World-Famous comedian Gallagher became a household name by smashing watermelons during his highly rated HBO specials. But millions of comedy fans around the world were already in love with his razor-sharp observations, hilarious dead-on insights, and incredibly creative word play. One need only see that he has joined the exalted pantheon of the “one-name-only” celebrities (such as Oprah, Madonna, and “The Donald”) to know how beloved Gallagher’s comedy is.
With a following built upon countless sold-out concert halls, uproarious HBO specials, and bestselling CDs, videos, and DVDs, Gallagher’s immense talent and broad appeal make him a “first ballot” Hall of Fame comedian. Gallagher is not coasting nor is he slowing down, however! To the delight of audiences across America, Gallagher is still making us fall out of our chairs with laughter.
The Laugh Doctor, Cliff Kuhn, M.D., was fortunate enough to slow Gallagher down long enough to garner this great interview during his latest concert tour. We know you will love Gallagher’s delightful takes on humor, health, and life in general.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: We are talking to Gallagher, who has made us laugh for decades and is still doing it. In fact 15 minutes ago he was up on stage doing it, stretching the intellect of the audience and making them laugh. Thanks for taking a couple of minutes after your show to talk with us.
Gallagher: Well, it’s important isn’t it?
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: It is important. What we are going to do is understand a little bit about how you came to discover “funny” for you. My first question, Gallagher, is who taught you to be funny and how?
Gallagher: Absolutely nobody. I seemed to have a feeling of what you should do and how to do it from the very beginning. So that’s why I thought I ought to do it because I seemed to have a talent and I owed it to people to use that talent.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Well I’m glad you do.
Gallagher: Do you believe in reincarnation? I must have been a comedian in another life, and got the experience and can just come back and be it now.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Well then you have a good memory.
Gallagher: I must.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: What influenced you to make a career out of it? And I quess you just answered that because you owed it to people to give it to them.
Gallagher: You’re right; I could have been a chemist. I was interested in science and I wanted to be an engineer. I still can do that on my own time, so I study subatomic particles.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Yes, I heard that.
Gallagher: But now it’s led me to study The Field of Information because I have discovered that subatomic particles seem to know when they have been measured. There is some reason that they know this. So the information is going along some kind of a field and maybe I’ve been experimenting with that all along in my comedy…I don’t know.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: There is no such thing as objective observation.
Gallagher: I know it. You’re always sticking your nose in and that changes the result. It’s funny to have a very logical thing, like science, and you get to the subatomic level and all of a sudden it seems to get poetic. Seems to get, like, “I could be a particle or I could be a wave.”
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: I am sorry people can’t see your expression when you say that, Gallagher.
We are talking on our site about humor and healing, and I wonder what your views are on that? Everybody knows that humor is good for us, but have you had any particular experiences that have reinforced that for you?
Gallagher: Not particularly, no. I don’t think that I have any evidence that I actually healed anybody, but I did read a book recently about The Field - that’s why I am talking about it.
I got some information that if you do pray for people or even just think about them becoming better this seems to work. They have done some studies. You actually don’t have to be anywhere near the people it seems. Just tell them about it and it tends to work.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: I have a good friend, Larry Dossey; he lives out in Sante Fe. He might have been the author of that book. He has written a couple of books about that.
Gallagher: The Field?
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: No, this is called Distance Healing. Same concept.
Gallagher: I do a lot of flying and you can read a book on a nice long flight. I have read the history of salt and the history of the zero. The president was reading that one when he wasn’t doing anything down in New Orleans. I read about the constance of nature and how everything is just precisely tuned…so that we can be here.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Has laughter influenced your health in any way?
Gallagher: No, because I don’t laugh at my jokes. I show professional constraint. That’s ruined everything and I have two stints in my heart now, even though my tapes have been used in heart research at Loma Linda Hospital. The doctors came to my show and told me that because my comedy had been successful with cancer they moved on to heart.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Physician heal yourself, comedian heal yourself.
Gallagher: I went to Dr. Schatz who invented the stint down at the Green Hospital in La Jolla.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: They are doing some work now at the University of Maryland that shows that the perfusion of the heart muscle is increased with laughter. Which could make a difference if you are having a little bit of a circulatory problem.
Gallagher: I do need perfusion, I do. We looked at my heart and we discovered this area that was damaged. I thought I had indigestion. Because God put your heart right next to your stomach and you don’t know that you are dying. You think you just have to burp!
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Some people feel that America has lost its sense of humor that we take ourselves too seriously as a society. Do you have any reaction to that?
Gallagher: Yes. I think that there are some areas that people don’t want you to talk about and if you live in the land of Freedom of Speech there cannot be these constraints on talking out loud about anything. And that’s wrong for anyone to feel that we got to just “shut up” and not talk about “that”, because it needs to be talked about, everything.
To be totally free…people died for Freedom of Speech and so I think that the night club stage is the only place where it really is free. Because television worries about sponsors, sponsors worry about groups that call in, and these groups know how to be politically active and stop people from talking about them. Applying pressure, saying that they are not going to buy the products, saying they are going to picket the offices.
I have been picketed. I’ve had people put me on lists for saying what I wanted to say. And you would think that people who are upset, because they were excluded from society, wouldn’t use exclusion as a way of fighting back and excluding others.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: It sounds to me like a lot of your comedy is based on saying things out loud that most people only think to themselves.
Gallagher: Well, I am kind of forced to do that because comedy is a surprise and so it’s surprising to say these things. That’s why sometimes they appear mean because you’re not supposed to say them.
People have become pretty callous and are used to a lot of surprises. So it’s harder and harder to make them laugh, to burst them into a spontaneous laughter, to surprise them.
With all they see on TV and in advertising. It’s crazy! Advertisers are the ones that are complaining about the comedians and they are showing girls in bras and underwear on TV. But I probably couldn’t say something about it on the show. That’s crazy!
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: That is crazy, Gallagher. You are right.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: When you discover that are taking yourself too seriously, if that ever happens, and you need to laugh more, what works for you? What makes you laugh?
Gallagher: I think…having a heart attack.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Did you laugh?
Gallagher: It really gave me the scope to see that things aren’t that important. I think I was a lot more focused on anger and now important things were…little things…before my heart attack. Since then you go, “Oh I get another day? All right! Thank You!”
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Good perspective.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Gallagher, if you had to give up all the skills and resources you depend on for humor and keep only one, which skill would you retain?
Gallagher: Observation. The ability to observe something that the audience hadn’t noticed. I think, besides the laughter, they applaud and they are delighted by that.
I enjoy delighting an audience more than anything else - because I think that they carry it with them and maybe even share it. I think in a way the brain is smiling.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: I like that, the smiling brain. I think it plays with the thought it rolls it over and looks at it.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: OK, Gallagher, somebody tells you they’re in too much pain to laugh, they have just lost something and, “Please I can’t laugh now, there is too much distress in my life.” What steps would you recommend to them? Or would you just leave them alone?
Gallagher: You mean because I want them to forget about the thing?
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Yes, you want to give them laughter and to help them with laughter.
Gallagher: Well I don’t know if that’s really constructive because they really have to go through it and get done with it. A lot of times people come to me and tell me sad things before the shows since I make myself available in the lobby.
They will come up and say, “My husband loved you before he died. You know he’s not here anymore.” Now I am feeling sad because I empathize. A big part of being a comedian is having empathy of knowing what the audience feels, feeling them, having the sixth sense.
It bugs me. It bums me out before the comedy show and I wish you hadn’t come here until you’re on to the healing part and not the part where you’re dragging yourself through the misery. I don’t want to tell them not to do it because I think there are lots of times they say that you haven’t fully grieved. Don’t they say that? I think they do. They might say, “This comedian came by…and I never got to fully grieve!”
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: I’m a physician and I believe very much in the power of humor and in the healing power of laughter. Speaking as a purveyor of laughter, tell me what I can do that can help your work? Is there anything that you wish doctors, or people from that perspective, would do that would enhance the effectiveness of what you do?
Gallagher: You mean they visit you in your office and then when they came to my show they would be a better audience member?
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Well, Gallagher, I don’t know what I meant actually. What I guess I’m saying is: I have prescribed a comedy club for my patients.
Gallagher: This is what I think laughter does: it wakens the body up, as a total, and reminds it that it wants to live.
I think that’s what is missing sometimes. You get depressed by your illness and there is this sense…maybe it’s in that field again...that you are beaten by this and you’ve lost your optimism - and they call it the will to live or whatever.
But I think that laughter reminds the body that you’re having a great time, this is a good thing to be doing, and that we should heal ourselves. And the forces of the body that can help should focus on the problem area and I think that’s what’s released by laughter…I think.
I hope I’m making people glad, giving them a high point. Some people say that my show is the best time they ever had and it’s really difficult not to continue giving that prescription.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: That’s a good place to end,
. Thanks a lot! I appreciate everything you do.
Gallagher: I think those were good questions.
Dr. Cliff Kuhn: Thank you.
Gallagher: I get some really stupid questions. Today I talked to a radio station in Michigan and they said, “What’s the worst thing anyone has ever called you?” I said “I’m not going to tell the whole radio audience so they can yell it at me. Do you think I keep that in a list in my head? Why not ask me the 3rd worst thing. I don’t recall that nor do I want to tell everybody anyway.”
As a special bonus you can actually download the audio file of this
interview and laugh along with Dr. Kuhn and the Gallagher. FREE OF CHARGE!
Audio File Download Instructions
To download an audio file of the interview, you can:
- Click the link with your left mouse button and download the file right
into your computer's media player.
- And/or you can click the link with your right mouse button and choose to
save it on your "desktop." From your desktop you can choose to play it using
any media player you have on your computer's hard drive. (Just click on the
interview file with your right mouse button, once it's on your desktop, to see
If you need any help downloading the audio file (it is VERY simple, but can
seem intimidating at first), contact us by using this page and we'll be glad to
| Important Stuff That You Ought To Know |
All information on this site is copyrighted by Clifford Kuhn, M.D. and Laugh Doctor Enterprises. Nothing here may be used or reprinted without permission of Dr. Kuhn or Natural-Humor-Medicine.com.
Natural-Humor-Medicine.com is an organization dedicated to teaching people about the natural medicine of humor. All revenues generated by this site are reinvested in growing the reach of the organization and educating the public about this powerful medicine.