Poking the pompous is what Tim Allen enjoys most. And in the America of 2018, that means mocking liberals, the “Last Man Standing” actor said in a new interview.
“Last Man Standing,” which had been dropped by ABC, was picked up for the 2018 season by Fox and has become a ratings success.
In an interview with IndieWire, Allen talked about the philosophy behind the humor, and the man behind the character of Mike Baxter, whom Allen plays on the show.
“I like to mess around because I’ve been a standup fiery comic for 30 years,” Allen said. “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.”
Allen said that Baxter’s character thrives on the failure of liberals to consider alternative opinions.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Allen emphasized that there is a difference between his opinions and those of his character.
“I’ve done interviews where I have to ask, ‘Are you asking my character this question?’” he said.
Allen said that he believes in equal opportunity when it comes to ridicule.
“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,” he said.
That was not always the case, he added.
“Two years ago, it was the conservatives, or whatever it is. But right now liberals, particularly progressives, hide behind large concepts,” Allen said. “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.’”
Baxter, he said, is “more of a pragmatist. He reminds me of my grandmother. He just hates big government.”
The gulf between the world of everyday people and dueling pundits is vast, Allen said, noting that part of the show’s success is connecting with reality.
“These guys write like we live. We’ll leave here, and I’ve got to go deal with my kid’s school. This crap on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox is meaningless. You watch it because it’s high drama, it’s like taking oxycodone. I think people are addicted to this angst,” he said.
He said the recent blow-up on the part of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta at a White House press conference was an example of the problem.
“The guy wouldn’t leave him alone,” Allen said of Acosta’s treatment of President Donald Trump. “Where did the sense of decorum go?”
In the end, he said, “Last Man Standing” is not a political statement, because those have ceased to be amusing.
“I can’t remember what comedian said it, but comedy’s about surprise. And there’s no surprise anymore,” Allen said.
“I know you hate the current administration. I know there’s hate, venom, we’re all going to hell, and the world’s all racist. I’ve heard this so much there’s no surprise, there’s no joke, there’s no drama. So there’s a lot of us, we’ve moved on. We’re writing a sitcom, we’re not trying to change the world. We’re just having an enjoyable time. Our job is to make you laugh.”