The pandemic has changed quite a bit about the world, that much is the understatement of all understatements of course. And when we’ve talked about the macro effects over the last couple of years, we tend to work big to small, as we should. But there are more subtle things that have changed as well, things that might have gone unnoticed if you didn’t work or operate in a particular line of work. One of those is standup comedy, and Tim Allen was able to share some of the differences in what it now means to perform on stage in front of crowds.
While doing an interview with WPTV (via CinemaBlend), Tim Allen opened up about his thoughts around the Covid-19 pandemic over the last couple of years, what it’s meant for him as a performer but also what it’s meant for him just operating in the world. On the performance side, there have been major differences, ones he was quick to point out and notice when he finally went back on stage for some shows.
Namely, Tim Allen thought he was doing terribly due to the muffled laughter because of mask mandates which made it difficult for him to read the crowd. Those who know anything about stand-up comedy will understand that comedians, especially ones who’ve been doing it for decades will feed off/ pivot from a crowd based on reactions. But Tim Allen said he wasn’t able to tell just how he was doing. Check out what he had to say referencing a show he had done in Las Vegas:
“(It’s a) big difference for a comedian to hear that muffled laugh. It wasn’t as satisfying because it seemed like people didn’t like it.”
And in terms of his comedic material, Tim Allen has said that he’s needed to make changes on that front as well. He’s admitted that he’s wanted to talk about pandemic-related things more, leaning into that side of things for his material, but recognizes that it shouldn’t always be the case. And he seems to understand that different people are going to interact with that certain material in different ways. It sounds like he’s frustrated by it, but also isn’t quick to want to poke a proverbial hornets’ nest either. On that front, Tim Allen aired out some of how he’s dealt with his specific material and crowds as well.
“It’s a tightrope. 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…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…”
These all sound like honest and mostly thoughtful assessments from Tim Allen about the state of the world now and what it means to navigate a new landscape when you are trying to be funny. As someone who’s mostly let it fly for his career, developing something of an on-stage persona that he helped wrap into multiple successful sitcoms, the guy has clearly chosen a comedic line that’s worked. But there are elements to his brand of funny that might rub people a little different now in a totally new world. It sounds like he’s at least open to this kind of idea.
As for Tim Allen’s on-screen career, well that’s also been a success basically ever since it started. He just wrapped up a nine-season run of Last Man Standing on Fox after the series was picked up from ABC. And he’s also slated to return to one of his more popular movie franchises as well. It was reported a few months ago that he’d be starring in a The Santa Clause series for Disney+.