Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Laughing Stock: If Richard Pryor Could See Him Now

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 11:25 PM

click to enlarge Tim Allen performs at TCC Music Hall on May 19.
  • Tim Allen performs at TCC Music Hall on May 19.
Things we know about Tim Allen: He’s a guy’s guy and a devoted family man; Disney Studios loves him; he’s a perennial candidate for People’s Choice Awards, and he’s insane enough to love touring his standup show the best.

If we had written two best-selling books, were set to voice Buzz Light Year for the fourth time in the Toy Story franchise (Toy Story 4, 2019); had been anointed by Disney to play Santa Claus for four eponymous films (1991 People’s Choice Award); had an eight-year, prime time run of Home Improvement, winning a Golden Globe and, every year of the run, the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a Television Series; and had just wrapped the sixth season of Last Man Standing for ABC, wouldn’t we hang it up and just go parasailing? Maybe buy a football team? Run for office?

Not Allen. He continues to hit the road for stand-up dates nearly every weekend. Why? Because he can. “Oh boy, I get excited about standup comedy!” he says. “Always have. To be one of the guys who has been able to do this is really honor.

“I've been tenacious about it, too. I want to make that crowd laugh with me, all of us together. Pryor did it to me. When I saw Pryor, it changed my life I laughed so hard and so deeply.”

Allen wouldn’t pretend to the experience that drove Pryor’s comedy content, but Pryor became the model for the effect that Allen strives for in an audience. “If I could get the crowd rolling like Richard Pryor did,” his voice trails off. “I don't stop, I'm going to give you an hour or more of the best comedy that will relate all of us together.”

A philosophy major in college, Allen eschews politics, but retains his wonder about human nature. “I’m interested in what’s underneath politics and sexism and masculinism – the foibles we have as humans, the best and worst that we are. I love making fun of that stuff.

“My (comedy) is mostly observational stuff about men and women, living our lives, and games and food,” he says. “I don't argue as much as I get older. I'm just looking for clarity. ‘Why is it like this?’”

Allen performs at Tucson Convention Center at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 19. Reserved seat tickets are $49 to $89 and available online.

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