Tim Allen is getting candid about how comedy has changed since he began his career in the ’70s.
The “Santa Clause” star recently spoke with Fox News Digital about the initial reason he wanted to start in the comedy industry – and how he approaches his shows today.
“I got into this business because of my college attraction to Lenny Bruce and eventually late college I saw Richard Pryor in concert and George Carlin,” Allen said. “You never thought of what they were doing as infuriating people to make them laugh.”
The actor explained that comedians such as Pryor, Carlin and Bruce would most likely not be able to tell their jokes in 2022.
“Nowadays, you know, I don’t think they would be allowed to say that. So, that’s the saddest thing in the world to me. That everything is OK as long as I’m not being offended,” he said.
Allen noted that instead of people “just not listening or walking away” they tend to take to social media and “tear somebody up” because they are “tolerant.”
“Sometimes I find it so funny,” Allen said of the “tolerance” seen in comedy today. “I’m a very tolerant person except for people that disagree with me.”
The “Toy Story” star shared that comedy is about the idea of “to exaggerate to clarify.”
“That’s what I do – is I lie to tell the truth,” he explained of his jokes. “That’s what comedy is about. You’re overextending yourself so that people go, ‘S–t, that is weird.’”
He also noted that the backlash that some comedians have recently faced could just be a “phase.”
“I believe it’s a phase because my touring has been the same. I don’t get anybody, hopefully, getting mad enough to hurt me or yell out screaming in my big concerts,” he said. Allen noted that he is still on the road, touring, doing stand-up comedy shows, and it has never been his intent to “hurt” any of his fans.
“Comedy isn’t about hurting people, it’s herding – get everybody together to laugh at this thing,” he said, adding, “If you get hurt by it, that’s unfortunate. That’s never my intent.”
Allen says that he is also upfront with his audiences and shares his “intentions” with them before he performs.
“We’re all in the same boat here, folks. I’m not trying to sink the boat or rock the boat. Actually, I do like rocking the boat. I don’t want to sink the boat,” he said.
Allen began his standup comedy career in the 1970s. He has starred in several comedy specials, including “Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen” in 1988 and “Tim Allen: Men are Pigs” in 1990.
He made his debut in “The Santa Clause” franchise as Scott Calvin in 1994 and is set to appear in the Disney+ television series “The Santa Clauses” while starring alongside his daughter, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, 13.
As far as portraying Kris Kringle, Allen says not much has changed when it comes to playing the jolly character 28 years later.
“You know, you get around that suit, and I haven’t changed. It’s become that stupid thing, and it ain’t me,” he said. “I’m nowhere near as nice as that guy. It’s just amazing how I become that guy, walk on set and people react to it, and I honor it. I don’t make any jokes anymore as I watch my performance, and I literally think I’m better as Santa Claus than I am as anything else because I think for any actor to tease or put on a costume, it’s easy to become that thing.”