Tim Allen On ‘Last Man Standing’ Resurrection And Why He Enjoys ‘Pissing People Off’

Not only is Tim Allen one of the few vocal conservatives in Hollywood, he’s also one of the rare TV stars who can lay claim to starring in a show that was resurrected from the dead after being cancelled, only to emerge even more successful than it was before.

Speaking with IndieWire, the star of “Last Man Standing” — axed by ABC in 2017 and then resurrected this season on Fox — admits he was shocked to receive a call “out of nowhere” from Fox TV Group chair Dana Walden about potentially bringing the show back.

“I said, ‘I would be very interested. But there’s so many bowling pins that have fallen down, I don’t know whether we can pick this up. These are three things I need from you. There’s this, this, and this.’ She said, ‘Give me 48 hours.’ I mean to the minute, I get this text, and she’s like, ‘I’m in,'” says Allen.

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As the 65-year-old comedian explains, all his stipulations were met pretty much immediately. “I wanted to make sure we got everybody back. I didn’t want to have it where two kids were killed in a plane crash,” he says. “[Walden] said, ‘That is a challenge, but I think I can make that happen.’ I wanted the same crew, as much as we can knowing that it’s been 18 months. Some people have moved on. Slowly but surely, these weird things came in. I happen to know the facilities manager here [at CBS Studio Center]. He goes, ‘You know that the set’s open?’ It was a weird 24 hours. I get a hold of Fox and told them they’d have to move now and commit and they said, ‘Done.'”

Allen is also happy the show came back on a broadcast network and not a streaming service. “This isn’t streaming. Streaming to me is processed food,” he says. “You don’t know when that was made, you don’t know, there’s no expiration date on it. This stuff was made recently. You get ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and to all of us on broadcast, we’re doing this right now. This is fresh television.”

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“Last Man Standing” has been both lauded and derided for Allen’s character, Mike Baxter, being proudly conservative, and he says he’s actually happy when people become irked by his character’s political views.

“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,” he declares. “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.”‘

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And while Allen is a conservative who shares many of Mike’s political views, he points out that he and his character are not one and the same.

“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,” he says. “I’ve done interviews where I have to ask, ‘Are you asking my character this question?’… I think it’s funny to make fun of people that are full of themselves. Liberals have a very small window of sense of humour about themselves, so I love poking at it.”

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