HomeEntertainmentTim Allen Wants to ‘Poke At’ Sensitive Culture With Comedy

Tim Allen Wants to ‘Poke At’ Sensitive Culture With Comedy

by TK Sanders
(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Actor and comedian Tim Allen wants everyone to know that he cares about their feelings, but he also thinks comedy is meant to push people outside of their comfort zones. During his promotional junket leading up to his sets at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, Allen elaborated on his views of comedy during the COVID era.

“It’s a tightrope,” Allen said. “I have a family member that passed away. I have neighbors that have passed away. Then I’ve had hundreds of thousands of people, a lot of which I don’t know, that had [COVID-19] and didn’t know they had it. This [has] been a very difficult navigation for a comedian.”

The actor said he had to adjust the beginning of his standup routine to cater to adults who may feel especially triggered by COVID jokes.

“Lately, because of the sensitivity, which bothers me, I’m more likely to want to poke that. … But out of respect, I will tell people as an adult, there’s some things I’m going to say that don’t mean the same thing to me as they might mean to you,” he said. “So I go through a litany of stuff up front.”

Tim Allen said comedy wasn’t the same with masks on

Allen, who performed in Las Vegas recently, as well, joked that it’s hard to know if he’s bombing or not when the muffled audience is laughing behind masks. “[It’s a] big difference for a comedian to hear that muffled laugh,” he said. “It wasn’t [as] satisfying.”

The Toy Story actor even said he wasn’t sure if the crowd liked his set until the end, when they gave him a standing ovation. He also said he thinks audiences really just want to move on from the pandemic entirely.

“Without saying it, I feel people [are] ready to move on [from COVID-19],” he said. “Even though [the pandemic] may or may not be over, we’re over. We got it, we got it. We got to live our lives and move on and [that’s with] all due respect for the people in pain and the people that have suffered with this, that’s with all due respect for that. That said, you’re going to have to move on.”

According to Allen, the fact that hotels can even host comedy shows and that fans will attend them is a major step in the right direction. “But if we get to this room, the reason that we’re laughing is [because] we’ve let stuff go,” Allen said.

Many other comics face similar decisions when crafting their sets. Jim Gaffigan revealed to Joe Rogan in his podcast a while back that he wasn’t sure about doing pandemic jokes; but that they ultimately made their way into his Netflix special, Comedy Monster, which came out in late 2021. It’s a tightrope that every entertainer must face in his or her own way, it seems.