of you”, but I didn’t want to piss off my girlfriend. So instead I said, “ That’s too bad, give it time, maybe you can work things out.” He hated that answer, and said he would call and let me know. Walking out I said, “Let’s just be honest…You’re never gonna call”. And he didn’t.
Question 5 of 25 :
David Letterman was always watching his favorite show back in the 70’s. What was it?
Leave It To Beaver
Dave used to hang out with his best friend a lot, the late George Miller, at George’s apartment across the street from the Comedy Store. George and I were friends too, so I would visit him often. Every time I would go in, there was Dave on the couch watching his favorite show, ‘Leave It To Beaver’.
Question 6 of 25 :
In the 70’s, which late night host used to whisper in my ear before my set, “Props are the enemy of wit”?
Back then, the Improv was the ‘dirty club’, and the clean club was the Comedy Store. Jay was the only one who would never change his material when at one or the other, so it was odd hearing him tell Mom jokes after seeing the last comic on a swearing-laced rant. He thought he would rattle me before going up and doing my routine, only to go on the Tonight Show and do nothing but prop gags. Stay classy, Jay.
Question 7 of 25 :
I was once sued by an audience member who claimed he got hit in the head by what?
This guy ended up suing me, and the jury ended up laughing him out of court. Judge said it was the most fun he ever had in a courtroom. Turns out he had a car accident years before and was trying to blame those injuries on me too. Sorry, pal.
Question 8 of 25 :
Which celebrity did I have a ‘war of words’ with during a taping of the Tonight Show?
On May 9th, 1979, I did my routine on the Tonight Show, and Chevy was the guest before me. When I got called to the couch and was talking to Johnny, Chevy was fidgeting behind me. So I turned and said, “Chevy can’t stand it when he ain’t getting a laugh.” So I gave him a prop hat that he couldn’t figure out how to work. Chevy says, “So that’s your while act, you just do funny props?”, and the audience booed him (rightfully so!). So to save his butt he added in, “For the record, I think this man is fine young comedian and will go a long, long way.” So I replied, “For the record, it doesn’t make any difference what you think.”
The next night Johnny was doing his monologue and said, “If you are putting together the seating chart for your next formal dinner, make sure Gallagher and Chevy Chase are at different tables”.
Question 9 of 25 :
Much has been said about the dispute between me and my brother Ron. But what exactly did the judge say he couldn’t do anymore?
To clear up a few things, I thought it was a great idea at the time. I loved the idea of keeping comedy as the family business. It just went too far and I had to finally put a stop to it. But in the end, he couldn’t wear my signature hats, striped shirts or suspenders, smash anything, or even grow a mustache. I guess the Law works in mysterious ways.
Question 10 of 25 :
Which major movie did I help sell the movie rights to, but then screwed out of by a former manager?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
It has been reported that I came up with the idea for TMNT, which is not true at all. These kids had a great idea but they were running into problems trying to get anything done with it. So I went out and made the deal for the feature film. But that is when greed took over, and my manager slid me out of the deal, and himself – IN. I fired him. He took my road manager, my driver and some of my props and gave it to his new client, Carrot Top. I took his wife (professionally) and made her my manager. They divorced soon after.
Question 11 of 25 :
Which member of the musical group, The Monkees, directed my first Showtime special?
Mike was branching out into many different areas of film and TV. Later, he would go on to invent what would later become MTV. Betcha didn’t know that!
Question 12 of 25 :
Which famous comedian did I spend a weekend at his house – um - partaking?
The less detail about this the better. But let’s just say that it was the 80’s, I was a hippie from the 60’s, and this was Richard Pryor. It was a mind-altering experience, to say the least.
Question 13 of 25 :
Which famous comedian stole my jokes in the 70’s and used them on TV?
Robin was a notorious joke stealer. Back then the rule was, the first one to use it on TV owned the joke, and he was on TV a lot more than we were. The guy was on so many drugs and spoke so fast, I am not entirely positive he was sure about what jokes he was saying. I think in his stream of consciousness rants, he was just saying whatever came to mind at the time.
Question 14 of 25 :
Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla once pitched me an idea for a movie. What was it called?
Jimmy and Adam had this half-cocked idea for a movie called, ‘Killing Gallagher’. At first I thought it was a joke, and then when I realized they might be serious, they didn’t like any suggestions I had to make the movie better, so it never happened. Hmm, and Jimmy has never had me on the show. Coincidence?
Question 15 of 25 :
Which late night host and I would play lesbian bars to prevent other comics from stealing our jokes?
As a result of joke-stealers like Robin Williams, Letterman and I decided not to try out our new material in front of other comics – so we couldn’t play the comedy clubs. We found ourselves a small lesbian bar on the other side of town to ply our wares. The lesbians loved us!
Question 16 of 25 :
On March 3rd, 2011 I had a heart attack, and yet was nowhere near the top story. What ELSE happened that day?
Fourth story down? I can’t even DIE and get the first story in the news.
Question 17 of 25 :
Which of my family members has NOT appeared in one of my TV specials?
A lot of my shows were a family affair. Barnaby was the only one not to appear in a show, because he wasn’t BORN yet. When Aimee was in one, she was only 2 years old. Maybe we’ll get him in the next one! (wink)
Question 18 of 25 :
Several people have approached me about making a documentary about my life. Which famous actor offered $1m of his own money to produce it?
I have never been a fan of doing a movie about my life. I still ain’t, but several have tried. The latest and most notable was Jack Black, who kept sweetening the deal so much that in the end he offered to spend $1m of his own money to finance the film. No offense Jack, I said no to everyone else too.
Question 19 of 25 :
In college, I majored in:
I was going to be a scientist, when I realized that I would have more fun studying the world from the standpoint of comedy rather than science.
Question 20 of 25 :
When I was a kid my Dad owned one of these, and I became a state champion.
Roller Skating Rink
Dad owned the roller skating rink, and my mentor and coach was gay (surprise, surprise, gay activists). I was the roller skating state champion, which at the time was a cool thing to be. Go back and watch my videos and you’ll see me skating in quite a few of them.
Question 21 of 25 :
How many watermelons have I smashed in my lifetime? (approximately)
We worked this out recently. 35x110x4 = 15,400. 35 years of touring, 110 shows a year on average, smashing about 4 watermelons a show. It only seems like more because I smashed so many other things, though the watermelons is what people remember the most.
Question 22 of 25 :
The first time I went to Vegas, what did I end up sleeping on my first night?
I tried to go to Las Vegas to see if I could get something going. I took a bus, but that only left me with $25, so I couldn’t afford a hotel. I eventually found this pile of tires in a quiet spot and went to sleep.
Question 23 of 25 :
Which television network was started mainly as an excuse to show re-runs of my Showtime specials?
Viacom owned Showtime, and after 14 specials I was getting too expensive for Showtime to keep doing more specials, so they focused on younger (i.e. cheaper) comics. Around that time Viacom had launched MTV and VH1, so they started airing my specials in reruns and the ratings were spectacular. This was great news to everyone except for the guy running MTV, who felt the comedy specials were taking focus away from his music audience he was trying to cultivate. Not wanting to lose this gem they had, someone came up with the idea to launch The Comedy Channel, which in the first year featured ½ specials shot cheaply in comedy clubs…and reruns of my specials. Notably, the Comedy Channel later became – Comedy Central. Your welcome, America (and Jon Stewart).
Question 24 of 25 :
In 1971 I published a novel about sex in America. What was it called?
The Mailman Cometh
I printed off 5,000 copies on newsprint, and sold them at every car race and rock concert I could drive to. I would sell them for anywhere between a nickel and a quarter, but sometimes just for a beer and a sandwich.
Question 25 of 25 :
Because the artist sketch looked a little like me, I was once questioned as a suspect as what serial killer?
The police put up an artists sketch of this serial killer in the mid-90’s. People started calling in and saying that it looked a lot like that guy Gallagher on TV. So they called my manager and saw that I had been touring when the incidents happened