It’s been 17 years since Tim Allen last performed stand-up comedy in Las Vegas and a lot has changed for everyone’s favorite tool man. He’s put on the big red suit for The Santa Clause, gone on a Galaxy Quest as Jason Nesmith/Captain Peter Quincy Taggart and gone “to infinity and beyond” as Buzz Lightyear. Now, the man who’s gone from “Tool Time” to the big time is ready to step back onstage, performing for the first time at The Mirage this Friday. And while a lot may have changed in Allen’s professional life since he last performed at Caesars Palace back in 1993, one thing remains the same.
“I always feel like I’m going to throw up right before I go onstage,” Allen told dampfang.com.
Yes, the Emmy-nominated, Golden Globe award-winning actor still gets butterflies in his stomach before performing in front of an audience, despite all the success he’s had since being cast as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on ABC’s hit television series “Home Improvement.” However, while some things may never change, one thing’s for certain: Las Vegas’ culinary scene has definitely evolved since Allen performed here last.
“I have so many memories of hanging out at the Tropicana’s grill—the 24-hour diner—with Rodney [Dangerfield] and a bunch of other comics at 4 a.m.,” Allen recalled, thinking back to his days performing at the Tropicana when its comedy venue was still Dangerfield’s old room. “Now, I think Las Vegas’ restaurant scene is on par with the best of L.A. and New York.”
Although Allen hasn’t performed stand-up in Las Vegas in more than a decade, he’s no stranger to the town and its many tempting offerings. When asked where fans might catch the former “Home Improvement” star before his show, Allen replied that he’s a big shopper and loves checking out the watches and men’s clothes at The Shoppes at The Palazzo. As for where he might grab dinner, Allen replied, “I’m a big meat guy, so any meat place near The Mirage—I’ll be there.”
Given Allen’s love for steaks, The Palazzo (which is just across the street from The Mirage) and the fact he told dampfang.com that he loves Wolfgang Puck’s many Las Vegas restaurants, fans might see the comedian enjoying dinner at CUT inside The Palazzo before his show (porterhouse from CUT pictured left). A tip to any waiter who might end up waiting on Allen during his Vegas visit, though: don’t tell the star he can’t enjoy his meal the way he wants it. Although that may sound like a bit of a no-brainer, it happens more often than people would think.
“That’s my biggest dining out pet peeve: when someone tells me I can’t have a beautiful steak well-done—when they ask if they can butterfly it or tell me to try the ground beef instead,” Allen said. “If I wanted my steak red, I’d order the steak tartar. I was someplace recently and they wouldn’t put Parmesan cheese on my pasta. I was like, ‘How bad of me not to know I couldn’t have cheese on my pasta!’”
Although Allen admitted he’s gotten lazier with age, fans don’t have to worry about the comedian not giving fans what they want during his stand-up performance. Allen promises to be “on a roll” during his Vegas set, keeping audiences laughing throughout what he hopes will be a really “kick-ass” show.
“It won’t be start and stop,” Allen said. “It won’t be just the tool guy act, either, although I will recall bits of my old stand-up material. I’ll resurrect some of that because I’ve watched my old tapes and they’re funny; I’m not against stealing my own stuff. But the show isn’t for kids; I wouldn’t bring anyone under 18 to it. I’m not out to shock people, but my comedy was never really for kids. On ‘Home Improvement,’ yes, that was me (Allen even recalled an instance where he was on an airplane and the bathroom door got stuck and he used a plastic knife to fix it as four people watched him at work), but they took away all the expletives. I couldn’t talk about nuts and crap and politics…onstage, though, I’m just another guy who swears, talks about cars and maybe makes fun of Buzz Lightyear and ‘The Tool Man’ from time to time. I’m not a bad person, I just know some colorful language.”
When asked how his comedy compares to that of other famous family-friendly sitcom stars whose stand-up is a bit more R-rated (comedians like Bob Saget and Brad Garrett), Allen laughed and replied, “With all due respect, I’m not anywhere in Bob’s league.”
Allen acknowledged the fact that there’s a whole demographic out there who may not even be aware of the fact that he’s a stand-up comedian (Allen got his start in 1979 at a comedy club in Michigan on a dare from a friend) and admitted that that can be a bit “off-putting,” especially when performing someplace like Las Vegas where audiences are made up of people of all ages and from all over the country. Nevertheless, Allen said he’s both nervous and anxious for his big Las Vegas return, as if all goes well, he might consider making the Entertainment Capital of the World his new home for stand-up comedy.
“I’d love to develop a show that’s more in line with Vegas’ demands,” he said. “I’m a very creative person—I always thought if I wasn’t doing comedy, I’d be a designer of some sort: tools, cars, houses, landscaping…that’s all stuff I love to do. That or I’d be in jail if I didn’t keep busy. Idle hands are the devil’s hands, you know. But I’d love to put together a show for Las Vegas: design the set, the lighting…. I’ve always thought of Las Vegas as being a little more fun and grassroots than Broadway. I don’t like to travel much anymore, so Las Vegas would be a great home [to do comedy in]. We’ll just have to see how everything goes.”
In the meantime, Allen said there’s been “an increase in the level of interest” to have him return to television in the near future, although he couldn’t elaborate further on when fans might see him back on TV. If Allen ever does do another family-friendly sitcom, though, he knows he has a lot to live up to.
“‘Home Improvement’ was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he stated. “Besides my family, it’s one of those things that leaves the biggest smile on my face whenever I think of it. The reason it’s had such a long life, though, is because of how well-written it was. We never really talked about current affairs and we always used classic cars, so—besides the mullet hairstyle—you never really knew what era it was.”
Allen said not a day goes by when talk of a “Home Improvement” reunion doesn’t come up, although, surprisingly, Tim Taylor wasn’t Allen’s favorite character to play.
“I love Captain Taggart from Galaxy Quest,” Allen stated. “He was the best of Tim and Buzz Lightyear, but still a real guy.”
When asked if he plans on writing another book anytime soon, Allen said although he’s been jotting his thoughts down which is how his first two bestselling books Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man and I’m Not Really Here got started, he doesn’t have any plans to release a third book just yet. As far as movies go, Allen recently stepped behind the camera to direct his first feature film, Crazy on the Outside (now available on DVD), which he also starred in. Given all the success he’s had in comedy over the years, it’s only natural to wonder if Allen plans on branching out and trying something more dramatic in the future.
“I did a David Mamet movie (2008’s Redbelt), so it hasn’t always been all fun and games,” Allen said. “But I love having the ability to do what I do and make people laugh. I know that’s what I do best.”
Fans can decide that for themselves Aug. 13 when Tim Allen takes the stage at the Terry Fator Theatre inside The Mirage. Show begins at 10 p.m. and tickets are priced at just $59, $79 and $99 plus tax and service fees. To reserve your seat, call 702-791-7111 or simply click here.
For a limited time, guests can receive a 20% discount on tickets by using code MIRAGE. Click here for more details.
For more on Tim Allen, visit his official Web site.