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Category: Standup Comedy

Gallagher heart attack: Comic has been in medically induced coma

Gallagher in action with the Sledge-O-Matic

Comedian Gallagher, who is recovering from a heart attack, was expected to be out of a medically induced coma by Saturday, according to his promotional manager.

The 65-year-old prop comic Gallagher was put into the coma after suffering a heart attack Wednesday that required him to have two stents replaced.

All signs are good, Christine Sherrer told the Huffington Post on Thursday afternoon, explaining that her client would be slowly awakened over the course of 24 hours or so.

The heart attack came Wednesday while Gallagher was in the green room about 20 minutes before a 9 p.m. show, after doing a meet-and-greet with fans in Lewisville, Texas, outside of Dallas.

Gallagher collapsed last year on stage after suffering a minor heart attack while smashing stuff during a show in Minnesota. The comic, whose full name is Leo Anthony Gallagher, also ran for governor of California in the 2003 recall election, finishing 16th out of 135 candidates.

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— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Gallagher smashes strawberry syrup and flour at the end of a performance in Dubuque, Iowa, in November 2006. Jeremy Portje / Telegraph Herald



Comedian Gallagher suffers a heart attack before Texas show

Gallagher

The comedian Gallagher is hospitalized and "slowly recovering" after suffering a heart attack -- not his first -- just before he was to go onstage at a Texas club Wednesday night.

His promotional manager Christine Scherrer said the 65-year-old prop comic, known for smashing watermelons and whatnot on stage with the "Sledge-o-Matic," was sedated and stable in the Dallas area, telling CNN on Thursday, "We will not know the outcome until sometime tomorrow."

Before paramedics arrived, CPR was performed on Gallagher by an employee of the club, Coach Joe's Hat Tricks in Lewisville, manager Marc Cummins told the Associated Press. 

The comic collapsed last year while smashing stuff during a show in Minnesota; the incident was later determined to be caused by a heart attack, Us Weekly said.

The comic, whose full name is Leo Anthony Gallagher, also ran for governor of California in the 2003 recall election, finishing 16th out of 135 candidates.

ALSO:

'Last Comic Standing' judge Greg Giraldo dead at 44

Patrice O'Neal dead at 41; comic had suffered a stroke in October

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Gallagher in 2003. Credit: file.


Patrice O'Neal dead at 41; comic had suffered a stroke in October

Patrice O'Neal is deadComedian Patrice O'Neal died Tuesday morning from complications of a stroke he suffered on Oct. 19. "Many of us have lost a close and loved friend," his rep said in confirming the news. "All of us have lost a true comic genius."

The veteran New York-based stand-up comic was 41.

O'Neal was a familiar face on Comedy Central -- getting a lot of attention during his ribald turn (that means watch out for the cuss words if you click) on "The Roast of Charlie Sheen" in September -- as well as a frequent guest on the "Opie & Anthony" radio show.

The radio show broke the news in late October that O'Neal, a diabetic, had suffered a stroke the previous week.

"One of a kind. In heaven right now, charming half and infuriating half, then reversing," tweeted Colin Quinn, host of Comedy Central's defunct "Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn," which had regularly featured O'Neal.

Fellow comic and close friend Jim Norton posted a picture of himself and O'Neal online Tuesday, captioning it, "I couldn't possibly love a friend more than I love you. Goodbye brother."

"Yes it's true that our pal Patrice O'Neal has passed away," Opie and Anthony said via Twitter. "The funniest and best thinker i've ever known PERIOD. #devastated." The show posted a video link on its Facebook page, sending people to what they called O'Neal's "greatest laugh ever."

The 6-foot-5 O'Neal reportedly got his first taste of stand-up at Estelle's in Boston when he was heckling a comic who then invited him to come onstage and see if he could better. "The following week he went on stage at Estelle's and brought down the house," according to his Comedy Central bio.

His final performance was at the Charlie Sheen roast.

"Patrice had that rare 'light' around him and inside of him," the actor said Tuesday via Twitter. "I only knew him for the few days leading up the roast. Yet I will forever be inspired by his nobility, his grace and his epic talent. My tears today are for the tremendous loss to his true friends and loving family."

O'Neal is survived by his wife Vondecarlo, stepdaughter Aymilyon, sister Zinder and mother Georgia, his rep told TMZ.

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Sneak peek: The Charlie Sheen roast is done, ready to be served

Tracy Morgan apologizes again for anti-gay jokes, schedules gay-related events

-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Reuters contributed to this report.

Photo: Comedian Patrice O'Neal arrives at Comedy Central's Roast of Charlie Sheen held at Sony Studios in L.A. on Sept. 10. O'Neal died Tuesday at age 41. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images


Amy Poehler: Tina Fey and Seth Meyers are dead to me

Amy Poehler is upset with Tina Fey and Seth Meyers

Has funny lady Amy Poehler really written off her "Saturday Night Live" pals Tina Fey and Seth Meyers? 

Yes. But no. Yes, Poehler cracked a joke that both were off her Christmas card list. But, no, she wasn't serious.

It was all to get a few laughs while accepting her Variety Power of Comedy award Saturday. In its second year, the awards show went off in Los Angeles, where comedy fans got some top-tier talent in return for purchasing tickets that benefited the Noreen Fraser Foundation.

"To everyone who came in person, thank you," Poehler said of the tributes that had come her way. "To everyone who made a video, you're dead to me. We all know how easy it is to make a video." 

Both Fey and Meyers, in New York working on their own comedy projects, had sent along recorded testimonials on their experiences working with Poehler.

Fey reflected on their time together at Chicago's Second City improv theater and later "SNL," all the way up to their half-hour comedies "30 Rock" and "Parks and Recreation."

"We even have shows on the same night in what will be known as the last great days of NBC," Fey cracked.

Other highlights from Poehler's big night included a video message from 2010 winner Russell Brand, a tribute from her husband, Will Arnett, and a musical performance from Maya Rudolph, who dedicated R. Kelly's "In the Kitchen" to Amy. 

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— Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Amy Poehler arrives at the second annual Variety Power of Comedy awards, sparkling in Tiffany, at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday. Credit: Valerie Macon / Getty Images



Wanda Sykes reveals double mastectomy, cancer, dislike of walking

Wanda Sykes reveals breast cancer, double mastectomy
Wanda Sykes had a double mastectomy earlier this year, sparked by a breast cancer diagnosis that came after a breast reduction back in February.

Sykes' original equipment was "real big," the actress and comic told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview set to air Monday, "and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat -- oh Lord, I'd carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction."

Funny stuff, until her pathology reports came back revealing what she called a "stage zero" cancer in her left breast. With a history of cancer on her mother's side of the family and faced with a future of having to stay on top of the situation with exams every three months, she opted for the double mastectomy. 

"I had both breasts removed," Sykes said, "because now I have zero chance of having breast cancer."

Gossip Cop first reported the news Thursday. Sykes said she had DCIS, or ductal cancer in situ.

Months later, she was still uncertain about going public with her experience, she said. "I was like, I don't know, should I talk about it or what? How many things could I have? I'm black, then lesbian. I can't be the poster child for everything," she joked

Now the problem is too many cancer-charity walks. "I hate walking," she said.

Sykes, who came out in 2008, is a parent of twins with wife Alex, whom she married in California that same year. Olivia and Lucas were born in May 2009.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Wanda Sykes in 2009. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

 


Sneak peek: Charlie Sheen roast is done, ready to be served

Charlie Sheen roast preview

Like one of his own torpedoes of truth, Charlie Sheen is barreling down the promotional pike for his upcoming Comedy Central roast.

Taken to task by the likes of Kate Walsh, roastmaster general Jeff Ross and newcomers including Anthony Jeselnik, Sheen was a good sport at the taping Saturday at the Sony Pictures lot in Los Angeles.

"How much blow can Charlie Sheen do? Enough to kill two and a half men," cracked Jon Lovitz, his being among the mildest of countless references to Sheen's drug use, his predilection for escorts and his history of violence. 

In first-look video from the special, to air Sept. 19 on Comedy Central immediately after CBS' reboot of "Two and A Half Men" starring Ashton Kutcher, Ross takes a jab at Charlie's family.

"You make your own father ashamed that he shares the same fake name as you," he said.

What's not to roast? Our pals over at Show Tracker have a peek at Sheen's entrance.

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— Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Charlie Sheen takes the heat at his Comedy Central roast. Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images.


Kathy Griffin channels Jim Carrey in love video to Justin Bieber [Poll]

Kathy Griffin and Jim Carrey

Inspired by Jim Carrey's recent Emma Stone homage -- after being spurred on by a Twitter follower -- Kathy Griffin has issued her own love-letter video ... to Justin Bieber.

"What/whom do YOU wanna hear me GO OFF on?," Griffin said Thursday on Twitter by way of soliciting fodder for her Saturday stand-up show being taped for Bravo. "I just feel like making this my angriest one:)"

User @AlexAnthonyG answered, suggesting she "make fun of how Jim Carry wrote a creepy love letter to Emma Stone and putting it on the internet." And voilà, like that, it was done -- and clearly an improv rush job, with Griffin's note cards easy to spot reflected in the shiny background. 

Carrey's video, a planned comedic bit to launch his new video site JimCarreyTrulife.com, unnerved those who'd missed the "it's a joke" part of the joke. Griffin's, however, was clearly intended as comedy. As was her "Levi Johnston is my boyfriend" phase. We hope.

So given that both videos are on the record as "comedic," we have to know: Which is funnier, and which one makes you more uncomfortable?  See Griffin's, below, and watch Carrey's here (we'd send you straight to his site, but it keeps crashing). We have our own opinion, but ... the polls are below. Go nuts.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photos: Jim Carrey and Kathy Griffin. Credits: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press, left; Matthew Peyton / Getty Images, right.


Artie Lange: Return to Howard Stern's show would be 'the greatest,' but it's an 'awkward situation'

Artie Lange

This post has been corrected. Please see the note below for details.

Artie Lange says returning to "The Howard Stern Show" would be "the greatest thing ever," but he also acknowledges the difficulty of the situation.

"Listen, I was on the greatest show of all time for about nine years, and I put them in a very awkward situation, to say the least," he told a caller this week during an appearance on Fox Sports Radio with fill-in host Nick Di Paolo, who like Lange is a stand-up comic. "So what am I gonna do?"

Lange hasn't been on the Stern show since December 2009, before a January 2010 suicide attempt in which he stabbed himself repeatedly with a knife. His mother found him bloody in his Hoboken, N.J., apartment and called 911 in time to save his life.

Stern told Rolling Stone earlier this year that Lange had offered to come on the show to explain what happened, but the talk-show star seemed reluctant to accept the offer.

"I don't even feel strong enough within myself or that I'd be doing the right thing by him, because I don't want to do the wrong thing for Artie," Stern said, adding, "I just want Artie to stay alive."

Lange returned to the stand-up stage last September with a performance in New York.

"I love them all, and they were great to me," Lange said Wednesday about the Stern team. "I appreciate that."

For the record, 9 a.m. July 15: This post originally misspelled comic Nick Di Paolo's last name as DiPaulo. Thanks to commenter Dan Heckel for flagging the error. A link to Di Paolo's website, which has audio of the full three-hour interview, also has been added.

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Photo: Archive image of Artie Lange.



Tracy Morgan apologizes again for anti-gay jokes, schedules gay-related events

Tracy Morgan Tracy Morgan is still apologizing for a recent series of anti-gay jokes, telling Russell Simmons on Monday that his words were "indefensible" and adding that if he had a gay son, he might "try to love him even more" -- then chiming in with support for same-sex marriage efforts in New York.

He is also planning to meet later this week with a group of gay youths who have been ostracized by their families, according to E! Online, in addition to sitting down with people who've lost friends or family to anti-gay violence.

"When all of this set in, I realized how hurtful my words were," the "30 Rock" star told hip-hop guru Simmons for Global Grind. "Not asking anyone to feel sorry for me or pity me, but I definitely don't want or need people to defend me.

Morgan got an early career break on "Russell Simmons Presents Def Comedy Jam," and in their conversation Simmons told the comic he was "quite disappointed" when he read about Morgan's Nashville material.

"In my heart, I know that the words I used are indefensible," Morgan said. "I appreciate the love from my friends and fans, but I was wrong. Period."

He told Marc Malkin of E! exclusively that after growing up with a disabled brother and a father who died of AIDS, he knew what it was like to be bullied. "My dad wasn't gay, but I also learned about homophobia then because of how people treated people who were sick with that," Morgan said. "Parents should support and love their kids no matter what."

Also on Morgan's itinerary: A trip back to Tennessee next week, where he'll participate with GLAAD in a news conference protesting the state's recently passed "Don't Say Gay" bill outlawing the discussion of homosexuality in public schools before grade nine.

Morgan issued an apology Friday for jokes calling homosexuality a choice, minimizing anti-gay bullying and saying he'd stab his son to death if the boy were gay. Controversy brewed after a detailed Facebook post from a gay fan who'd attended the June 3 show gained attention over the course of several days.

NBC and Tina Fey accepted the apology Friday while reiterating that the jokes had been unacceptable. Some gay-rights groups, however, said it would take more than an apology to end the controversy, with one suggesting Morgan meet with families and friends who'd lost loved ones to anti-gay violence.

"I guess the reason I am successful is because I am so unfiltered," Morgan told Simmons. "And sometimes as a result I say really stupid [things]. The truth is if I had a gay son, I would love him just as much as if he was straight ... I might have to try to love even more because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society."

Enough? Or is the jury still out?

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Tracy Morgan apologizes for anti-gay rant at Nashville show

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— Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Tracy Morgan in 2010. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

 


Tracy Morgan: Is his apology for anti-gay jokes enough? [Poll]

Tracy Morgan apologizes for anti-gay jokes

This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

Tracy Morgan apologized Friday morning for anti-gay jokes delivered at a concert in Nashville, and while several prominent gay civil-rights groups appreciated the words, they said a simple apology wasn't enough. 

"I'm not a hateful person and don't condone any kind of violence against others," Morgan said in a statement. "While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context."

The Human Resources Campaign and GLAAD later Friday urged the "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live" actor to go beyond a simple apology in the wake of material that reportedly included urging homosexuals to stop "whining" about anti-gay bullying and beat up the bullies instead and a declaration that he'd stab his son to death if he were gay.

Photo gallery: Celebrity apologies

"Jokes that make light of violence directed at gay and lesbian youth aren't only offensive, they put our kids in harm's way," GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in a statement. "Tracy Morgan must not only apologize, but assure us that this won't happen again and send a clear message to Americans that anti-gay violence is no joke."

GLAAD said it offered through Morgan's publicist to arrange a meeting between the actor and families who have lost children to anti-gay violence "in order to help him understand exactly why his rant touched so deep a nerve."

PFLAG — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays — also weighed in, with PFLAG National executive director Jody Huckaby saying, "As a celebrity, Mr. Morgan needs to understand that his words have power; inciting violence against gay and lesbian kids in the name of comedy — stating that he would stab his own son to death if he was gay — is absolutely unconscionable. A simple apology is not enough."

Meanwhile, his "30 Rock" executive producer Tina Fey expressed shock but also praised Morgan's apology in a statement that humorously pointed out the many things that would not be available to him if gay people did not work on their show.

Fey, winner of a 2011 GLAAD Media Award, said she understands how comics often work through material on stage in very raw form, but was pleased to see the apology.

"The violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community," she said in a statement. "It also doesn't line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.

"I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at '30 Rock,' without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket."

Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said that while the apology was appreciated and the network recognizes an artist's freedom of expression, reckless statements aren't cool, no matter the context. "Unfortunately," he said in a statement, "Tracy's comments reflect negatively on both "30 Rock" and NBC -- two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations -- and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated."

Before Morgan had apologized, Punchline Magazine founder Dylan P. Gadino noted (Warning: lots of profanity at that link) that this wasn't the entertainer's first anti-gay outing and wrote that from a freedom-of-standup-speech perspective, he could do without an apology. Instead he preferred that Morgan — whose act he called "generally ... not at all funny" — take the opportunity to "just get off the stand-up stage for a while and stop leaning on his television credits. Most importantly, maybe he'll just shut ... up."

Was Tracy Morgan's apology enough to earn him forgiveness? If not, what would work? Post your opinion in comments.

[Updated, 6:03 p.m. June 10: Statements from Tina Fey and NBC's Bob Greenblatt, received shortly after this post went live, have been added.]

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— Christie D'Zurilla and Matt Donnelly

Photo: Tracy Morgan in character as Tracy Jordan of "30 Rock." Credit: Art Streiber / NBC


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