Tim Allen Does Macho Comedy in ABC’s Last Man Standing
Tim Allen is back, starring in the ABC show Last Man Standing. He says his new show is much the same as his long-running sitcom Home Improvement, which is good because it was a big hit.
In between doing Home Improvement then, and his new sitcom now, the comic-actor has kept busy. “I still do standup comedy, play clubs, concerts, and I perform for the troops and veterans.” He did several movies, most notably the Santa Clause and the Toy Story franchises. And he mentioned he’s very proud of the sci-fi parody he did with Sigourney Weaver, Galaxy Quest, a box-office hit as well as a critical success for him.
Now he’s back on the small screen, no longer Tim the Tool-Man, but he’s still a macho man on Last Man Standing. He plays Mike Baxter, the father of three young girls, and works for a sporting goods company.
“It’s pretty much the same as Home Improvement, but now it’s a wife and three girls, rather than the three boys. It’s not new, you’ve seen it before, but I think the fans will love it because it is familiar. And I get to do a blog to wrap up everything on the show — like the old Tool Man segment.”
He says the new sitcom takes a lot from his standup comedy routines. “When I play clubs, it’s mostly family and women routines. All my jokes are about women. I love them. I admire them. And I’m frightened. Sometimes I have no clue. In real life, I have two daughters and a strong wife, my mom, and my sisters. I love to be in that world consistently. What I’m doing now isn’t rocket science. So what I’m doing now on the show is setting it in a sporting goods store, with guns and ATVs and boats. And then I come home to four women.”
Allen says having a strong ensemble cast is a big help for his show, and he points out that the supporting cast on Home Improvement was tremendous. “And now I’ve got another strong cast in this one. Nancy Travis is my wife, and there are three gifted girls playing my daughters.” Kaitlyn Dever, Molly Ephraim, and Alexandra Krosney are the young actresses.
When he’s not at home, Allen’s character goes to the sporting goods company, where he is supported by the outstanding film actor Hector Elizondo as his boss, and young Christoph Sanders as his assistant. Both have strong roles for Allen to play against to maximize the comedy.
Allen had to assert his knack for knowing how a family comedy works. He reveals that at first ABC wanted a show with two girls and a boy as his kids. “I just really wanted to investigate what it would be like to be around four women that are intelligent, strong, fun, and loving, and a family. This cast was tremendous right off the bat.”
Last Man Standing is a real family show — no gimmicks, except the macho persona Tim likes to play. Dubbed “a manly man” by the critics, he ponders that statement, and then explains, “I think men need stuff to do. You have to have hobbies, and you should be able to fix stuff. ‘Men should stick to their own knitting,’ so to speak, as my mother used to say.”
The 58-year-old performer who grew up in the Detroit suburbs is unapologetic when he admits, “I like women that know how to cook. I don’t know how to cook well. I like the process of letting a woman take care of you. It’s either old school or misogynistic. The women in my life like cooking, and the men like futzing around the house, and are able to take care of the home and the things that need fixing.”
That’s how Tim Allen sees his real life macho world. And on TV he’d like to see a few more macho men, and comedy that doesn’t pander “to the lowest common denominator. In too many TV family comedies, the men are usually fools. It’s buffoonery. It seems that every guy on TV has a much better looking wife than he deserves.”