On a recent Friday night, in a 100-seat club in the hotbed of comedy known as New Brunswick, New Jersey, wild applause rose from the from the audience. The clapping mingled with the clank of bottles, the muted sizzle of the fryer from the kitchen in back, and something else — a rustling noise. It sounded like a chipmunk caught in a garbage can. But it wasn’t. It was the sound of adult men and women wearing ponchos and Hefty bags, sweating and grinning. In a comedy club called the Stress Factory, this could only mean one thing — that the man preparing to take the stage was Gallagher, the bald-headed smasher of fruit, the mustachioed owner of the Sledge-o-Matic.

Yes, in 2008, Gallagher is still touring. And tucked in the back corner of the club, against my better judgment, I was watching him.

I read a lot of comedy… More…