Tim Allen Talks Current State of Comedy
By Movieguide® Contributor
Tim Allen offered his views on the current state of comedy, how things have changed, and the future of making people laugh in a December 14, 2022 interview with Fox News Digital.
“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.
The movie star and stand up comedian went on to define comedy and some of the challenges of the art form in today’s postmodern woke world of political correctness in all things:
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.”
It is true that the comedic often consists in recognizing the oddities, follies, and distinctive personal and cultural elements of a person or group, pointing them out in an exaggerated way, and either satirizing or extolling these. If a person is not mature enough to recognize these things, see the hilarity of their accurate exaggeration, and the usefulness of, as Allen puts it, one who will “lie to tell the truth”, then much personal and cultural growth and understanding is made impossible.
If one is not strong and wise enough to laugh at himself, then he will miss many of life’s lessons by not being able to join in with its laughter. As G. K. Chesterton wrote: “I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne” (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Collected Works: Volume I, p. 214).
Comedy depends on a sense of the ridiculous in everyone: like the fact that Buzz Lightyear doesn’t realize, as hard as Woody tries to make it clear to him, that he is “a toy, an action figure, a child’s plaything” (Toy Story, from a conversation between Buzz and Woody).
Tim Allen knows this and expresses this better than most.