Across the street from a main checkpoint outside the Republican National Convention yesterday, I stood listening to an anonymous member of the Oath Keepers, a conspiracy-minded organization of former and current military and law-enforcement officers who have vowed to disobey any unconstitutional orders given to them. The man called out to the “brothers” in sheriff’s uniforms, asking why they shouldn’t be standing with him. He walked away after a brief harangue, and as he did so, I saw a hunched figure turn and cross the street.
There was something familiar about him. A mane of dirty blond hair hung off his half-bald head, and it was the hair that finally made me realize — the crazy-looking guy in a sport coat was Gallagher, the legendary mallet-wielding comedian who has popularly been regarded of late as, well, crazy. Truth be told, the guy is a little nuts. But is he completely, authentically crazy? Well, consider his story: His younger brother bills himself as Gallagher Too and essentially does Gallagher’s act, diminishing the money Gallagher can make touring. The economy crashes and Gallagher loses what money he does have, trouble with filling seats means he runs short of cash, then he loses his home, and now he hotel hops because it’s the only option he’s got left. Back in the 1980s, he performed not one, not two, not three but fourteen comedy specials on Showtime. And now he’s couch surfing.
You’d be crazy too.
With politics in the air, and with what some have called – somewhat appropriately, based on some of his recent rants – his crazed, right-wing views, Gallagher has embarked on an effort to get more people to vote. His target, he said, is his home state of Ohio. “I’m just here to point out the power that voters have,” he said. “These politicians are all in it for themselves. … Why don’t they grow up and do something for the state and the voters?”
He said that with term limits in Congress and eliminating earmarks, among other ideas, the American political system can be turned back toward actually helping people instead of holding them back. Gallagher’s hope is that informed voters getting involved, at the very least through his “voter-cycle gang,” The Undecideds, could help turn the tide.
I bet his hair looks positively badass flying out of a motorcycle helmet at 70 miles-per-hour. I’m not so sure I want to ride with him though. I mean, look at the guy — he barely stands up straight.