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PROP STAR : Gallagher Aims His Steamroller at the Coach House

September 20, 1990|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a staff writer for The Times Orange County Edition.

Gallagher is the undisputed king of prop comedy, which--depending on how you look at it--is either a compliment or the ultimate put-down.

Many comedy purists say props are the lazy comic's way to a cheap laugh. Gallagher doesn't do interviews, so the only thing speaking in his defense is success: One of the top-drawing comics around, Gallagher stars in his own TV specials and commonly sells out big halls in multinight runs.

The long-haired comic's loud and loyal Orange County following has a chance to see him in a smaller-than-usual setting as he comes to San Juan Capistrano to play the Coach House, where he opens a five-night run Monday, Sept. 24.

Props aren't the only thing on the bill in his long shows (he topped 2 1/2 hours in a series of 1988 performances at Anaheim's Celebrity Theatre). He'll delve into topical issues, try his hand at whimsical wordplay and banter with the crowd. But it's the props that steal the show.

They range from raucous vaudeville stunts to devilishly inventive visual puns.

His Rolodex watch, complete with little file cards, is a favorite with audiences.

A traditional show-closer is the Sledge-O-Matic--a big mallet with which he smashes melons and other messy inanimate objects (watch out if you sit in the first few rows).

One of his newer additions speaks to the lengths to which he'll go to get a laugh. It's a real live steamroller, which Gallagher uses to run over audience volunteers. One slight modification: the roller is made of foam rubber.

Who

Gallagher.

When

Monday, Sept. 24, through Saturday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m.

Where

The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.

Whereabouts

Interstate 5 to the San Juan Creek Road exit. Left onto Camino Capistrano. Coach House is in the Esplanade Center.

Wherewithal

$29.50.

Where to call

(714) 496-8930.

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