Since his breakout role in Home Improvement in the 1990s, comedian and actor Tim Allen has become a household name. Through his appearances in countless other works, such as The Santa Clause and Toy Story trilogies, he has maintained his status as one of comedy’s leading men.
While Allen rose to the top with these and many other roles, he got his start as a stand-up comedian in 1975, when he was just 22. But even with such a longstanding career, he says, his performances are the same as they always have been.
“I haven’t noticed in my shows a change because I have pursued an advancing format,” Allen explains. “My comedy evolves with me, and I’ve been doing this a long time.”
The longstanding humorist is sticking to these roots with a scheduled Saturday, June 3, slot at The Salt River Grand Ballroom at Talking Stick Resort.
Despite being famed for his family-friendly roles, when it comes to being politically correct, Allen is not one to hold back. So, it comes as no surprise that he has several qualms with the current wave of political correctness permeating the entertainment industry.
“It feels very, very dark where there’s themes that I touch on in my act that just have words that trigger people,” he says.
“People have a tendency to judge others on what they think they’re thinking rather than what they’re doing, which I think is important,” he continues. “We’re wordsmiths—poets with timing. That’s what I look at comedy as. We just move words around, and it’s all about making us laugh collectively…Words are not the villain here; it’s your intent.”
While Allen may add a dose of political relevance across his multiple comedic platforms, as a comedian, he views himself in a unique place to give his perspective.
“I exaggerate to clarify. I think that’s perfectly understandable in the entertainment and the comedy world,” he explains. “But when exaggeration to clarify is out into the news or the political system, it becomes very dangerous.”
In addition to his stand-up tour, he also stars on ABC’s popular sitcom Last Man Standing. In the show, Allen plays Mike Baxter, a father of three daughters who is quick to voice his conservative views on a variety of topics.
“To me, Mike Baxter is kind of an old guy—‘Get off my lawn!’—a little too early in life, but in a loving way. He’s a good guy,” he says. “The Tim Allen I project on stage is just that on steroids, but mostly my point of view is always, ‘what a strange place we live in, and I’ll show you why this is a strange place to me.’ And maybe you haven’t looked at life like that.”
But while Allen’s comedy may be far-reaching, he clarifies that it’s not all political in nature.
“I’m not a politically motivated comedian. I like to make fun of stuff and make fun of human behavior,” he says. He later adds, “Political satire is one thing. That’s not what I do.”
After premiering in 2011, Last Man Standing has seen strong ratings, maintaining its popularity through six seasons, the most recent of which concluded in March.
“I love doing this television program. I love all the other actors,” says Allen, continuing, “I always use an analogy of a pet. I’ve lost pets in my life and I loved the pets so much that when I lose them, I state over and over, ‘I’m never doing this again’ because losing them is not worth it. (After) the final episode of Home Improvement, I said, ‘I’ll never have to go through this again.’ Here I am doing this again and I love the new puppy, who is now a middle-aged dog, as much as the dog I missed before.”
Allen, who has been a comedian for 40 years, has a unique outlook on the world and that he says, gives him the gift of comedic perspective.
“I think there’s a seed of smart-ass or the way I looked at life, and it really came to me quite naturally,” he says. “My father, who passed away, was very funny; my grandfather was very funny; and I was funny at a very young age, so it’s a gift that I do not take lightly.”
“I’m very grateful to whoever made me that allowed me to be able to have this gift that I get as much enjoyment, if not a little bit more, because that’s why I do it. I love making people laugh. I adore it.”
Tim Allen, Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, 480.850.7777, talkingstickresort.com, 8 p.m. Saturday, June 3, $60-$200.