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Gallagher

"I'm tired of being dismissed as merely a guy who smashes fruit."

California might be one big party town, but in August of 2003, Governor Gray Davis was considered the club's worst dj. When the recall circus began, anyone capable of coughing up the $3500 filing fee and 65 signatures could get their names affixed to the ballot.

Never mind that sixty-five was roughly the same number collected by fans of NBC's 1983 series Manimal to get the program back on the air - but for veteran prop comic Gallagher, securing signatures in Los Angeles was like pulling teeth. He "stood on Sunset Boulevard like a prostitute," soliciting a city full of multinationals who didn't recognize him. And the rest just didn't seem that interested in getting registered to vote. When he showed up in the lobby of The Washington Post with a large cardboard box filled with dirty clothes, a security guard asked him to leave.

Known for his balding head with Krusty the Klown tufts, horizontally striped shirts and foppish berets, this precursor to Carrot Top sledgehammered his way to fame and fortune in the early 1980s. During his comedy routine, he was indeed the first to postulate openly, if 7-11 convenience stores are open 24 hours, why do they have locks on the doors? Less than a decade later, comic Steven Wright would answer his query: "sure they're open 24 hours - but not in a row." Gallagher's comedy involves wordplay, insightful satire, and the spectacular, splattery destruction of maleable foodstuffs across entire auditoriums. Like Doug Henning combined with Weird Al Yankovic and sprinkled with Cheech and Chong, Gallagher inspired a generation. During a segment of the Wachowski Brother's The Matrix - as Neo is running through an outdoor market - the directors insisted watermelons get a little smashed up as an homage to the comic.

Today, the fifty-seven year old Gallagher's presence cements California as the political loony bin of the entire nation. He'll appear on the upcoming recall ballot as "Leo" Gallagher (his name and astrological sign). He promises to reduce bumper-to-bumper freeway traffic by sending military-style helicopters to airlift wrecked cars. "How is our economy going to move if you can't move on the freeways?"

Other platforms include the restriction of cellular telephone usage: "it's annoying and the idiots are getting worse. Make it illegal to talk loudly on cell phones in public." He also likes the ideas of newspapers running obituaries for businesses - and suggests that if the state of California operates at a loss, then its citizens should write off their share of the loss on their federal income tax returns. Nnnnot bad, actually.

Not one to "skirt" issues [left], his campaign slogans run the gamut from "Finally, a governor you can get drunk with," [right] and "Together we can screw the state," to "A grass roots movement you can't stop from rolling."

Gallagher postponed his September 6th concert at the Topeka, Kansas Performing Arts center to focus on his campaign. He's now entitled under equal access law to television appearances with Jay Leno, Diane Sawyer, and Matt Lauer. When he attempted to make a surprise announcement on CNN's CrossFire, he was pre-empted by a massive, northeastern electrical blackout which struck down power in Ottawa and portions of the United States. Then he announced on WGN Television in Chicago that he's not only running for Governor of California, he's entering the 2004 Presidential Race as well. Following performances in Chicago and Davenport, Gallagher plans to campaign at the Iowa State Fair.

But on August 15th, 2003, journalists at Rotten Dot Com uncovered a scandal - and evidence which reasonably sensitive black voters might not take a liking to. On Gallagher's web site, there exists a tell-tale link to a small business called Wally Amos Watermelon Hats, trademarked, owned by, and used under license by Soma, a limited liability corporation. Wally Amos, the black proprietor, claims that watermelons are a metaphor for life, and each "Wallymellon" hat contains inspirational seeds of religious wisdom in a hidden compartment. The textured velvet fedora (or top hat), has a cool cotton lining and is fully adjustable to any size. Amos himself was a theatrical agent at the William Morris agency, where he worked with Simon and Garfunkel and The Supremes. Over the years, Amos has acted in network sitcoms and news programs.

Supporters might argue that Gallagher's fondness for politically incorrect haberdashery isn't really directed at black people, he's just "taking back the night" by poking fun at watermelons themselves. Supporters insist he's just smashing stereotypes. But by ridiculing melons (or any seeded fruit currently protected under California's multicultural umbrella), by publicly executing literally truckloads of vegetables likely handpicked by impoverished Mexican immigrants - what kind of message could Gallagher possibly be sending to the Latino community? Do Hispanic Americans in the front row really want this comic's threadbare political agenda splashed across their faces?

Gallagher responds: because the state is 50% Latino, as governor he would mandate the singing of a Spanish version of the Star Spangled Banner at 50% of all statewide sporting events. He'd also build an enormous dam across the Gulf of California to create a fertile valley in Mexico. When the seawater is sufficiently drained, crops will be grown and harvested by Mexican families who wouldn't have to immigrate to the states.

Other proposed initiatives include:

- Expanding the indecent exposure statute to place restrictions on teenage boys' ability to sport low-hanging pants (so the "pooper part" is less visible). However, Governor Gallagher would make it legal for kids to "cruise" and show off their lowriders, abolishing anti-cruising laws and establishing lawful zones where kids could cruise safely.

- Allowing motorcycles to use the diamond lane (but not go between cars) because frankly that scares him.

- To save taxpayer money, all remaining Charles Manson parole board hearings would be cancelled.

And there are key science and technology issues in his agenda as well: Because the U.S. won World War II and world leadership by way of sub-atomic particles in atomic weaponry, Gallagher proposes that sub-atomic particles be characters in video games, card games and cartoons, "so a future electorate will be more informed than the one who cancelled the supercollider."

Presently, much of California's fertile Central Valley frowns upon his reckless, feckless wastage of precious foodstuffs - alleging he's only using the state to revive his B-list career. Flagrant destruction of the state's number-one cash crops place him in a tense position with members of California's Green Party. And watermelons aren't the only products which fall victim to his trademarked Sledge-O-Matic: Gallagher concerts also consume and destroy cantaloupes, pineapples, bowls of oatmeal - even oversize bottles of pink dishwashing detergent.

"You gotta get a comic to clean this place out," he says - a statement equally true of Gallagher concert halls and California politics. Voters will tentatively emerge from behind their clear, plastic ponchos for statewide special election on Tuesday, October 7th, 2003. Polls will be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm.


Timeline

7 Oct 2003 Leo Gallagher receives 5,391 votes for governor of California, losing handily to Arnold Schwarzenegger (4,158,194 votes).


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