Tales of nails

Jack Gallagher’s one-man Just the Guy returns to B Street

It’s that wacky Jack Gallagher, who once played a cop in the coolest alcoholic clown movie of all time, Bobcat Goldthwait’s brilliant <i>Shakes the Clown</i>.

It’s that wacky Jack Gallagher, who once played a cop in the coolest alcoholic clown movie of all time, Bobcat Goldthwait’s brilliant Shakes the Clown.

Jack Gallagher is back at the B Street Theatre this week with his one-man show Just the Guy, which B Street director Buck Busfield commissioned to inaugurate the B2 stage last July.

Those who’ve seen the show will notice a few changes. “We’re going to tape it to make a video,” Gallagher said earlier this month. “We’ve had discussions about how to change the look and the lighting to make it more ‘camera appealing,’ which will affect how I perform it a little bit.”

Gallagher taped his previous one-man show about fatherhood, Letters to Declan, and did well with that project. “I’ve sold between 1,000 and 1,200 copies of Declan, and we’re still selling them,” he said. That’s the equivalent of 10 or 12 sold-out performances in the B2 space, which seats about 100.

Declan was a show that matured over a period of years, as Gallagher updated his monologue with new vignettes about sons Declan and Liam as they grew. “Declan’s 11 now, and Liam is 7,” Gallagher said. “I’ve been talking with a friend who would love to have me do Declan again, in Boston. But I would be doing the 1998 version of the show, when the kids were still 7 and 3.”

Just the Guy is also autobiographical, contrasting Gallagher’s work ethic as an Irish-American teen (anodizing nails by dipping them in hot metal) with his negative experience in Hollywood when Declan was optioned for development as a TV series.

Just the Guy is not going through the same kind of evolution that Declan did, because the nail experience and the Hollywood thing are done,” Gallagher said. But some of the jokes hit closer to home this time around. “There’s a line in Just the Guy about ‘the older you become, the older ‘old’ becomes,’” Gallagher said. “I’m turning 50 this year.”

Gallagher—who has appeared as a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show, under both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, and has had guest appearances on Cheers and other shows—isn’t entirely through with Hollywood. “I’ve got a small recurring role in Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO, playing the lead character’s doctor. The show is all improvised. There’s no script. It’s a ball.”

The Sacramento-based Gallagher also works with two partners in a small company named Basemental—“We work in a basement, and we’re mental”—which did a new jingle for the River Cats.

More and more, he sees himself as a writer. “I’m writing a lot of stand-up stuff, material for myself, and things that might become a short story, a book, or screenplay. I write every day,” Gallagher said.