Gallagher has built a lengthy career in comedy by shocking his audience, first by smashing watermelons and just about anything else he can think up with his "Sledge-O-Matic" hammer, and in more recent years, by telling shockingly offensive jokes and berating anyone who doesn't like it.
Last night, however, the infamous prop comic shocked a Rochester, Minn., nightclub audience by collapsing onstage twice onstage, the second time while wielding the "Sledge-O-Matic," prompting audience members to rush to his aid. Gallagher (given name Leo Anthony Gallagher) was taken to a nearby hospital for overnight observation. His manager, Craig Marquardo, told the AP that Gallagher was in stable condition.
Photos taken by witness Chris Blade and published by the Rochester Post-Bulletin show the 64-year-old Gallagher standing atop a table onstage at Whiskey Bone's Roadhouse, then after collapsing, hidden behind it as audience members attended to him.
The nightclub's owner and audience members said that Gallagher had fainted earlier in the show and reported feeling numbness, but after a brief break to cool down while laying down, decided to go on with the show. No definitive medical diagnosis had been given overnight.
Gallagher is supposed to be performing tonight and Saturday at the Zanies in Vernon Hills, Ill., with more dates this month and next, including an April 8 return to the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. That was the site of an epically bad show I witnessed by Gallagher in 2008.
Word is Gallagher has canceled his gigs for this weekend and the next, awaiting further medical diagnosis and instructions.