Comedian Gallagher not child-friendly

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//img-d9GUwILUJJ.jpg’, ‘Photo by James Thompson’, ‘World-renowned comedian Gallagher brought his wild hijinks to Rockford College Oct. 28.’);

All right, I’ll admit I got a little excited to see Gallagher at Rockford College last Thursday, Oct. 28, perhaps only because he’s famous, or maybe because I had heard his stand-up comedy was good. Either way, cameraman James Thompson and I situated ourselves safely in the far back “balcony” (if gymnasiums can have balconies) so as to save his equipment from flying watermelon pieces and whatnot, and were thrown into the microcosm of Gallagher.

I was disappointed overall. Although his stand-up was decent for the most part, making fairly clever quips and one-liners on inconsistencies in language, life and society, Gallagher really stayed away from politics and focused more on bathroom humor. I guess watching a man dressed up in a bear costume replicating the act of defecation with a can of strained pumpkin just doesn’t do it for me.

I had also expected that through his climactic buildup to smashing food (which he never ceased to remind the audience about in sexual parallels), he would coincide the comedy with the act. However, Gallagher just did his rather long, drawn-out comedy act, and then proceeded to smash “stuff” for no particular reason. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but the show did beg the question “since when is smashing food with a hammer amusing, and why?”

He barraged the audience with insults (not too good-naturedly), claiming his own intellectual superiority while he stomped around and ranted. For some reason, I derived less humor out of listening to him tell the parents of an extremely ill-mannered child how rottenly they raised their son (using expletives, and telling the 6-year-old he sounded like a girl) than from him smashing a plate of canned cacti and mayonnaise with a wooden mallet.

This begs another question. Since when did Americans give up all self-respect just to see an angry, aging comedian commit senseless acts of violence on unsuspecting food products, while being insulted and belittled shamelessly? Is watching a grocery store birthday cake explode all over the first five rows of people worth more than dignity? Perhaps.

This writer is not a prude in her humor; however, I like to see things changed up a bit, and Gallagher did not offer any different material. Focusing derision on personal bodily functions, sexual orientation and the general stupidity of mankind was as far as he got. I admit openly that I laughed out loud quite a few times, but then after two hours of sitting in the dark hearing the same stuff over and over again, the watermelon smashing that I had so strongly claimed as silly prior to the event, started sounding good.

This is not to say that I feel Gallagher is stupid; base and obscene to say the least, but he is not an ignorant comedian. He appears to be a man who knows something about everything, but nothing about something. Little tidbits of linguistic trivia were a major part of his act, as he ranted on how many of our English words come from French. If he had pronounced any of them with any accuracy, it might have been funnier. “I look this stuff up,” he quipped. “I don’t have a job.”

Perhaps it’s not Gallagher’s poor taste or infantile humor that bothered me, but rather that some in attendance actually felt it would be appropriate to bring their children to hear him. Every time he spat out an expletive, a wave of tension seemed to go through parts of the gymnasium as people wondered if the 5-year-old next to them understood. If it were not for the population of fully-aware children (ages newborn to 2 do not count), I would have felt more comfortable laughing at his jokes.

The audience did get what they came for, though. “Shrapnel” and “explosives” of canned fruit and condiments splattered everyone (many wisely covered in plastic) in the first five rows at the least. The wild applause and loud cheers showed that it doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it in comedy, it’s just funny when you hit stuff.

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