Tim Allen has opened up about infamous cocaine arrest three decades ago that landed time in a federal prison, as well as the kick he got out of former President Donald Trump riling up his critics during his White House tenure.
The conservative comedian, 67, appeared on an episode of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast on Monday where he spoke about his past struggles with substance abuse and what it means to be a conservative in Hollywood today.
Allen was arrested in 1978 for selling 1.4lbs of cocaine to an undercover officer at Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport, in Michigan.
He was originally facing life in prison, but only wound up serving 28 months (1979-1981) in a federal lock up for drug trafficking after he agreed to cooperate with investigators and snitch on 20 others – including four major dealers.
‘I was an eff up,’ the Home Improvements star told Maron on reflection, adding that he started drinking as a child – a habit exacerbated by the death of his father who was killed in a car crash.
‘After my old man died, I really just played games with people and told adults what they wanted to hear and then stole their booze.’
Allen, who attended Trump’s inauguration in 2017, also talked politics with Maron, telling the host he enjoyed how the former president ‘p***ed people off’.
‘I was an eff up’: Back in 1978, Golden Globe winner Tim Allen faced life in prison after selling 1.4lbs of cocaine to an undercover officer at Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan (pictured January 28)
Criminal past: The 67-year-old comedian wound up only serving 28 months (1979-1981) in federal prison for drug trafficking because he snitched on 20 others, including four major dealers
Allen – who is now 23 years sober – said he first began drinking at the age of 10, inspired by Western movies that showed cowboys riding horses and drinking whiskey.
‘That stuff’s gotta be pretty damn refreshing,’ he recalled thinking.
By the time his father was killed by a drunk driver in 1964, Allen, then 11, said he was already an experienced drinker, describing himself as ‘lost’.
‘Really I was Eddie Haskell [from Leave it to Beaver] at that point: “Yes, Mrs. Cleaver. No, Mrs. Cleaver,”‘ said Allen. ‘I knew exactly what adults wanted — make your bed, be polite, use a napkin — and then I’d go steal everything in the house.’
The Last Man Standing alum’s destructive path came to a head just over a decade later when he was arrested in Michigan on drug trafficking charges, aged 23.
‘We were a bunch of college kids – a bunch of the kids who overdid it, [but] two of us took [the punishment] for about 20 guys.’
Allen that he ‘was very contrite’ after being arrested on account of his living a ‘terribly stressful existence.’
Confined to his cell, Allen said he began setting out goals for his life.
‘I just shut up and did what I was told,’ he said. ‘It was the first time ever I did what I was told and played the game… I learned literally how to live day by day. And I learned how to shut up. You definitely want to learn how to shut up.’
After being incarcerated for eight months, Allen said he finally adjusted to his surroundings and ‘got used to’ being in prison.
‘Saturday we got better food. Eventually, I went from a holding cell arrangement to my own cell,’ the Toy Story actor recalled.
‘[I called my mother at Thanksgiving and she said]: “Oh, that’s good. Steve graduated from Purdue. Jeff’s on his way to Michigan State. One of my oldest sons got his own cell.”‘
Tim admitted on Monday’s episode of WTF with Marc Maron podcast: ‘We were a bunch of college kids – a bunch of the kids who overdid it, [but] two of us took [the punishment] for about 20 guys’
‘I’m going on 23 years sober and clean of everything’: Allen – whose father was killed by a drunk driver in 1964 – finally got sober after his 1997 arrest for drunk driving in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Tim finally got sober after he was arrested in 1997 for drunk driving in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
‘I’m going on 23 years sober and clean of everything,’ Allen announced.
‘Alcohol never affected me like the other guys. I could drink copious amounts even [as] a young kid.’
He continued: ‘I look back on those things, this is sober guy stuff, I had so much shame at the things that I did … especially driving people around.
‘Coming from a dad that was killed that way, it’s difficult to get past it.’
Now, looking back, Allen says he’s ‘grateful’ for his sobriety and his current life.
‘I love my life,’ he said. ‘I’m not any more mentally stable, I have the same issues I had. Now, I can’t hide from them.’
The Emmy nominee also discussed being a rare Hollywood fiscal conservative and, while he loves tweeting quotes to express his ideals, he has always tried not to be ‘preachy.’
Allen famously attended the 2017 inauguration of former President Donald Trump, and later provoked anger when he likened his experience as a conservative in Hollywood to living in 1930s Germany.
Maron asked him how he minimized backlash for his conservative opinions, to which Allen responded: ‘I don’t preach anything.’
‘What I’ve done is just not joined into – as I call it – the “we culture,”‘ he continued. ‘I’m not telling anybody else how to live. I don’t like that. “We should do this.” “We should do that.”‘
‘Once I realized that the last president pi**ed people off, I kind of like that,’ the Denver-born father-of-two laughed.
‘So it was fun to just not say anything. Didn’t join in the lynching crowd.’
‘I’m not telling anybody else how to live’: The Home Improvement alum also discussed being a rare Hollywood fiscal conservative and, while he loves tweeting quotes to express his ideals, he has always tried not to be ‘preachy’
‘I kind of like how he p***ed people off’: :Tim – who openly hates paying taxes – famously attended the 2016 inauguration of former President Donald Trump (pictured Sunday)
‘If you don’t like it then wait until the next election’: Allen said former President Bill Clinton has been a ‘genuinely nice guy to me’ but he still didn’t think his wife Hillary ‘should be president’ (pictured January 20)
Allen also noted that he’s friendly with the Clintons, but was opposed to Hilary Clinton’s White House bid.
‘Bill Clinton has been a very genuinely nice guy to me. When he was president, I sent them Christmas stuff from Disney. I sent all the movies we did. I sent it to Bush too and I sent it to the Obamas,’ he said. ‘I just didn’t think Hillary should have been president.’
He continued: ‘In the end you go the other direction. I said, “It’s nothing personal about it. If you don’t like it then wait til the next election.”‘
Elsewhere in the interview, Allen also discussed his disdain for paying taxes.
When asked by Maron whether he views himself as an ‘old school conservative’ opposed to a ‘right-wing whack job’, Allen said he’s always been a ‘fiscal, conservative person with money.’
He then shared his disgust with the American tax system.
‘Once I started making money I had this silent partner that just took almost half of my money and never gave me anything for it and that was the taxes,’ he said, confirming the ‘silent partner’ was the US government.
‘I’ve never liked taxes…That’s it, I don’t like it. I work pretty hard for this stuff and I accomplished a lot and I was handicapped by my own errors. It’s all my fault, I get that. But I had this silent partner. I never liked taxes.’
‘Meatless Mike’: The Emmy nominee executive produces and stars as sporting goods store executive Mike Baxter/Tim Taylor in the ninth season of the sitcom Last Man Standing, which airs Thursdays on Fox
Reunited! Tim also executive produces and co-hosts the 10-episode builder reality competition Assembly Required with Richard Karn (R), which airs Tuesdays on the History Channel
The Western Michigan University grad executive produces and stars as sporting goods store executive Mike Baxter/Tim Taylor in the ninth season of the sitcom Last Man Standing, which airs Thursdays on Fox.
Tim also executive produces and co-hosts the 10-episode builder reality competition Assembly Required with Richard Karn, which airs Tuesdays on the History Channel.
Speaking to Maron about his own behavior on set in character, Allen said his wife and even his management team have called him out for swearing too much.
‘Sometimes I’m in that mood. I’m not doing it to piss anybody off. I don’t know what it is with me and language sometimes. I say on stage it’s lazy. There’s probably a better word,’ he said.
‘I’m kind of mean onstage, which I love. One of my favorite bits is about kids…The fact that I make jokes of kids and truly the kids in my neighborhood sense this and they’re like cats. The more they know I don’t like them, the more they hang around me.’
Allen added: ‘I would never hurt a child or do anything inappropriate but I like being the smarta** and getting right in their face and go, “Are you looking at me? Stop looking at me.”‘