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Tim Allen Talks Conservatives in Comedy, Going After Liberals on Last Man Standing
After getting canceled by ABC in 2017, Last Man Standing has returned for a seventh season on Fox, where it’s seeing impressive ratings with whatever demographic stays home on a Friday night to watch a Tim Allen sitcom.
Now, if you ask Allen himself about the success of the Fox show, he’ll tell you that his perspective as a white, wealthy, conservative man is a bold and unique brand of comedy. As he told IndieWire in a recent interview:
I’ve always said that, certainly, relationships are politics. The political discourse between a male and female energy is politics. And children, that’s all political stuff. I like to mess around because I’ve been a standup fiery comic for 30 years. And I like pissing people off, and I said there’s nothing, especially in this area, that pisses people off more than a very funny conservative. A smart, funny conservative that takes shots and is certainly self-effacing. The left-wing point of view is so pervasive that they don’t even realize it’s a point of view. It is just a point of view. I think this character likes that, he likes to have another point of view. It makes him sharper and more interesting. But we don’t push it. I don’t think we’ve mentioned pro or con Trump once now.
Yes, there’s nothing sharper or more interesting than a character who gets laughs because he can’t figure out how to light his grill. Truly groundbreaking stuff.
Next, Allen attempts to separate himself and his own politics from his character Mike Baxter’s politics on the show:
My constant comment is, Bryan Cranston isn’t actually a meth dealer. Keanu Reeves didn’t kill 109 people. These are actors. I don’t know where it got confusing. I’ve done interviews where I have to ask, “Are you asking my character this question?” I did an interview and I said, “Are you asking Mike Baxter this question, because you heard something about the Clintons that the writers had written?” Now, I’ll put something behind it, because I think it’s funny to make fun of people that are full of themselves. Liberals have a very small window of sense of humor about themselves, so I love poking at it. Two years ago, it was the conservatives, or whatever it is. But right now liberals, particularly progressives, hide behind large concepts. If you don’t agree with them, if you don’t agree with that position, then you hate women, and you hate gay people, and you hate pro-choice people, whatever. And I said that doesn’t fit. But I like pushing that and sometimes these guys let Mike Baxter say it, and he’s more of a pragmatist.
Except this show famously reflects Tim Allen’s personal politics. Mike Baxter and Tim Allen are one and the same, which should be pretty obvious based on the fact that Allen says in this interview that he uses ideas from his own stand-up (“The People’s Republic of California”) in his bad sitcom.
Funnier than the show itself, after positioning his perspective as a daring point of view desperately missing in American discourse today, Allen regurgitates one of Donald Trump’s most infamous quotes about white nationalists in Charleston, when describing a recent interaction between the president and CNN political reporter Jim Acosta.
I think because this president, however you believe, is very inarticulate. He may be getting things done very well, and I saw that interchange between him and that reporter. It was so unpleasant to watch on both sides, that the guy wouldn’t leave him alone, where did the sense of decorum go?
So, Tim Allen’s distinct comedic voice is just lifting phrases from the president?
There’s nothing bold about Allen’s show. We live in a country where entire cable news stations—one owned by Last Man Standing’s own network—help disseminate propaganda on behalf of the president. We live in a country where Allen’s point of view is shared by enough of the electorate to put Donald Trump in the White House. And there’s nothing new about a sitcom starring a straight white man who has to choose between watching a football game and going to his daughter’s baby shower. It’s just that the joke is more tired than ever.